NDP Group: Fruit most popular snack in U.S.

Need a snack? Fresh fruit is the go-to snack in America, followed by chocolate and potato chips, according to a report by the NDP Group. Registered dietitian Kelly Marsteller said adults should have one to two snacks — with fewer than 200 calories each — per day. To keep snacking healthy, pair veggies with low-fat dressing or hummus, or try tuna salad on whole-grain crackers. Submitted photo.

What’s America snacking on? Fresh fruit is the No. 1 snack in the U.S., according to a report by the NPD Group, “Snacking in America,” and a story published by the Los Angeles Times.

Although the message of healthy snacking has started to set it, chocolate and potato chips came in second and third. However, in one year, respondents ate fresh fruit 10 times more than chocolate and 25 times more than potato chips.

That’s something to celebrate — especially because Americans snack more today than ever. Noshing in between meals accounts for 20 percent of eating, the report states.

Kelly Marsteller, registered dietitian at Memorial Hospital, said people snack more today because families have become busier.

But a hectic schedule isn’t a free pass to go nuts. Calories from mindless snacking adds up.

Marsteller said snacks are intended to prevent people from becoming hungry in between meals, and to in turn, avoid over eating at the next meal. Adults should have one to two snacks per day, and children two to three. Snacks should contain fewer than 200 calories.

Marsteller said snacks also provide people with vital nutrients. Food is made up of macronutrients — carbohydrates, fats and proteins. When snacking, she said, try to pair macronutrients.

Fruit is high in fiber — more filling — and low in fat. A serving of fruit ranges from 50 to 130 calories. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a large apple contains 130 calories; a medium banana 110 calories, a medium orange 80 calories; and a quarter of a cantaloupe 50 calories.

Looking for some healthy snacks outside of the fruit group? Marsteller recommended these treats — food that tastes good and can provide a much-needed energy boost.

— Pretzels

— Low-fat popcorn

— Peanut butter and celery

— Baby carrots and low-fat ranch

— Hummus on a whole wheat tortilla

— Low-fat yogurt with fruit

— String cheese

— Peppers and bean dip

— Hard-boiled egg

— Tuna salad and whole grain crackers

— High-fiber cereal and low-fat milk

— Sugar-free pudding and graham crackers

— Trail mix

— Nuts

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What’s your go to healthy snack?

Leigh Zaleski

I'm a health features reporter for the York Daily Record/Sunday News and healthy living blogger for No Sweat, York. Contact me with story ideas at lzaleski@ydr.com, 717-771-2101 or @leighzaleski on Twitter.

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2 Responses

  1. January 19, 2013

    […] news for folks focusing on health: A new study notes that fruit is the most popular snack in the United States. Reach for a banana instead of a cookie […]

  2. February 1, 2013

    […] Flash forward to 2013. Americans are bombarded with unhealthy snack foods every day — to the point where snacking now accounts for 20 percent of a person’s daily intake of food, according to a recent report by the NDP Group. […]

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