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 Bonnie Stein

          Bonnie Stein, M.Ed.

Pretzels as a Snack?

By Bonnie Stein, M.Ed.

Recently while I was at linedancing class, I noticed a number of racewalkers and others munching on pretzels which the Waterin' Trough (the local linedancing bar) puts on the tables for free (no doubt to get people to drink more).  Since linedancing class starts at 7 PM, people are eating these pretzels within an hour or hour and a half after finishing dinner.

While there's nothing terrible about pretzels for a snack (I eat pretzels sometimes), these same people have told me that they're racewalking (or linedancing or bike riding) in order to shed a few pounds.  So let's have a look at these pretzels:

Most pretzels have little to no fat (so they're a better choice than potato chips for example).  However, pretzels have 100 calories for every one ounce serving.  One ounce is 17 small twists or 9 regular twists.  Take a look at your bag of pretzels.  If there are 5 ounces in your bag, that means 5 servings or about 500 calories.  Often, we look at the one serving portion on the label, but we forget that we're eating three or more portions.  If you eat from a bowl at a bar or from the bag at your house, you're probably eating way more than one ounce.

Other snacks like potato chips, cheese doodles or pork rinds are even worse in keeping those pounds on you.  Potato chips have 150 calories with 90 calories (more than half) coming from fat.  One ounce is just a few chips.  Likewise, pork rinds (permitted on the Atkins Diet, if that tells you something) have 80 calories with 45 from fat (also more than half) and that's for only 9 pieces!  How many chips or pork rinds are you eating?  Do you stick with just one serving?  If you ate just 16 pork rinds a day (150 calories) you would gain one pound of fat every 23 days.  To burn off just three ounces of pretzels, you'd have to racewalk three miles.

Ask yourself why are you munching so soon after dinner?  Most often it's because you didn't eat enough healthy food earlier in the day (breakfast and lunch) because you really shouldn't be hungry so soon after dinner.  Ask yourself if you are simply eating mindlessly because the pretzels are sitting on your table.  If that's it, then move them to another table where you won't be tempted.  And if you really want the pretzels, then take 17 (one portion size for the small twists) and put them on a napkin.  That's enough for a snack.  An even better choice is to buy whole wheat pretzels at the health food store.

Make sure you're eating enough fruits and vegetables during the day and having a vegetable and salad with your dinner to keep you full enough that you won't need to eat so soon after dinner.  And if you're looking to lose a few pounds, you should make dinner the last time of the day that you consume food.  If you don't need to lose any weight, then continue having a snack in the evening if that's working for you.

Dr. Phil says, (and I agree with him) that if we're eating too much junk food or overeating any food, it's because we are trying to fill an emptiness inside of us (a job we don't like, a relationship that we're not happy with, problems that are unsolved, loneliness).  The easiest way to fill that emptiness (without addressing the real problem) is by immediate gratification with cigarettes, alcohol, or excessive food.  But, there are severe consequences to this approach.  Find out what's really missing in your life (it's certainly not pretzels or nicotine) and set about fixing it by filling your life with what you really want.  One step at a time, just like racewalking.

2007 by Bonnie Stein. All Rights Reserved.

LIMITS OF LIABILITY AND DISCLAIMER - The authors and publishers of this newsletter have used their best efforts in preparing the articles and information contained within it. Additionally, you are advised to consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. The authors and publishers make no warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, and shall not be liable in the event of incidental or consequential damages.

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