TheBUZZ Can Snacking Help You Lose Weight?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
The frequency of snacking continues to rise and snack foods are having an increasingly high impact on individuals’ caloric intake – either positively or negatively, depending on their snacking behavior.
WHAT WE KNOW
Many nutrition experts now regularly recommend that rather than rely on 2-3 large meals, people eat smaller portions of food, including healthy snacks, throughout the day to aid weight loss. Snacking has become so common that it is now often referred to as the “fourth meal” since the practice continues to contribute a major portion of daily nutrients.
WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS
Snacking accounts for 24% of the average individual’s daily calories, with 97% of adults snacking at least once per day.1,2 Surveys of snackers show that those who snack more tend to eat more fruits and vegetables. The issue is that high frequency snackers also tend to eat more overall, including more calories from solid fats and added sugars. Additionally, despite frequent snackers eating more fruits and vegetables overall, the majority of both men and women are still not eating enough produce items to meet recommended requirements.3 While snacking on healthful fruits and vegetables can help promote weight loss, it is important to consider the bigger picture. Inattentive snacking, frequency of snacking and nutritional quality of snacks chosen can all affect what snacking can mean to your waistline.4 More research is needed to lend further support to best practice recommendations regarding snacking behavior, but there are some strategies that have been shown to have beneficial impacts.
If you are someone who likes to snack, make it an opportunity to include more nutritious foods in your diet. Focusing on including fruits and vegetables will ensure you are getting high quality snacks that can aid in maintaining a healthy weight and diet.
- Simplify healthy snacking by prepping or buying pre-sliced fruits and vegetables that are easy to grab on the go.
- Plan ahead when shopping for meals and snacks so healthy snacks are readily available, reducing the temptation for less healthy options.
- Pair fruits and vegetables with fats or protein, for example apple slices with a nut butter dip, for a filling and nutritious snack both adults and children will enjoy.
- Remember that every time you eat, it is an opportunity to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables!
- Make healthy snacking fun by including kids in shopping and food preparation.
- Keep things fresh by trying out new, healthy snack recipes such as those found on the Fruits & Veggies—More Matters site.
Video Center: Selection. Storage. Preparation.
How Many Cups Do You Need?
Key Nutrients in Fruits & Vegetables
Fruit & Veggie Database