Snacking can easily derail healthy eating habits, but the good news is, it doesn’t have to.
Smart and healthy snacking will leave you satisfied, on track with nutritious foods, keep your energy level up and not feeling hungry in between meals.
According to Nielsen ratings, between 2013 and 2014 global consumers spent $364 billion dollars on snack on snack foods. North America contributed $124 billion to that total. Sweet snacks lead the way with the biggest sales followed by savory snacks in Europe and Middle East; whereas savory snacks like crackers, rice cakes and pita chips contribute more than one-fifth of the snack consumption in North America with a total of $27.7 billion in sales.
Taste preferences for snack options vary around the world. A large percentages of respondents in Asia-Pacific snack on vegetables (57%), cheese in Europe (58%), ice cream/gelato in Latin America (63%) and potato chips/tortilla chips in North America (63%). What’s your preference?
Also reported by Nielsen, a survey of 1,139 people by found that 91% of adults snack at least once a day, including 25% who say they snack 3-5 times a day and 3% who claim to be always nibbling. Would you be a part of the 91% of adults or the 25%?
No matter how you look at it and no matter where you are in the world, that’s a lot of snacking.
Did you know the empty calories from snacks account for about 32 percent of the daily calories consumed by women and about 31 percent of the daily calories consumed by men (ARS Food Surveys Research Group)?
Snacking doesn’t have to derail your healthy eating habits. And, healthy and smart snacking doesn’t mean tasteless, unsatisfying or boring.
10 Tips for Smart Snacking
- Decide if you want/need a snack because you’re hungry. Maybe the snack attack is because you’re bored or stressed. If that’s the case find an alternative to grabbing a snack.
- Snack on foods with natural limits like a small yogurt or a piece of fruit. By pouring a single serving in a bowl instead of snacking out of a bag or box will limit the number of added calories consumed in a day.
- Include carbs and protein for longer lasting energy compared to a carb only snack.
- Plan to have a snack if you’re going more than 4 hours without a meal.
- To avoid adding excess [often empty] calories limit snack size to 200 calories or less.
- Snack on whole foods that are nutrient dense.
- Keep your favorite healthy snacks on hand and limit easy access of the less than healthy favorites.
- Don’t multitask with snacking. 10 minutes of relaxing down time to enjoy a snack will be more satisfying than noshing mindlessly.
- Plan for the unexpected to happen. Always have a healthy snack stash for the times when you’re going longer than expected before eating your next meal. Keep a serving in your purse or backpack and in your desk at work.
- Pack a snack stash when you pack your suitcase. Don’t count on availability of healthy snacks when you’re traveling.
10 Healthy Snack Ideas
- Fruit and Nut Muesli with yogurt
- apple and almond butter
- avocado toast
- hummus and raw vegetables (carrots, broccoli and red pepper strips) or Sweet Potato Hummus
- plain yogurt and fruit
- add basil pesto to plain yogurt for a veggie dip
- Double Chocolate Oatmeal Snack or the Easy Afternoon Strawberry Oatmeal are perfect [and satisfying] for a delicious afternoon snack
- unsalted nuts and fruit
- steamed edamame
- banana “ice cream” like this Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream
More delicious [and healthy] snack recipes here.
I would love to chat:
Are you surprised by any of the snacking stats? Are you a snacker/grazer? What are your favorite healthy snacks?
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