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'm with your Granma, if I get busy with something I forget to eat too. Being a diabetic that is not a good thing. I remember an occasion soon after I was diagnosed...a friend and I were working on a project when all of a sudden my blood sugar plummeted. My legs felt rubbery and my hands were shaking as I was rummaging through the cabinets and refrigerator just grabbing anything I could and stuffing it in my mouth. I've since learned to snack but on a few occasions my stomach has growled loudly and now I take notice and eat right away. A protein and carb help keep my blood sugar stay even and control the hungry horrors. Report
If I stay busy with my crafts I forget about eating, not for long, but for a while!LOL. I guess I snack more out of boredom than hunger. I feed my head more than my stomach when I snack, and sometimes keep too many "nibble foods" around, and dip into them constantly. I need to work on that, and that will be my next week's challenge! Report
I build in at least 2 or 3 snack each day. I even have my tracker set to add in midmorning, midafternoon, and evening "meals". This way I can ensure that I never get so hungry that I am tempted to binge. It's don't wonders for my weight loss. One big key for me is to make sure I get some sort of protein and fiber with every meal or snack. Report
Yes I do. I snacked today. . . .UGH! Report
I've become a snacker, with roughly the same weekday schedule you list. On weekends I often eat breakfast late, which can throw things off, but as long as I snack throughout the noon hour, I don't overeat at night. Missing my two mid-day meals (or meal plus snack) is the quickest way to send me to the fridge too early in the evening, which always spells trouble. Report
I only snack between lunch and dinner, which is usually fuel for my workout. My favorite snacks is an apple with either nuts, or yogurt with grapes.

But on the weekends... ANYTHING in my kitchen is fair game! Especially if I'm up watching a late-night movie. I don't keep unhealthy snacks around anymore, especially my weaknesses: cookies and icecream. So if I want a cookie icecream sandwich (yum!)... I'd have to drive to the grocery store! Which probably isn't open. The idea of taking that trip suddenly makes me realize that I wasn't that hungry for a snack to begin with... Report
Yep, I snack. I find if I plan healthy snacks into my day, I am not as likely to snack on junk food; and I find I feel better. I actually eat about 5 times per day - 4 small 200 - 250 calorie "meals" and about a 600 calorie dinner. I am sure that as my weight drops, my calorie intake will drop as well and I will need to re-plan. But right now, that works for me as Spark has me currently eating in the 1500 - 1800 calorie range. Report
I am eating a snack AS I TYPE! :) On the days I work out I always try to have a snack about one hour before leaving work. This way I can't use the "I'm too hungry" excuse to skip my evening workout. Today's snack was some Kashi Cinnamon Harvest cereal (dry). This snack also helps cure my afternoon sweet tooth! Report
I have a family living with my husband and myself. They usually eat around 8:00 PM which is way to late. Sometimes my tummy really gets to hurting since I eat lunch at 11:00 AM. I decided to just have a snack and the above suggestions are wonderful. I love fruit light yogerts ect. Then when dinner comes I really don't eat that much. Report
I am a snacker, but not the good kind(I'm working on it). I get hungry in the evenings and tend to munch on anything I can get my hands on, which typically consisted of Oreo's or Chips and salsa/queso. Sometimes I'll have a Quaker Oats granola bar or a string cheese. The string cheese was probably the better of my choices. Now I'm trying to keep healthier snacks. Making a green smoothie, grabbing a few baby carrots or grapes. I try and control my snacking by making sure I eat enough through the day and eat at regular intervals. I think snacks are important in making sure you're eating every 4 hours or so. I always try and have an after work/before dinner snack so I won't eat too much at dinner. Report
Yep. Usually yogurt mid-morning and cottage cheese (low fat) or fruit mid-afternoon. It's just a way of life, now. I've been doing it for probably about 10 years now. I used to get to the point where I felt like I was starving at mealtime, and then would eat anything in sight. Snacking definitely makes a difference. Report
Snacks is a big thing in all diets, too many snacks can ruin an otherwise healthy day. Report
I'm a snacker. I will have 1/2 cup of fiber one and 1/4 cup of raisins. Report
The snack that makes me feel good instantly is hummus and carrots.
Yummmmmmm-------crunchy and I get credit for eating a vegetable! Report
I definitely eat smarter when snacks are involved. Otherwise I will let portion distortion rule the day when dinnertime rolls around. I could set my clock to it. Fruits, nuts, cottage cheese or yogurt and granola are some favorites.
Also the days I don't drink alot of water I crave more garbage foods. Report
I like to snack. If I wait then I end up eating something that is not healthy. However I don't plan my snacks as much as I should. I like the idea of putting it in a cue little bowl. I'll have to do better at planning and preparing my snacks. Report
I'm a snacker. I get dizzy and irritated when I don't get regular snacks in. I manage my snacking by measuring out my portion into a cute little snack bowl. This is especially important when I'm snacking on nuts as the calories and fat add up quickly! Report
I am always hungry - so of course I snack :-). My favorite is an afternoon snack which came from a SP recipe I changed a bit. This makes two servings and I share 1/2 of it with my husband (we work from home):

