Poll: Do You Snack?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
A dozen years ago, when I was visiting my grandmother at her home in Michigan, my aunt forewarned me. An avid quilter, my grandmother lost track of time when she was at the sewing machine. "You'll be in her sewing room for hours without realizing it," my aunt said.

Surely she took breaks during the day, I thought. Nope. She just kept sewing. I was too timid to say anything, and I didn't want to complain. By 3 p.m. one day, I realized we had been quilting for six hours straight. My stomach was not happy.

"Gramma," I said meekly."I'm hungry. May I have a snack?" She looked at the clock.

"Oh, my gosh," she said. "We forgot to eat lunch."

We rushed down to the kitchen and had a snack, then made an early dinner soon after. That night I called my mom and told her about my day.

"Gramma and I didn't eat lunch," I said.

My mom laughed. That story is now famous in my family--the time Gramma held Stepfanie hostage in her sewing room/sweatshop (It was summertime!) and didn't feed her all day long. Of course, the story has been embellished a bit as it weaved its way through the family grapevine, but it's always recounted with love.

That same Gramma is the one who lost 35 pounds a couple of years ago. Diagnosed with hypoglycemia, she now relies on small meals and snacks to keep her blood sugar regulated. Though she was raised in the "three square meals and no eating between them" generation, Gramma Willie now is a reformed--and healthy--snacker. Our family jokes that she won't be starving any of the younger grandkids these days. She stashes healthy snacks in the sewing room for herself and any grandkids who might be visiting and making a quilt alongside her.

That story, and my own eating habits made me wonder if other people also changed their minds about snacking.

I'm definitely a snacker! I don't need a clock to tell what time it is. I could set my watch by my stomach, which starts to rumble after exactly four hours with no food. I'm a pretty regulated person. I eat breakfast around 8, lunch at noon, a snack by 4, and dinner at 8.

Without that 4 p.m. snack, my 90-minute yoga sessions would be pure torture. I've forgotten to eat my snack a few times, and I leave class ready to gnaw off my own arm. Those nights I am more likely to reach for second helpings I don't need or for starchy quick foods while my dinner cooks. With that snack, I can usually tide myself over until dinner.

What about you?

  • Are you a snacker?

  • How do you control your snacking?

  • Do you think snacks are an important part of a healthy eating plan?

  • What are your favorite snacks?

Need some good snack ideas? Try these:

15 Healthy Post-Workout Snacks

10 Treats Under 100 Calories

p.s. I hope my Gramma still finds this story funny after I share it with all of you!

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i snack a lot, i mean A LOT. i eat fruit, munch on cereal and pick on food etc.
and thats the main reason i gained weight at first place, so now i am trying portion control. Report
ABSOLUTELY! I plan my snack ahead. Yogurt, SF Jell-O Mousse, Pretzel braids, fruit....I need a little pick me up and by planning ahead I keep myself from getting too hungry and eating like a crazy lady! Report
I...it depends.
Its not too hard for me to be grandma and really get caught up in something/ sort of forget to eat. Does not happen on a regular basis because there is a clock next to my desk reminding me that going that long without eating might be kind of bad. Usually if I'm out playing somewhere, I can go as long as 8-9 hrs without eating, *heh*

I like a small snack of fruit or peanut butter and toast in the afternoon, if only because its often my lull and think about food time. I usually don't snack in the morning. Report
I'm a snacker. I love my food and I hate feeling hungry. I've been active so feel I need to have fuel to keep me going. I generally snack 2-3 x's a day and I try to keep to healthier choices: granola bar, fruit, veggies, triscuits, cheese...things like that. I stick to my portions so I don't overeat. Report
I snack everyday. Once between breakfast and lunch, again between lunch and dinner and usually a small snack at night. I do believe it keeps my body burning calories, as for the past 12 months, I have had a weight loss every week except for 2 times. Losing every week has really keep me motivated and I am within 5 pounds of my goal! Report
I do snack, but on things that are healthy and only if I haven't met my caloric intake for the day! I try to have snacks that are high in fiber so that I get full faster! I try to instill those same habbits in my 10 year old son, but so far I have had to lock up the pantry because he was sneaking the junk food after having the 3 snacks a day we told him he could have. So if he wants a banana or an apple then those are in easy reach, but if he wants the oreos or the potato chips, now that is a different story. Report
Yep! That's what those grapes I got at Meijer's today are for! If I keep these snacks around I'm much less likely to head for the vending machines (my nemesis). Report
Generally it depends on the day. I like to have a snack late afternoon because if I don't, I am ravenous by dinner time and I will definitely over eat. I let my body tell me if it needs a snack. If it does, I feed it, if it doesn't then I don't. Report
I go back and forth on snacking. It depends on how I am feeling that day, how my meal plan for the day, how much exercise I do, etc. Most days I have at least one snack, some days it is as many as three. But snacking when I start to feel a little hungry definitely keeps me from eating unhealthy portions at mealtimes. Report
I have 2 snacks in the afternoon and 2 snacks at night, plan for them and count their calories into my day. It's the only way to live, at least for me, and still keep the healthy meals going without a hitch. Report
I try to grab a snack in the afternoon, it helps me get through the day. Don't ususally snack in the a.m. or after dinner. Usually grab a piece of fruit or a fiber one bar. Report
I totally have to snack ! If I didn't, I'd end up over eating later in the day ! I was in a class with a trainer who absolutely believed in snacking. In fact, he called them Scoobie Snacks! So, if Scoobie Doo needs snacks for energy, why shouldn't I???

