Your current snack choices will depend on your demographic characteristics and recommendations, if any change is required that is. People often choose different types of foods and beverages to consume as snacks. Though most people eat whatever they fancy, there are lots of health-conscious people who follow the nutrition science community and recommendations from experts when they make their food choice. These people are more conscious of:
- Fulfilling their nutrient insufficiencies in a better way
- Avoiding nutritional excesses so that it does not affect their heart, digestive system and increase their body weight
- Leading a comparatively disease free, happy and active life.
In several countries, governments issue dietary guidelines for the general public but in most of the times these are seldom understood by the person for whom these are intended.
Food preferences for snacks
When the snacking behavior of people and their pattern is considered, it is found that it is almost the same all over the world and across all nations. In most of the cases it is found that it all depends on different factors such as:
- The personal preferences
- Ignorance of good and bad snacks
- The food and social culture
- The socioeconomic factors
- Availability of food and its types
- Location and eating occasions and others.
In the United States, people opt for salty snacks, candy, desserts, and sweetened beverages as their snacking choices, with salty snacks on the top of their priority list.
When it comes to snacks delivery, people often order for salty snacks the most, which has ideally become popular since 1977. According to a study report of 2006 it was found that:
- Salty snacks comprised 14.3% of the entire snacks consumed. This included chips and nuts the most.
- Among the Canadian youth, salty snacks such as crackers, popcorn and pretzels are however more popular.
On then other hand, when sweet snacks are considered, then preference for it among the people in the United States decreased overall from 1977 to 2006, but considered overall, in 2006 the people still favored desserts that comprised about 19.6% of total snacks consumed.
It is also found that milk and dairy products became less popular among the US people just as did the fruits and juices, though slightly. Instead, herbal remedies and organic snacks have become popular substitutes. However, these are very popular snack item for people of other countries such as:
- China and
In Mexico, fruit is the most common snack as it is in Brazil. The other food items that are popular include:
- Other sweets
- Desserts and
- Salgados, which are fried or baked dough, with meat, vegetables, or cheese in it.
Similarly, among the Greeks, the most preferred snack item is desserts that can be anything from chocolates to cakes and ice creams. They also like savory pies. Local health insurance companies in Denver study these demographics as well.
In China, both grain-based foods and fruits are popular snack items just as it is in France, though the French people love a bit sugary grain-based food that includes sweets, biscuits and cereal bars. It is also the same with the Canadian children especially.
On the other hand, if you move on to Finland, you will see that the same foods are consumed at snacks and during their meals with the only exception of fruits.
All these foods are fit for being considered as snacks but are comparatively energy-dense and nutrient-poor. However, since everything depends on the food and social culture of the country as revealed by this cross-sectional data, it is the choice of food items that are eaten as snacks is a primary area of concern for the governments regarding public health.
Pro tip from Med Fitness Blog: “Eat a variety of foods with a high-fat lunch and a low-fat dinner.”
Beverages as snacks
Just as the choice of food items for snacks, the choice of beverages for snacks is also equally diverse. Once again, the health-conscious people are more concerned with the increased consumption of calories through their beverages as snacks. They are also well aware of the merits and demerits of it and are therefore are very choosy about it. They know that these sweetened beverages seldom provide any energy and there are only a few, if any at all, other nutrients in it. On the other hand, the general people are not so concerned about these factors and therefore have a diverse choice of beverages for snacks.
- People in the United States, the consumption of energy density of beverages as snacks has been steadily increasing since 1977. Research found that from 1977 to 2006, the percentage of snacks that comprised only beverages increased by 4%. As of now, the beverages that have about 100 kcal/d feature in the diets of almost every American adult, as it is also seen in American children.
- In Mexico, however beverages such as milk, soda, coffee, and tea are among the top 5 priority snacks for people across all age groups.
- In Brazil, sweetened coffee and tea are more popular just as sugar-sweetened beverages are.
- In China, beverages overall are very popular snack category and they are found to have it almost any time and every time.
- In Greece however, it is coffee that features among the top three favorite beverages for snacks.
- Soda holds the number one spot in France and tea among the Omani population, specially the girls.
In the research however, the snacking occasions were actually respondent-defined and therefore it cannot be categorized for specific sectors of the population such as women or young adults, who are primarily the ones who snack most often in a few regions.
Daily energy intake
In almost all countries, snacking is the main source of energy to the consumers. It contributes significantly to the daily energy intake of the people. Irrespective of their origin, according to the national survey data. This data shows that:
- For the Brazilians it is about 21% of daily intake
- For the Mexicans it is 12%
- In both Canada and the United States, it is 23%
- 24% for the Americans
- 33.5% for the Greeks and
- For the French adults it is 18.5% of their daily energy intake.