Snack Yourself Slim
Contrary to conventional wisdom, the more consumers snack, the healthier their eating behaviors, according to The NPD Group, a leading market research company. NPD’s recently released snacking market research report finds that many Americans view snacking as a way to improve healthy eating habits. Consumers following the healthiest diets snack twice as often as those with less healthy diets.Consumers with the healthiest diets consume 36% more snack meals a year than the average consumer, according to Snacking in America, which examines long-term attitudes and behaviors about snacking as well as snack selection drivers. This compares to those with moderately healthy diets, who eat 1% fewer snack meals than the average consumer, and consumers with the least healthy diets, who consume 29% fewer snack meals than the average consumer. The report also finds those following a “most healthy” diet eat a wider variety of healthy snacks such as fruit, yogurt, and bars.
Index of Snacking by NPD’s Healthy Eating Index
Index of annual snack meals per capita
Source: The NPD Group/Nutrient Intake; 2 years ending Feb ’11
“We are no longer as averse to snacking as we used to be – instead, snacking may be viewed as one way to improve healthy eating habits,” says Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst.
Personally, I find that snacking on foods with protein keeps my hunger under control, and I love fat-free Greek yogurt as a protein pick-me-up. There are many ways to jazz up a cup by adding some fruit, jam, flax meal, or chopped nuts. Staying in the dairy section, fat-free cottage cheese is also great for its protein content and versatility. Pretty much any cheese will give you a good amount of protein, and there are many portion-controlled and light options out there.
Hard-boiled egg whites are another way to get some protein. Each large egg white has only about 17 calories and a whopping 3.5g protein. They're great with a little bit of mustard or just a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
The easiest snack route, of course, is to grab a bar with some protein or a pack of jerky. Look for bars with less than 200 calories, like Luna Protein and Nature Valley Protein. They're travel-friendly and great when hunger hits unexpectedly. As for jerky, it's definitely underrated and a favorite of mine -- low in calories and fat, and high in protein. And there are many different kinds, from turkey jerky to meatless ones.
Guest Blogger and Fitness Enthusiast
Cybex is a provider and manufacturer of premium commercial fitness equipment. Content featured in the Cybex Fitness Blog is meant to inspire healthy living and wellness and should not be taken as medical advice. As always, be sure to consult a physician if you are unsure of your individual exercise readiness or have a preexisting medical condition. While these programs offer great benefits, there are many considerations that should be weighed before attempting any type of physical activity.