A study by the Journal of Consumer Research reported on in the New York Times actually suggests what my wife has been saying to me for months now: Smaller packages of snack foods actually cause serious eaters to eat more rather than less.
The study suggests smaller packages can lead consumers to eat more, by blunting their wariness about how much they consume. In one experiment, students were primed to think about their body shape, then were given potato chips and left to watch television. They ate nearly twice as many chips when given nine small bags as when given two large ones. They also hesitated less before opening the small bags.
Recently my wife told me not to buy any 100-calorie snack packs, that having them around the house actually caused me to eat more snacks than not. I of course ignored her advice and bought a ten pack of 100-calorie bags Snyder's of Hanover pretzel snaps.
So this week I quit eating 100-calorie snack packs cold turkey. I left the pretzel snaps on Cape Cod. I didn't even bring the bag or two I normally do for the five-hour trip home.
What do I eat instead between meals?
Bananas, small boxes of golden raisins, watermelon, and strawberries have become my de facto hundred calorie snacks. That's a pretty tasty and satisfying line-up of natural snacks, though I have to admit that sometimes I miss the crunch of the aforementioned pretzel snaps or those baked potato chips I was having for breakfast.
In the end I don't think the success of my diet is going to depend on how many 100 calorie snack packs I consume. How well I cope with my own particular eating circumstances is going to be the determining factor. This week I ate fried fish twice, took my son and three of his friends out for his 21st birthday, decided to go on a search for the best chocolate chip cookie in New York, ate at a Spanish restaurant three times in preparation for a review (you're going to end up reading about all of these things eventually), went to a restaurant opening, and generally put myself in a very vulnerable position diet-wise.
Oh well. I can't put off getting on the scale any longer. I gained another pound. Where are those pretzel snaps when you need them?