A new survey of snacking habits around the globe has revealed some rather unfortunate results: snacking appears to be replacing meals for a significant part of the population.
While there is nothing wrong with a healthy snack in between meals, the fact that people are opting to grab something easy on the go instead of sitting down and enjoying a meal can be detrimental in a number of ways.
The Nielsen Global Survey of Snacking collected their data from more than 30,000 individuals in 60 countries. The participants were given online surveys earlier this year. Results showed that 45 percent of the people surveyed reportedly replaced at least one meal with a snack – in most cases, breakfast.
In America, the most popular snack choice was chips – either potato or tortilla. This in itself is a health pitfall, as many chips contain dangerous trans fats, and are loaded with refined sodium, and sometimes even sugar. Worldwide, 22 percent of participants admitted to snacking three or four times each day. Women were found to snack more than men.
The main problem with this worldwide phenomenon is that the perceived value of a real meal seems to be diminishing. One reason this is sad is that throughout history, families used to sit down to home-cooked meals together, and it served as a way to strengthen relationships, discuss events and unwind from the stresses of the day together.
Furthermore, all too often, snacking is an unconscious process. We are so busy that we grab the nearest food item and scarf it down, giving little heed to what or how much we are eating. This easily leads to overeating, and many people turn to packaged items, which introduce potentially harmful chemicals and preservatives into our bodies.
On the other hand, when we sit down and enjoy our meals mindfully, it allows us to both enjoy our food, and consciously consider what it is we are putting into our bodies, and in what quantity. This process can help ensure that we do not overeat, and that we are getting the range of nutrients that our bodies need to thrive. Plus, it invokes the true pleasure of eating.
One movement that has, fortunately, been gaining some momentum around the globe is Slow Food. This idea stands in opposition to the trend of fast food and unconscious eating. Within its philosophy is taking care to grow, prepare and savor food, and focus on the quality of the process and the end result.
We know you’re busy, but for a week, challenge yourself to sit down to three meals a day – two at least! You may find that it is well-worth the extra time and effort.
-The Alternative Daily