Benefits of snacking: Why do we snack?
Read on to find out why we as consumers snack between meals and whether this kind of snacking has health benefits. Learn how to offer nutritious snacks and let us inspire you to optimize snacking habits!

Benefits of snacking: Why do we snack?

Read on to find out why we as consumers snack between meals and whether this kind of snacking has health benefits. Learn how to offer nutritious snacks and let us inspire you to optimize snacking habits!

A familiar situation: It’s 9pm. Dinner was a while ago and you’ve made yourself comfortable on the couch. You’re enjoying a good book, a TV series or simply relaxing with your favorite music. Everything is great, but there’s just one thing missing: the perfect snack. You don’t even know exactly what you feel like – chips, chocolate, or ice cream? You’re not hungry, but you have a big appetite. A familiar situation to almost everybody. Nibbling in the evening or between meals is an omnipresent phenomenon. Almost everyone reaches for a small snack during the day.

According to a study from 2021, around 60% of adults in Germany snack at least twice a day between main meals¹. Studies from the USA add: more than 20 % of daily energy intake comes from snacks². Quick and convenient options like candy, chips or fruit are especially popular.

img blog beneftis of snacking content 1200x800 Personen die snacken tisch

But why do we snack in the first place? And does it have health disadvantages? Or perhaps even benefits? The reasons are diverse and range from hunger to habit to emotional triggers. In the following, we’ll take a closer look at the reasons and explain the benefits of snacking.

Why do we actually snack?

The first question of our blog post is dedicated to the ‘why’. Why do we snack? 

The answer to this question can be divided into the following eight points:

1. Hunger and Appetite

One of the most common reasons for snacking is a feeling of hunger between main meals. We often reach for snacks even when we’re not actually hungry, but simply have an appetite for something tasty. Healthy options like nuts or yogurt can then help satisfy hunger without blowing the calorie budget.

2. Stress and Emotions

Emotional snacking is likely one of the most common reasons for reaching into the snack drawer. Many people eat for emotional reasons, to a or combat feelings like boredom or sadness. Snacks are also frequently reached for when procrastinating.

img blog benefits of snacking content 1200x600 Person isst muesli ungluecklich

3. Availability

Snacks that are within easy reach often tempt us to grab them, even if we don’t really need them. Some people have gotten into the habit of snacking regularly, even when the body doesn’t signal hunger. Some households have typical snack drawers filled with tempting nibbles, making it particularly easy to reach for unhealthy snacks.

img blog benefits of snacking content 1200x600 Muffins Party

4. Special Occasions

Whether it’s a birthday, wedding, or a cool party with friends – special occasions are often celebrated with snacks. Sweet foods such as cakes, cupcakes, or chocolate usually dominate, underlining the festive mood. Some of these special snacks are automatically associated with fond memories and a festive atmosphere. When we eat these special snacks during our normal working day, they trigger a feeling of happiness in us.

5. Social Snacking

When together with others, we tend to snack together. A movie without popcorn? A get-together without snacks? Hardly imaginable! Snacking together can increase wellbeing and reduce stress. It provides a sense of belonging and support, and offers the posibility for conversations.

6. Evening/Nighttime Snacking

Many people feel the desire for snacks late at night, often while watching TV or reading. The craving for unhealthy snacks is often greater than the desire for healthy alternatives. The danger is high that boredom becomes habit, as unhealthy snacks have negative long-term consequences.

img blog benefits of snacking content 1200x600 Snacks und wein

7. A Sensory Experience

The power of the senses should not be underestimated: delicious-looking and good-smelling snacks easily tempt us. The sight of freshly baked cookies or the crinkle of a chip bag can be irresistible.

Color, shape and aroma of the snack offering are important. But texture is also crucial. Snacks that are “crunchy” are often perceived as more satisfying according to studies, while a gummy texture, for example, is associated with sweet snacks.3

img blog benefits of snacking content 1200x600 Snackbox Riegel

8. Habit and Routine

For many people, snacking has become a habit, a routine that is difficult to break. Snacks are eaten out of habit, not out of real hunger. Breaking this habit requires conscious effort and awareness.

In summary, there are many psychological and sensory reasons why we snack, in addition to physiological hunger. Being aware of these factors can help us make more mindful snacking choices.

Does snacking even have health benefits?

To answer the second question directly: Yes! Snacks are not only delicious but can also offer numerous health benefits. Studies have shown that snacking can have positive effects on both physical and mental health. However, it is crucial that snacking is done consciously and nutritiously.

