Ed Levine's Serious Diet, Week 77: Good Snacks Come In Small Packages

20080306-scale.jpgAs many of you know, I have gone cold turkey on 100 calorie snack packs. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean my cravings for the occasional sweet or chocolate have gone away. Let's face it, serious diet or no serious diet, sometimes you need the spiritual, emotional, and physical boost only a piece of something chocolate-covered or nutty can provide. I find that is true any time of the year, even now, when I have been eating locally grown strawberries, cherries, peaches, and blueberries with great pleasure. Stone fruit and berries are amazing gifts from nature, but once or twice a week I need something a little more decadent.

Given my weight, my body type, and my ability to metabolize such treats, I have set a limit of 200 calories for them. So twice a week, once on a weekday, once on the weekend, I treat myself to one of the following.

The list, after the jump.

Paul Newman Organic Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups: I have extolled their virtues previously on the site. They come three to a pack, and they're 60 calories apiece, so you can even have one mid-morning, one mid-afternoon, and one in the early evening. You get three times the pleasure without having to portion the treat out yourself.

Kind Bars: I've been meaning to share my passion for Kind Bars for awhile, and while this is not the appropriate post to do so, they are a great treat for people watching their weight. Kind Bars are less than 200 calories; they're big, so it takes awhile to eat one; and they're made with fruit and nuts and other reasonably healthy things. I like the macadamia and mango and the cranberry almond varieties they sell at Starbucks. In fact, Kind Bars may be the best food they sell at Starbucks.

I just discovered two small 200-calorie mini-treats at Pret A Manger. The handmade Love Bite, created by famed British chef Sally Clarke (think the English Alice Waters), is made with dark chocolate, coconut, walnuts, almonds, chopped dates, granola, raisins, butter, and graham cracker crumbs. A fudgy, blessedly unsweet chocolate brownie contains only bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, sugar, eggs, butter, flour, and salt.

The Weigh-In

It's been a rough week, with a couple of review meals and lots of good food arriving at Serious Eats World Headquarters. I've been reasonably careful, but sometimes reasonably careful doesn't cut it. Here we go: 215. Damn. Too many tastes of too many seriously delicious things. When I eat too much, small treats don't make much of a difference. Next week will be better.