Snack Life: Junk Food Craving Candy Nation
A new survey by OnePoll suggests that the average American is giving their sweet tooth a pass after a day of really good behavior, mistakenly believing that being healthy during the day gives them permission to indulge in unhealthy food at night as a reward.
Respondents reported abusing unhealthy foods 3 times a week. When cravings increase, others follow suit, with 41% reporting mid-afternoon cravings and 19% typically seeking out this treat after dinner. 83% admit to eating at least two snacks a day in addition to other meals.
Americans love to snack because it quells their cravings, as reported by 50% of respondents, while 40% say they love the taste, 38% say it’s convenient, 37% say the variety is appealing and 34% say they snack. because they are always on the move. Additionally, 35% say they can’t resist their sweet tooth, 30% give in to salty cravings, 56% prefer fresh fruit, 48% opt for cheese, and 45% opt for nuts when they have a small hollow.
According to this survey, Americans like to snack constantly and live the snack life. 83% agree they like snacks and need to eat at least two a day. 69% would rather snack throughout the day than eat a large meal, but 65% say they feel guilty for indulging throughout the day.
While 79% agree that choosing nutritious snacks is better than not snacking at all, 56% say they struggle to consciously choose healthier snacks. However, three in four say they actively try to make healthier choices by reading nutrition labels and paying attention to product health claims when shopping for snacks.
“While the data shows that Americans struggle to find healthy snacks that taste this good, taste and nutrition don’t have to be mutually exclusive,” says Matt Slem, culinary scientist and rice expert at Lundberg. Family Farms, in a statement. “Choosing the right snack means you can see the benefits of healthy eating, like maintaining your energy and blood sugar levels throughout the day, without having to sacrifice taste.”
62% believe they always sacrifice taste for nutritional value when it comes to healthy snacking. To add flavor, 39% say they incorporate cheese or maple, and 35% say they try to enhance natural flavors by roasting citrus fruits or adding salt.
34% report that they always have snacks on hand because they buy in bulk to avoid running out quickly. 36% admit to hiding their treats, including healthy ones, by placing them on top of cupboards, and 34% go even further by having a secret stash in their cupboard. When it comes to sharing their horde of treats, 53% are happiest to share with their partner, 48% with their children and 38% will share their stash with friends.
“Snacks don’t have to be something you’re ashamed of,” adds Slem. “It’s not just about feeding yourself or your family today – you can also start building healthy habits for tomorrow. You can have your cake and eat it too by choosing snacks that feed your taste buds and your body.
Let’s be honest, snacking doesn’t have to be bad, and we all snack. We all feel that craving, but as long as you’re smart about it, it’s not as bad as you think, especially if you do it in moderation and make healthy choices.
Cracking snacks often strike on the spot. These may include apples, pears, carrots, celery sticks, bell pepper slices, zucchini, cucumbers, roasted chickpeas, broccoli, cauliflower, nuts, seeds, rice cakes, whole grain crackers and popcorn to name a few delicious names.
When it comes to beverages, ditch that high sugar spike and try some sparkling water, or something glam like plain water with fruit and herbs. There’s also unsweetened tea or coffee, 100% fruit juice, and low-sodium tomato or mixed vegetable juice options.
If you’re looking for satisfying snacks to fill you up, consider low-fat or fat-free cheese, maybe a fruit and vegetable smoothie, or whole-grain crackers with a can of tuna/salmon. Plain low-fat or fat-free yogurt is another great option that can be made even better by adding fresh fruit. An easy filling option with crunch could also be whole grain toast with peanut or almond butter.
If that sweet tooth is really lingering, you can try baked apples, frozen bananas, grapes, raisins, dates, figs, or other unsweetened dried fruits. The fresh fruit salad is usually always satisfying. You can even indulge in a thin slice of angel food cake or homemade banana-nut bread.
Healthy options don’t have to be boring, there’s an abundance of healthy foods to choose from, and all you have to do is use your imagination to inspire your next meal. However, realistically, you’ll probably still want to cheat with something less nutritious once in a while, when checking nutrition labels and choosing wisely by watching for added sugars, salts, and words you can barely pronounce. An even better idea is to try making a healthier version of this packaged treat at home so you can actually choose which ingredients will go into your body.