Calories/Grams= Energy Density (ED).
So salsa is weighing in at an ED of about 0.31. In theory I could eat salsa until satisfied and not feel an ounce of guilt. Not so much, you see there is a culprit in the salsa situation… the tortilla chip. Most tortilla chips have 150 calories per serving (28 g). That means tortilla chips have an energy density of 5.35.
WHAT?! Volumetric principles say that anything over an energy density of 2 should be eaten sparingly. So while salsa has an energy density of less than 1 the chips that deliver it to my mouth have a 5+ ED. This leaves salsa with chips (1 serving =11 chips) as snack to be enjoyed in moderation. *sad face*.
After my inquiry about non-energy dense salsa delivery methods a friend emailed me a fantastic idea. Cucumbers!
Simply leave the skin on (I prefer them that way, plus it makes them more sturdy for scooping) and cut into medium thickness slices. The cucumber has a wonderful fresh taste and a satisfying crunch. Oh and since cucumbers are almost entirely water you aren’t adding any real calories and can eat as much as you so desire. *cue heavenly music*
Now there are times when nothing will replace a tortilla chip. Matt and I searched the grocery for a healthier alternative to your normal chip. We were pleasantly surprised by the Guiltless Gourmet Blue Corn Chips. In general, blue corn tortilla chips are better for you than regular chips because they have more protein and a lower glycemic index. The Guiltless Gourmet chips are baked and have less fat than normal chips. I was fully prepared for them to taste like cardboard but they were surprisingly good. As far as energy density goes they have 120 calories per 28 grams so an ED of 4.28. Not fabulous, so I would try to stick to 1 serving (18 chips) as a snack.
What is your favorite guilt-free snack?
PS My sister-in-law suggest zucchini as a chip alternative. We’ll have to try that soon.