So, more Scoobie Snacks for me !
I HAVE to snack. I like your gramma use to go hours without eating. Nothing but coffee all day. Infact there were days that I was so stressed and busy that I couldn't remember the last time I had eaten.
Now I make sure that I always have something with me whether it be an orange or apple or a bowl of cheerios (plain) if I need something with a little more too it. It's the only way I don't end up eating garbage food while I'm out. That wanting to 'gnaw your arm off feeling' is something that I knew way to well. Report
I snack or I'd end up overeating at meal times. I'm currently reading a book that points out that we were never designed to eat at specific times during the day, and that our body will inform us when we need food. Which makes sense.

Watching my kids they eat small, partially because they are small, but they're also growing at an astounding rate and their bodies need nutrition. They have what is a serving a cereal and fruit in the morning, then a couple of hours later they want a snack. At lunch they might not finish their sandwich. Then a few hours later another snack is wanted. By dinner time I have to fight to get them to eat. I'm starting to think that my children might be more in tune with what they need than I could have ever imagined. After all they don't have nearly 30 years of ignoring their bodies under their belt. Report
My days are long and stressful, and I've learned that I do best with several small meals/snack rather than the old 3 squares I was raised on. I'm most successful when I'm not hungry...as soon as I let myself get hungry I'll obsess about food and my choices tend to degrade. Now I pack a lunch box full of small items and eat between meetings or as soon as I'm hungry to avoid that starving feeling. Report
I go with my stomach and activity level daily. Some days I am okay with 3 meals but other times when I've really amped up my activities I find myself hungry and will look for fruits, yogurt,nuts or veggies to snack on. By doing this on a regular basis I up my veggie/fruit count and pay more attention to my nutrition tracker to see where I might be lacking in nutrients and focus on snacking on something to bring me back into a balanced range. Report
I'm a very big snacker or I guess I'm more of an eater all day long. I am a grazer....I "snack" all day long rather than eat large meals. Report
To be successful on this journey snacking must be incorporated, after that one needs to work on portion control and picking better snacks (most of the time). Peanut butter and nuts are a few of my better choices. Keep up the great work! Report
I have to snack. My breakfast is at 5:30am, so a snack around 9:30 gets me through to lunch at noon. Then I have another snack at 3 which gets me to dinner at 6. Those are my healthy snacks. My problem is in the evenings whenI might be watching tv or reading. If I start snacking then, it can be hard to make good choices or to stop. I have started drinking Danactive pro-biotic yogurt drinks in the evening. If I just have that, I am good. Report
I would be in a better place physically if I didn't snack! Report
i am a snacker now ... i find it helps me keep my focus at work and i don't eat til im full .... mostly the snacks are fruit like 10am banana , 3pm blackberries but if i'm famished ... i'll have something more substantial Report
I have to snack or else I eat too much at meals because I feel hungry. I have found that having 3 small meals with 3 snacks work best for me to keep on an even keel all day. I usually only have a piece of fruit or yogurt for 2 snacks and some fat-free sugar free pudding as a dessert snack so I don't want sweets Report
I am a snacker, and that is where I get into trouble. I try my best not to snack at night. that is my worst time. I'm crazy about cheese and can't stop eating it, so don't buy it. I try to have fruit instead. Report
I wouldn't say I snack except for an icepop once in a while but I do have a very scattered diet due to my anorexia. I do not have nervosa. I have Anorexia due to stress and anixety. Anyway, I am constantly in the kitchen picking at this and that, trying to get a good balance down for the day. Report
I don't snack. My meals fill me up and keep me from being hungry between them, and I only eat when I'm hungry. Report
Snacking is most def one of my biggest downfalls. I would do a lot better if I planned my snacks like many of other people leaving comments but I don't. I am determined to stop and only do 3 meals a day. Report
I am also a snacker...and as I have IBS it keeps my tummy happy because nothing upsets it quite like a big meal on an empty stomach. I find with snacking I eat really small meals and am always full (usually 330 - 450 cals).