1/2 Cup Nonfat Cottage Cheese
1/2 Cup 1% Milk
1/2 Cup frozen blueberries (not sweetened)
2 Cups frozen strawberries (not sweetened)
1 Banana
2 T Splenda

Blend and enjoy! Report
I'm like your grandma. Why eat, when you can work? I am rarely hungry.

When I'm not busy, though, I do snack. I'll grab a handful of oats, or nuts, or a piece of fruit. If I kept typical munchies around, I'd snack right through them. So I rarely have typical munchies. Report
I eat when I'm hungry, so if that means I have a snack between meals, so be it. On workdays my routine is usually breakfast (pretty much a snack) at 9, lunch at 11, workout at 1 or 2, snack at 3 or 4, and dinner around 7. I usually don't need another snack after dinner because I tend to eat a very filling dinner. Report
I only snack between lunch and dinner. It's usually a yogurt with fruit, low fat cheese and crackers, 100 calorie popcorn or a few chips with salsa. Sometimes in the middle of the week my husband and I watch a movie so I may have something then too, though I try to avoid it. Report
I didn't used to be a snacker, but as I have a fairly long commute for work I've found that it really helps me to have small snacks between meals. I've adjusted my meals so I eat a bit less there and spread the food out more. I usually have breakfast around 7, snack around 10, lunch at 1, snack around 4 and dinner around 7. Report
I do get hungry and need a snack but I have to be careful as it can be like opening a floodgate. Snacks are only OK if I can control it meaning, at work, I only take so much food each day so I can only eat what I have and that is limited. If I am at home on the weekend and want/need a snack it is very difficult to stop..... Sometimes I am successful and sometimes not so I try to be careful..... Report
I snack between lunch and dinner - the snack keeps me from becoming ravenous for dinner and over eating. Report
I typically do not feel an urge to snack -- only when I am really bored and sitting around does the fridge call my name and when that happens I try to just eat a little bit of something like a celery stick or something. Report
I am definitely a snacker. If I plan for it I do much better! A nice apple or orange. Report
I am prone to hypoglycemia and do have to eat something when I am feeling hypoglycemic. It depends on how much exercise I have done and if I have had enough protein or carbohydrates, sometimes even the day before, Report
I do need to snack in order to keep from being so hungry I eat everything in sight! I love snacking on baby carrots, radishes, watermelon or whatever else is in season and delicious. Report
I am not a snacker...Throughout high school I swam competitively with 1st practice usually beginning at 6:30 a.m....I could not bring myself to get up early enough to eat & digest breaky...& there was no way I could swim with an anchor in my stomach! (That's what food feels like at that hour of the morning.)

To this day, I workout early morning. Even retired, I am up by 6 a.m.. During my career, I often responded to situations...making plannning the 5-6 small meals impossible (tried it, usually ended up throwing food out).

So...I generally eat 3 meals a day. Over time, I am making breakfast a more balanced, healthy meal than it was when I ate on the run either at school or working. And the good, healthy breakfast - after a workout - is one of the most enjoyable meals of the day. And gives me the energy to enjoy my retirement...puttering, riding...staying active. Report
I ALWAYS snack, it's like clockwork - breakfast at 7, snack at 10, lunch at 1, snack at 4, and dinner at 7. Report
Yes! I am a BELIEVER in snacking! I didn't realize how important it was until I had gestational diabetes. It really made a difference and the diabetes actually taught me that. I control my snacking to 3 times per day which is between meals. I usually go no more than 2-3 hours without eating and feel great! I eat only healthy things and typically go as unprocessed as I can. I like to couple fruit or veg with some type of protein (nuts, cheese, peanut butter) and this usually staves off cravings.

