Statistics show that we (Britain) are Europe’s biggest snackers! But why do we snack and is it something we should feel guilty about?
To tie in nicely with our relaunch and to find out a little bit more about the nation's perception around snacking, we decided to conduct a YouGov Survey. We spoke to 1,113 women across the UK about their snacking habits and how it makes them feel.
The survey showed that almost two thirds (59%) of women snack at least twice or more a day. With more than half (56%) regularly choosing fruit, but a large percentage snacking on cake (23%) and biscuits (45%).
Snacking = guilty thoughts
A staggering 84% of women feel guilty about snacking. Abolishing this guilt around snacking is something that we feel very passionately about at The Food Doctor. Most of us have been brought up to associate snacking with guilt and this is because we often reach for an unhealthy snack. However, snacking can definitely be part of healthy diet, it’s about knowing which type of snacks will do your body good. The survey results also showed that 43% of women are confused by the conflicting messages in the media, so we're here to help alleviate some of the confusion around healthy snacking.
When asked if you do anything to counteract snacking, one in five (19%) of women actually confessed to skipping a meal. Whilst many of us may feel guilty about snacking, skipping a meal is something that we would not advise. You could reduce your portion size or have a lighter meal, but skipping a meal altogether will likely cause you to crave high-calorie junk food later in the day.
We found that nearly all women (85%) snack in the comfort of their own home. Our nutritionist Gemma recommends you ensure your kitchen is stocked up with easily accessible healthy snacks. This could include things like fruit, veg, houmous and nuts, as well as our range of snack mixes. We also found that nearly 30% of women snack at work and therefore keeping snacks in your desk drawer will hopefully help you resist the office donut temptation!
When asked what the main reason for snacking is, 28% of women said to satisfy hunger but 48% admitted they snack to help satisfy cravings or as a result of boredom or habit. Interestingly, almost half (48%) confessed to snacking without even thinking about it.
Snacking can actually provide your body with a number of positive nutrients that will help nourish and energise you. It can help stabilise your blood glucose levels, which will help you avoid that mid-afternoon slump and reduce the craving for high-calorie food. It can help your mind and body stay alert and ensure you at performing at your best.
The food we eat should not be associated with guilt. We want to develop a healthy relationship with food, whereby having a balanced diet allows you to enjoy a treat every once in a while.
Our nutritionist Gemma recommends we begin to familiarise ourselves with the back of pack nutrition labels and ingredients lists. We can help educate ourselves by knowing exactly what is in the foods we eat. She recommends keeping an eye on the sugar content as this can easily add up, any food with more than 22.5g of sugar per 100g is classified as high in sugar. The goverment recommends that we should consume no more than 30g or 7 teaspoons of free sugars per day. This refers to sugar added to food and drink, as well as sugar found naturally in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.
Gemma also recommends looking out for products with more than 6g of fibre per 100g, as fibre will keep you fuller for longer and is great for digestion. In the UK we are recommended to consume around 30g of fibre per day but on average we are only consuming 18g a day. Don't be afraid of fat, it is a source of essential fatty acids which the body cannot make itself and helps the body to absorb the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. It also helps lower bad cholesterol and reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Last by not least, Gemma says that we should be mindful about the food we eat. Next time you think about having a snack, take a moment to really think about why you are feeling this way and whether you are actually hungry or just craving something to munch on.
For more information on helpful snack hacks or tips on how you can harness positive nutrition in your life, visit our blog or follow us at @fooddoctoruk
Speak again soon,
The Food Doctor team