We now focus on the specific health benefits of snacking and how to snack healthier:

1. Stabilization of Blood Sugar Levels

Regular small snacks can help keep blood sugar levels stable throughout the day. This prevents energy slumps and the associated cravings that often lead to unhealthy food choices.
In addition, a stable blood sugar level prevents major fluctuations that can lead to health problems such as hypoglycemia or diabetes.

img blog benefits of snacking content 1200x600 Handy App Blutzucker

2. Boosting Metabolism

More frequent, smaller meals can stimulate the metabolism. An active metabolism helps to burn calories more efficiently and additionally supports weight control. Snacks that particularly stimulate the metabolism are often rich in protein, fiber and healthy fats. These include nuts and seeds, Greek yogurt and green tea.

img blog benefits of snacking content 1200x600 Frau beim essen geniessen

3. Important Nutrients

Healthy snacks like fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains provide important vitamins, minerals, fiber and healthy fats. These contribute to overall health and can reduce the risk of chronic diseases. The three most important nutrients for the body are probably water, carbohydrates and proteins.

4. Prevention of Fatigue and Lack of Concentration

The light, nutrient-rich snacks provide the body with energy and can thus prevent fatigue and lack of concentration, especially in everyday work life. Apples, as an example, contain natural sugars and fiber that provide a steady supply of energy. Nuts are rich in healthy fats and proteins and provide long-lasting energy. Or bananas, which are rich in potassium and vitamin B6 and help to produce and maintain energy.

5. Flexibility in Eating Habits

Snacks are easy to integrate into everyday life as they are quick and uncomplicated. This allows for more flexible eating without having to spend much time preparing meals.

Meal prepping allows meals or snacks to be prepared for several days in advance. This approach is particularly popular among people who value a healthy diet.

img blog beneftis of snacking content 1200x800 Frischhaltebox Essen im Glas

6. Improvement of Concentration, Energy, and Mood

Snacks that contain a good combination of proteins, fats and complex carbohydrates can boost cognitive performance and provide an energy boost. This leads to better concentration and generally improved well-being. Dark chocolate, for example, contains flavonoids, caffeine and antioxidants that can improve brain function. Avocados are rich in healthy fats that promote blood circulation and therefore brain function. A bonus: snacking also lifts the mood. Because it gives us joy, snacking is a true mood booster on bad days.

img blog benefits of snacking content 1200x600 Frau beim Essen am Tisch

7. Reduced Risk of Overeating

When the stomach doesn’t get too empty between main meals, one is less likely to overeat when food is finally on the table. This helps to control portion sizes better and supports a balanced diet.

8. Energy Source for Physical Activities

For people who train regularly, snacks can be an important energy source. A small, nutritious snack before a workout can increase performance and endurance. After a workout, snacks also provide valuable energy and prevent a low point that can arise from increased energy expenditure.

9. A Welcome Break

Taking time for a snack can also represent a psychological break that helps clear your mind and relieve stress. This can be particularly advantageous on long workdays.

In general, it is healthier to take time for meals and not eat them while multitasking. This also applies to healthy snacking.

img blog benefits of snacking content 1200x600 Tasse Caffee mit Schokolade

10. The Simple Joy

Lastly, the factor of enjoyment should not be underestimated. Snacks are often a small moment of pleasure that brings joy and can enhance quality of life. Through snacking, we feel like we are treating ourselves. This lifts the mood and increases our awareness of our own needs. To ensure these moments of pleasure, a balance between healthy snacks and less healthy options that are sweeter or saltier, but even more satisfying is important.

How do we snack healthier?

The last part of our analysis is dedicated to healthier methods of snacking. It can be summarized in the following points:

1. Mindfulness

Snacking consciously means knowing exactly when and why you reach for snacks. It’s worth keeping a snack diary to identify patterns and emotional triggers. This is particularly helpful if you often reach for snacks at the end of the day. In this case, it’s worth reflecting the past 24 hours: Were you very stressed today? Did you skip a meal? Exercise a lot?

2. Pre-portioned Snacks

Pre-portioned snacks help ensure you don’t eat more than necessary. Small packages or pre-portioning into bowls can be a great help. Companies can already take care of this for their end consumers to make healthy and conscious snacking easier for them.

img blog benefits of snacking content 1200x600 Portioniertes Essen im glas

3. High-quality Snacks

Instead of reaching for sugary or fatty snacks, the focus should be on high-quality alternatives with lots of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Low-sugar snacks are also an important point. Here, fruits can provide natural sweetness without adding refined sugar.

img blog benefits of snacking content 1200x600 Tupperdose mit Essen

4. Variety and Balance

A varied selection of healthy snacks keeps snacking exciting and prevents boredom. A good balance between sweet and savory, crunchy and soft, is ideal. Combining different food groups like protein, carbs and healthy fats creates a satisfying snack.

