Rosemary Weaver, MPH, RDN, LDN, Clinical Dietitian at Northwest Community Healthcare Wellness Center
Millennials seem to be leading the pack on what food marketers call “snackification” – a growing food trend where snacks are replacing traditional meals. According to researchers, breakfast and lunch are now the most common meals replaced by snacking.
In our fast-paced, technology-driven and sometimes unpredictable lifestyles, meal times are seldom scheduled. Many people are away from home for most of their daytime hours. Snacking provides the option for quick and convenient meals that don’t require planning, cooking and cleaning, and allow for continuation of a current activity.
Most people snack multiple times per day, and as much as half our total daily energy intake can be derived from snacks. Popular snack themes include: flavor, functional foods, color, texture, and enjoyment. Popular snack food categories include:
- Yogurt: This is the No. 1 growing food category for snacking.
- Veggies: Consumers want something healthy and tasty, and veggies are often in chip form and sold in portable bags. Hopefully, there are low-salt options.
- Beverages: From kefir to kombucha to fruit/vegetable smoothies and protein-containing meal replacements, drinkables are a key player in the snackification trend.
Flavors like sriracha, maple ginger and coconut are finding their way into mainstream snack foods such as popcorn.
While food marketers say 61 percent of consumers are looking for healthier snack options, not all snacks fill in the nutrient-gap. And although pre-packaged foods might offer some nutritional provision, be aware that whole food snacks still have an edge.
Considering reaching for:
- A hard-boiled egg
- Fresh fruit with low-fat cheese
- Raw veggies with hummus or tzatziki sauce
- Whole grain/quinoa crackers with nut butter or a little avocado
- Nonfat Greek yogurt with fresh berries
- Dried fruit and a small handful of unsalted nuts
Enjoy making this fun take-along snack.
Fall Crunch Mix
Yields four fiber-filled servings
- 4 cups low-fat popcorn (ex., Skinny Pop)
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ cup almonds (unsalted)
- ½ cup hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas) (unsalted)
- ½ cup dried apricots, quartered
In a mixing bowl, measure out popcorn. Sprinkle with cinnamon and toss. Add in other ingredients. Mix and toss. Measure by one-cup servings and fill zip-lock bags.
Nutrition info per serving: calories, 358; carbohydrates: 23g; protein, 8g; fat, 26g; sodium, 25mg