OK, in celebration of National Snack Month and also Heart Health Month, let’s talk about both … what trends have we seen in snacking over the last 40 years, and what should we be snacking on to support our healthy hearts!
Do you think snacking has gone down, gone up or remained the same in America over the last 40 years? Yes, we ALL know the answer to this one! A recent study looked at this very issue, tabulating information from 62,000 people between the ages of 20 and 74. The researchers looked at information about:
● the 3 main meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner
● snack times – before breakfast, between breakfast and lunch, between lunch and dinner, after dinner or “other” (because all the person did was snack).
During the 40 year time span covered by the study, here are the results:
● the eating of all 3 meals daily declined
● the eating of 2 of the 3 meals increased
● the eating of the same meal twice increased (like breakfast twice)
● the number of calories eaten as a percentage of the total calories in 24 hours went up for both snacks between lunch and dinner and also from snacks replacing a meal
● the times of day for eating breakfast and lunch were later
● the time interval between dinner and after dinner snacking was shorter
● the change in snacking behavior was greater in women than in men.
The bottom line is that we snack a lot and often miss one or more meals a day, especially us women! We can (and should) make a serious attempt at improving this … and … we need healthy snacks! The grab it and run reality of our lives does not mean we need to miss nutritious foods that will be satisfying and healthy. If there ever was a need for healthy snacks, we are living it now.
So, how about heart healthy snacks? Well …. ah yeah …. there are tons of choices that are tasty and smart and good for the heart! Here are some basic “HEART SMART” choices:
● Whole Grains and Wild Oats oatmeal cookies fit right in here.
● Avocado served up with Wild Oats Organic Salsa and Organic Tortilla Chips
● Walnuts or almonds or pecans.
● Always fruits and veggies
Look, we know snacking is going to be part of the eating plan. Don’t skip breakfast, or a breakfast snack equivalent. Eat smart whenever you can and remember that those snacks can be a big part of your healthy heart, healthy life and healthy family goals. I didn’t know that we devoted a whole month to celebrate snacking but, based on the data, we need to celebrate it! Let’s put a smart twist on it … Healthy Snacking Month! Yep, that sounds better …