Brits have been revealed as being the worst in Europe for unhealthy snacking, with 41% of us filling up on crisps, cookies, cake or chocolate. We do this more often than the other nine nations in a survey by Fruyo, which looked at 4,000 people from the UK, Poland, Sweden, Belgium, Italy, France, Germany, Holland, Spain and Greece.
Only 15% of us snack healthily – in comparison to Spain, at 27%, and Greece at 25%.
While we may not snack as often as some countries – Brits were found to snack twice a day – our unhealthy choices add up. Over a third (39%) of us admit to consuming more calories each day through snacking than we do at meal times. There is also a subset of secret snackers – around 8% of us do so in secret (although we swear in must be higher).
As for why we snack, rather than hunger acting as the main motivator, most of us seem to snack out of boredom (41%) while others have mentioned stress and a lack of energy.
Nutritionist and food writer, Fiona Hunter, said: “These results show exactly how wrong many people in the UK are getting it when it comes to snacking. It should be a positive occasion – using well chosen products to provide important nutrients. But too many of us are instead turning to ‘grazing’, which involves grabbing something to fill up on that’s quick, easy and often unhealthy.
“When it comes to snacking, Brits need to plan ahead so that they’re not caught short in a moment of hunger and think about products which are high in protein so will keep them fuller for longer, helping to resist further temptation.”
Additionally, the findings showed:
• Scotland is the unhealthiest snacking region in the UK (with a ranking of 45%)
• London tops the healthy regional snack league table, with results of 17%
• Poland is the mecca of snacking; its inhabitants eat more snacks – an average of 2.2 a day – with the people of
France the most snack-averse at an average of just 1.4.
• Most popular time to snack in the UK is 3.04pm, potentially signalling a ‘mid afternoon slump’ and desire for
something to eat.
• However, nearly a third (32%) of Brits snack after 6pm, highlighting that these people may be choosing evening
meals that don’t fill them up properly.