5. Preparation and Accessibility

Having healthy snacks readily available and prepared makes it easier to reach for them. Cutting up fruits and veggies in advance or having nuts and seeds at hand makes healthy snacking convenient to integrate into everyday life.

6. Emotional-conscious Snacking

It’s worth paying attention to your own body. Depending on which emotion triggers the desire for snacks, different treats are appropriate. In times of stress, for example, snacks with a high content of omega-3 fatty acids or magnesium can have a calming effect. Sadness can be combated with the help of complex carbohydrates that support serotonin production. If the reason for nibbling is pure boredom, healthy snacks that are still crunchy are suitable to satisfy the desire for the typical “snack texture”.

img blog beneftis of snacking content 1200x800 Snack turm

Fruit Enhances the Snack Experience

Snacking on fresh fruits offers numerous health benefits. Fruit is not only rich in important vitamins and minerals, but also in fiber that provides a feeling of fullness and promotes digestion. Who doesn’t enjoy fresh, crisp strawberries in the morning or grab a few blueberries from the bowl in the afternoon?

A problem with fresh fruits, however, is their short shelf life. Fresh strawberries are only available to end consumers for a short time of the year and they don’t last long even in the refrigerator. Furthermore, fresh fruits are very difficult to further process to be integrated into other snack products such as baked goods or chocolate.

img blog beneftis of snacking content 1200x800 Solutions lila qubes

Therefore, other fruit solutions are well suited to offer a healthy and delicious snack alternative or to enhance existing snacks.

The products from Paradise Fruits Solutions make it easy to enjoy fruits in various forms and combinations, even when fresh fruit is not available. Fruit pastes, Fruit granulates or Fruit juice drops can be excellently integrated into baked goods, chocolate, ice cream and many other snack products. Here they offer a natural sweetness without added sugar and preservatives. Their pleasant texture and appearance also encourage snacking.

Healthy Snack Ideas: Our Suggestion

img blog beneftis of snacking content 1200x800 Health shapes

If you are aiming for particularly healthy snacks that combine the benefits of snacking even more strongly, products like those in our Paradise Fruits Health product line are ideal. Here we combine delicious fruit gummies with beneficial nutrients like vitamins & minerals, botanicals, or active cultures.

The addition of these valuable substances makes snacking not only an enjoyable but also a healthy experience – no matter what time of day.

The Solution to a Healthy Lifestyle is Smart Snacking

Snacks are more than just a small indulgence in between; they can be an important part of a healthy diet. Through conscious and wise snacking, we can all increase our well-being while not skimping on enjoyment. Understanding the reasons why consumers snack and adapting their snacking habits can help make their diet healthier and more satisfying.

Products like those from Paradise Fruits Solutions and Paradise Fruits Health allow us to enjoy healthy and delicious snack options at any time by offering natural fruit elements in a variety of forms that are available year-round and can be easily integrated into various snack products. By choosing the right snacks and enjoying them mindfully, consumers’ well-being can be enhanced while still preserving the joy of snacking.

¹ „Umfrage zur Häufigkeit des Verzehrs von Snacks an Wochentagen in Deutschland 2021“, statista.com (2021). https://de.statista.com/statistik/daten/studie/1246220/umfrage/haeufigkeit-des-verzehrs-von-snacks-an-wochentagen/#:~:text=Wie%20eine%202021%20von%20EARSandEYES,Tag%20einen%20Snack%20zu%20essen

² “Snacking Consumption among Adults in the United States: A Scoping Review”, Jean Pierre Enriquez & Elizabeth Gollub (2023), Nutrients 15(7). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10097271/

³ “Eating with our ears: assessing the importance of the sounds of consumption on our perception and enjoyment of multisensory flavour experiences”, Charles Spence (2015), Flavor 4. https://flavourjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/2044-7248-4-3#Sec19

Image Sources First Section:
mockaroon, No Revisions, tamasp, Viktor Forgacs™️, jessysmith, Denny Müller – from unsplash.com

Image Sources Second Section:
sweetlifediabetes, Pablo Merchán Montes, swell, Alex Haney, abischreider – from unsplash.com

Image Sources Third Section:
swell, elloproducts, foodfaithfit – from unsplash.com, Paradise Fruits Solutions und Paradise Fruits Health

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