Study shows more snacking linked to healthier diets
You may be surprised to learn that consumers with the healthiest diets snack twice as often as those with less healthy diets, according to the NPD Group, a marketing research company known for keeping its fingers on the pulse of what Americans are eating.
Kathy Ross, a research analyst for NPD, said the results of the company's “Snacking in America” survey, which collected data for two years, were a bit of a surprise.
“The health aspect as an offshoot is something we did not anticipate,” she said. “People were not replacing meals with snacks, and they were making healthy choices such as more fruit, yogurt, granola bars, nuts and seeds.”
Bottled water saw the biggest increase as the beverage paired with snacks. The survey identified “healthy snackers” as those who were in weight-loss programs, had healthy weights and whose food intake met the description of a healthy diet. More women and consumers older than age 50 fell into this group. By the way, the NPD survey found that women snack 70 times more than men during the year.
“Snacking is more often a hallmark that goes hand in hand with healthy habits,” Ross said.
Those who reported eating only one snack per day fell into the least-healthy group, and most often chose a late-night snack of chips, ice cream or cookies. But Ross said there's less of this impulsive “raid the fridge at midnight” behavior going on.
“Late-night snacking is the only snack occasion going down,” she said, “and we're seeing more healthy planned snacks.”
A snack occasion is defined as the food eaten between the major three meals, and it's interesting to note that some folks are even eating a “before-breakfast snack,” which might be the coffee you grab on your way to dine out for breakfast.
Fresh fruit is the most popular snack eaten between breakfast and lunch, according to the NPD survey, and 85 percent of households reported having fresh fruit on hand at home.
Ideally, a snack should total about 150 calories if you're consuming a daily diet of 2,000 to 2,200 calories. It should be like a mini-meal with a balance of protein, whole grains and fruit or vegetable. That means it could be a carton of yogurt with granola on top and some berries or a savory snack of whole-grain crackers, reduced-fat cheese and a small apple. If you're grabbing a granola bar, enjoy it with a glass of fat-free milk for more nutrients and added protein to keep you feeling fuller longer.
Carolyn O'Neil is a registered dietician who writes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers offensive line targeting injury-free performance as key
- Westmoreland used car dealers indicted in fraud
- Police confiscate heroin, phones, cash in North Versailles bust
- Struggling Pirates SS Mercer finding himself out on infield’s left side
- Starkey: Patriots’ legacy forever stained
- Analyst says Pa. senate race leans toward Toomey — because Democrats ‘loathe’ Sestak
- Developer hopes to make Allegheny Center a tech hub
- Plum witnesses seen entering grand jury building in Dormont
- Natrona Heights native helped bring ‘American Ninja Warrior’ to Pittsburgh
- Suspect in killings of wealthy D.C. family arrested
- Former Ringgold guidance counselor facing sex charges