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Watching What You Eat? 25% of Calories Now Come from Snacks

Snacks are the bane of every dieter. About 25 percent of the average person's daily caloric intake comes from snacks, which is a whopping 550 calories if you follow the typical 2,200 calorie diet. Drawing on expert sources, including NHANES, a program that samples data from thousands of Americans annually, as well as Nielsen surveys, Zipongo.com offers up these facts to know and tell about snacking:

Nearly 80 percent of us snack two or more times a day.

People who snack tend to be heavier than those who don't. Specifically, people who eat five or more times a day are 50 percent more likely to be overweight or obese, compared with those who eat three or fewer times a day.

Our favorite snacks are junk foods. For more than 55 percent of us, our go-to snacks are chips, chocolate, cheese and cookies. Processed junk food is packed with empty calories, as well as sugar, salt and fat.

We don't always snack because we're hungry. Instead, we grab that Twinkie for a variety of emotional reasons. Nearly 60 percent of us say we snack to improve our mood, deal with stress, pass the time or as a reward for a job well done.

Here are three tips to make snacking become a healthy part of your day.

  1. Choose snacks that are whole foods and high in fiber, such as fruits and vegetables.
  2. Only snack when you are hungry and not as a way to assuage negative emotions, such as sadness, anger, depression or anxiety.
  3. Control your portions. Instead of grabbing a big bag of chips and digging in with your hand, pour a quarter-cup of almonds into a small bowl. This makes it much more difficult to mindlessly overeat.