I eat breakfast around 8:30am, a peice of fruit at 11, lunch around 12:30, a snack around 3 or 3:30 and dinner around 7pm...like clockwork...and on the weekend when things are less regimented I never know what to do!

As I write this my dessert from lunch and my afternoon snack are beside me: a mango sliced up, an apple and a clementine.

Fruit is usually my favourite snack but sometimes I reach for a granola bar, some triscuits or celery and PB :) Report
I have found that I NEED to eat every 3 to 4 hours or I have severe blood sugar crashes and become EXTREMELY hungry. Even delaying an hour can mess up my whole day, so I try to stay on schedule. Breakfast at about 8, lunch by noon, snack between 3 and 4, dinner at 7. I also try to make sure I eat a healthy fat, protein and carbs whenever I eat. It keeps me more balanced and satisfied.

What I HAVE had to cut out is what people traditionally think of as snacking - no cookies, no big bags of chips, no candy or other junk food. If I'm going to eat, it is a scheduled meal and not a mindless binge. Report
I have to eat every three-four hours. Otherwise I can definitely feel the effects. I can get dizzy if I go too long without eating, I get crabby, and I will absolutely overeat when I finally find food. I need my snacks! Report
School starts early - 7:30 AM. So my breakfast is early, which means lunch is early. But I like to have dinner with my husband - thus the afternoon snack. Usually an apple and some cheese, but if I'm hungry I'll add a granola bar or pretzels. Couldn't make it to evening without that snack! Report
I learned to snack when I had gestational diabetes with my second child. Now, it's breakfast at 6am, snack about 9am, lunch between 11:30 and noon, then I'm supposed to have a snack at 3pm (which I usually forget) and dinner around 6pm. If I have enough calories or I'm just not satisfied, I'll have a glass of milk before bed, which is supposed to be at 8:30pm.

I like fruit and veggies for my snacks, but will sometimes add cheese depending on what I had for breakfast or what I'm planning to have for lunch.

Some days things don't always work according to schedule. On those days, I can tell if I've gone too long between meals by the monstrous headache I get. Report
I have a schedule very similar to Stephanie's, I eat breakfast late, though, at around 9:30. I eat lunch at noon, a snack around 3:30, dinner anywhere between 5:30 - 7:30, and then a small snack around 8:30. My snacks in the afternoon are anything from cheese, hardboiled eggs, pistachios, or granola bars. My evening snacks are fat free milk and something sweet. I keep my meals small so I am pretty even throughout the day. Report
I'm a big time snack lover. My favorite is fruit with some protein/calcium and a big glass of water. It sticks with me for a long time, which is important. Late afternoons are my "want to pig out" time. Report
I'm a big beleiver in snacking. I try to keep a variety of easy and healthy things in my office at work, so when the hnger hits during the day, I have something to grab. I like the 100 calorie packs, and when I have fresh fruit in the house I'll bring that. I also keep carrots in the office fridge sometimes. I try to change up what I've got handy so I'm never tempted to go get a candy bar or something equally bad just because I'm bored with my snacks. Report
I'm hungriest in the afternoon, between lunch and dinner. I eat a solid breakfast, a light lunch followed by a snack, and then dinner. Report
I'm definitely a snacker! If I don't eat something every few hours, I get dizzy and disoriented from low blood sugar. I've learned that I have to choose healthy snacks if I don't want to gain weight, so I try to snack on small portions of fresh fruit and veggies or some almonds. When my blood sugar gets low, I start losing my willpower, and a candy bar starts to look good (especially at work), so I try to make sure I always have a healthy option with me! Report
Since I love to snack on ice cream I had to find something a lot better. Rita Waterice is now with made with Splenda and a 7.5 oz serving is 80 calories. It has been a life saving at night. During the day I have just been eating fruit or yougart. Report
My mom is 61, but if you saw here you wouldn't believe it. She went to a nutritionist year ago who had her start eating every two hours. Not only did she lose weight she has a hard time not losing more. Of course she exercises and does strength training and she is always complaining about having to eat too much food. She has also given up meat in the past year and sticks mostly with veggies and fish. She eats three meals and the rest are snacks- fruit, healthy alternatives to favorites that she finds in whole Foods or Trader Joe's- like cheese doodles without the high sodium content or the partially- hydrogenated oils. She has also eliminated white sugar and flour from her diet. I have tried the every two hour course, it works, but you have to be very dedicated to continue it. Report
I snack between meals so that I am rarely hungry and my blood sugar stays fairly even (though I do not have diabetes, my body simply feels more comfortable that way.) Also, I am then not so hungry when it IS mealtime, and so I do not overeat.

