Americans say that eating healthy during the day gives them permission to overindulge in unhealthy food at night, according to new research.
A recent study of 2,004 U.S. residents suggests they do so on average three times per week.
Six in 10 (62%) feel they always sacrifice taste over nutritional value when it comes to healthy snacks.
Others go with the flow and wait until their cravings start kicking in. Forty-one percent said their cravings kick in around mid-afternoon, while 19% will typically look for a treat after dinner.
Aside from eating other meals, snacks are a must for 83% of people who admitted they have at least two a day.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Lundberg Family Farms, the survey also revealed that 69% prefer snacking throughout the day instead of eating full, hearty meals.
And 65% said they feel guilty for munching on treats throughout the day.
Most respondents agree that nutritious snacking is better than not snacking at all (79%). However, more than half said they struggle with consciously choosing healthy treats (56%).
And three in four say they’re trying to make healthier choices by paying attention to nutritional facts and product health claims when shopping for snacks.
“While the data show that Americans struggle with finding healthy snacks that also taste good, taste and nutrition don’t have to be mutually exclusive,” said Matt Slem, culinary scientist and rice expert at Lundberg Family Farms. “Choosing the right snack means you can see the benefits of healthy eating, such as maintaining your energy and blood sugar levels throughout the day, without having to sacrifice taste.”
The data further looked into the most appealing parts of snacking. People shared they love snacking because it soothes their cravings (50%), they love the taste (40%) and their convenience (38%).
Thirty-five percent can’t resist satisfying their sweet tooth, and another 30% agree that a salty snack hits the spot.
Fresh fruit (56%), cheese (48%) and nuts (45%) are also snacks people opt for when they’re feeling hungry.
To add more flavor to their treats, people incorporate cheese or maple (39%), and others enhance natural flavors by roasting citrus or adding salt to fruit (35%).
Snack lovers noted that they never run out of snacks because they always have snacks on-hand after buying in bulk (34%).
And they’re good at hiding them, too. More than a third of respondents even admitted they hide the good snacks they don’t want to share with others by placing them on top of cabinets (36%), while 34% will keep a secret stash in their closet.
When they are in the mood to share, people are happiest to share their snacks with their significant other (53%), their children (48%) or friends (38%).
“Snacking doesn’t have to be something you’re ashamed of,” Slem added. “It’s not just feeding yourself or your family today — you can also start cultivating healthy habits for tomorrow. You can have your cake and eat it too by choosing snacks that nourish your taste buds and your body.”
MOST APPEALING PARTS OF SNACKING
- Soothes cravings – 50%
- Taste – 40%
- Convenience – 38%
- Variety – 37%
- Too busy for meals – 34%