Snacking Myths “Uncracked”
During the past 30 years, daily snacking occasions have steadily increased by nearly 25 percent. Snacks have become an integral part of the daily diet, and it’s important to make those 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. snack breaks count.1 Snacks are a great way to replenish your nutrition, but not all snacks are created equal. Here we “uncrack” common snacking misconceptions to help you make better snacking choices when hunger cravings strike between meals.
Myth 1: “Nuts are a fattening snack.” Contrary to popular belief, nuts are highly nutritious and can be a terrific, heart-healthy snack. Many people avoid nuts in an effort to lose or maintain weight as they worry the high fat and calorie content of nuts will have the scale heading in the wrong direction. But nut lovers can rejoice that one nut may not only contain good for you monounsaturated fats, but may actually help to promote weight management! Pistachios are one of the lowest calorie and lowest fat nuts.2
Myth 2: “Snacks are junk food.” Not all snacks are junk food. Move away from the empty calories in pretzels or chips and upgrade to nutrient-rich snacks such as pistachios that help fill you up and add important vitamins and minerals. In fact, a recent Harvard University study suggests a daily handful of pistachios may have a role in health and longevity. 3
Myth 3: “Snacks will ruin your appetite.” When you enjoy a healthy snack such as pistachios, it may actually help bridge the hunger gap. Pistachios have a good amount of protein, fat and dietary fiber, all three of which make for a balanced snack that may help keep you fuller than a carb-heavy snack like pretzels or chips.2
Myth 4: “Avoid snacks to better manage weight.” When snacking, it’s important to keep portion control in mind to help manage weight. One way to control how much you eat is to put your snack in a separate bowl instead of eating directly out of the bag or container, as this often leads to overeating.
Myth 5: “Snacking is only for indulgence.” Think of snacks as part of your daily diet, not just as an indulgence. You can fit snack calories into your personal healthy eating plan without over-spending your day’s caloric budget. For example, look for flavorful and filling snacks like pistachios, where you can get 30 pistachios for about 100 calories. 2
- Piernas, C., Popkin, B. “Snacking Increased among U.S. Adults between 1977 and 2000” J Nutr. 2010, 140:325-332.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26.
- Bao et al. Association of nut consumption with total and cause-specific mortality. N Engl J of Med. 2013;369:2001-2011.