WHAT one snacks on is key. I find two small tangerines (62 calories), or 4-6 large strawberries (32.4 calories), for example, very filling and good to last me for a few hours. High-quality fresh vegetables are also very tasty even-lower-calorie snack foods (carrots, cherry tomatoes, etc.), - though I also consider a few whole-wheat crackers with small amounts of cheese and the occasional Starbucks Latte as acceptable (and delicious) snack foods.

As always: Your Mileage May Vary. Report
I have done much better since I gave up snacking. I made meals and snacks, all balanced with protein and carbs, etc., to take me with at work for years, but it didn't keep me from overeating or craving junk. I've been practicing eating 3 one-plate meals a day most days of the week since January and it has been the best thing I've ever done. I can tolerate and even enjoy hunger, and I don't have the desire to binge between meals nor do I want to overeat at meals, even when I've had to wait quite awhile. Byron Richards, the author who has been researching leptin, has found that a 5-6 hour gap between meals is essential. I've certainly found it to be the best habit for me. I also don't have sweets on weekdays. I never thought I could do it go without snacks, sweets, or seconds at meals, but it's all possible and even desirable. Report
I seem to do better if I have calculated snacks. If I wait too long, I eat way too much while I'm fixing dinner. Report
I try to include at least one snack a day so I don't get too hungry between meals and then overeat. I'm wondering if I should snack more often since so many people say that spreading out their eating helps them lose more weight. Report
I usually snack between breakfast and lunch. I suppose I need to get another one between lunch and dinner so that I have a bit fuel for my afternoon workout. Report
I know this sounds weird, but I have greater weight loss when I snack! Granted it is well planned and healthy snacks, but if I get up early, exercise and eat breakfast immediately following, I find that I can not make it to lunch without a snack around 9:30 or 10:00. Then I eat lunch around 12:30 and have a snack around 3:00. Dinner around 6:30 and a very light snack (1/2 small banana with coconut milk). Oddly enough, if I adhere to this schedule, I usually lose 2-3 lbs in a week! When I only eat 3 meals a day, I'm lucky to lose 1 lb. My dietician friend says its because I'm teaching my body to burn ALL the time because it expects to get more fuel and isn't conserving. Strange concept, but it appears to work for me! Report
I eat 5 meals a day. breakfast snack lunch supper and snack. And I'm never hungry. None of the meals are really large and they are usually packed with fruits and vegetables. Report
I eat when I'm hungry, which I don't really classify as "snacking" but more as mini-meals and these are spaced about three hours apart. However, I must admit, I have a lot in common with Gramma. When I get caught up in a project or I'm out and about with my camera, eating is the last thing on my mind... Until my belly growls so loudly that I can't concentrate - LOL! Report
I dislike snacking. However, recently becoming diabetic I find myself having to snack to maintain my sugars. If I go too long without eating, my liver ramps up for glucogenesis and goes wild making sugar. If I am too active my levels drop. The worst is when you bottom out in cold sweat with the shakes, feeling nauseous and on the verge of vomiting while trying to make yourself eat in order to raise your blood sugar. Yes, I too am a snacker. Report
I have to snack! My blood sugar drops if I do not snack I get shaky and weak. Sometimes very crabby!! :( I eat healthy snacks... almonds, craisins, rice cakes, fresh fruit, yogurt, cheese sticks.. stuff like that. Report
I snack about 2-3 times a day. I generally like to snack on fruits but there are times when it'll be something like a Greek yogurt or a piece of toast with some almond butter. Without my snacks, I notice I'm ravenous by the time I eat. Snacking definitely helps me keep my portions in check. Report
Yes, I like to snack on healthy foods like nuts, fruit and yogurt. My juke foods are chisp and dip! Whenever I have a craving for a snack, I drink my water first and it tends to fill me up until the next meal. I've been real good lately. Report
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