If I don't eat a snack then by the time lunch or dinner comes I am ready to eat a CONTINENT! Not good cause by that time I'm craving greasy burgers and other comfort foods. Nooo!!!!!!

Yes I'm a snacker...Laughing Cow Cheese sections and whole grain crackers are my favorite or maybe a yogert. Love them both. Report
Snacks are important to me. If I don't I'll get too hungry and over eat. Snacks also keep my metabolism performing at its best. My favorite snack is cheese and whole grain & flaxseed crackers from Trader Joe's. They have the best healthy snacks. I also keep small apples for snacks. Report
No, I find it to difficult to stop with eating a 100 calories, so I'm better to not start. Report
Yes, I am a snacker. I have to keep things in the house that don't blow me out of the water, llike pretzels, low-fat popcorn, fruit, yogurt, low fat ice cream, sherbet, etc. I plan my snacks, too. I add up the (aprx.) calories & fat- grams I have used that day & see what fits into the plan. You may have guessed that the only time I want to snack is at night--that's the only time I'm not busy. Report
I'm great until the afternoon; 3ish I need a protein snak, but that seems to rev things up, so I plan/make dinner so that it's there when I need it. And I have a snak a couple hrs after dinner (since dinner is usually early). It's all in the timing! Report
I started eating every 2.5 - 3 hours a day to fuel PROTEIN. I had a hard time getting 85-125g of protein a day at first (had been vegetarian). You can do it but I hadn't realized that what I thought were healthy protein sources, were really only giving me 4-9g of protein. If I had 3 servings a day (previously), that meant about 27g! See what I mean? So, eating frequently helped those opportunities for protein snacks :) Report
It's difficult for me to snack. Most days I have some carrots right about now (11 am) eat lunch around 1:30 then work out right at 5:30 and eat dinner around 7:30. Recently I've been waking up hungry in the middle of the night so I started incorporating a late evening snack while I watch my tv show. Around 10 I have a bowl of popcorn which gives my tummy something to gnaw on while I'm asleep! Report
Well I found out for ME (not for all bodies, but for ME) if I just eat all my calories at meals I don't lose as fast. I am very active, I am moving around 20 hours a day and if I don't fuel the fire it gets stored as fat. So if you read my blog today, what I did differently last week was that I didn't snack, that I ate all my calories at one or two big meals. This week I am going back to snacking. Report
What's the diff btwn Snacking and Grazing? I think I'm a grazer since I'm single and don't need to build traditional meals for a family -- there's just me so I am fairly casual about when I havee my next mini meal. Report
I LOVE to snack, I definitely have a couple of healthy snacks a day since my metabolism has gotten crazy fast because of all the muscles I'm gaining through strength training. Report
I usually have 3 meals and 3 snacks daily as a part of my diabetic meal plan to keep my blood sugar level. Report
I do have 2 or 3 healthy snaks a day. It helps keep my metabolism going. I have an apple, carrots or celery, with hummus or low fat cheese. Report
I pretty much snack 5 times a day :p Report
Yep, in the late afternoon (string cheese) and evening (Quakes)--but the snacks are within my calorie range, and I try very hard not to have them unless I'm hungry. Report
Yes, I am a snacker. Especially late in the afternoon. I don't automatically eat a snack, but have measured out healthful snacks available when I one. Report
I get hungry every 3 hours or so. I have several snacks a day but they're all healthy snacks that fit in my calorie ranges. Report
I definitely snack. Usually mid afternoon and then in the evening (this usually acts as a kind of delayed dessert).

I stick to things like fruit, low fat yoghurt, cheese triangles, carrots, rice cakes and peanut butter.. These are all things that compliment my eating plan. I usually plan to get 1/5 to 1/4 of my calories a day in snacks. If I don't plan in snacks I find it harder to stay away from 'naughty' foods.

I try not to snack more than once a day. Report
I snack on occasion, but not when I know I am having 3 full sized meals. I am trying to eat a light (but healthy) breakfast, light lunch, mid afternoon snack, and a good dinner. So far I am meeting my goals, except the carbs and fat. I just can't make myself add them. Maybe a little more snacking on the side will help. Report
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