Snack Calories: How Many Do You Eat?

chipsHave you ever added up the number of calories that you consume from daily snacks?  Those little nibbles between meals can contribute to a a significant percentage of your daily caloric intake and may lead to weight gain.  If you’re trying to lose weight, an analysis of your snack habits is essential.

Empty Snack Food Calories Add Up

Snacking itself isn’t bad. But our snacks are often full of  “empty calories.”  The USDA defines empty calories as those from added sugars and solid fat.  These are calories that have little nutritional value and often lead to weight gain and other health issues.  A recent analysis of snack habits revealed that:

  • On average, one third of our daily caloric intake comes from empty calories.
  • Men consume 923 calories per day from empty calories (average)
  • Women consume 624 calories per day from empty calories (average)

The report, called What We Eat in America, went on to say that women and men consume two to four times their limit of solid fats and added sugars on average.

Healthier Snack Options

Snacking is an important part of a healthy diet.  If you consume small healthy snacks between meals, you  are much more likely to eat moderately at mealtime because you won’t sit down to the table in a ravenous state. But what you eat at snack time makes a big difference.  If you are a woman who is trying to lose weight, you could cut 200-400 calories from your diet simply from choosing better snacks.  Over the course of a week, that could result in a 1/2 -1 pound weight loss.

Stay tuned for more information about how to make better snack choices. Next week I’ll reveal the nation’s favorite snack foods and offer healthy swaps for each food.  In the meantime, use these resources to make healthier snack food choices:

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