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A snack is a portion of food often smaller than a regular meal, generally eaten between meals. Snacks come in a variety of forms including packaged and processed foods and items made from fresh ingredients at home.
Traditionally, snacks are prepared from ingredients commonly available in the home. Often leftovers, cold cuts sandwiches, nuts, fruit, and the like are used as snacks. The Dagwood sandwich was originally the humorous result of a cartoon character's desire for large snacks. Beverages, such as coffee, are not generally considered snacks though they may be consumed along with snack foods. A beverage may be considered a snack if it possesses a substantive food item (e.g., strawberries, bananas, kiwis that has been blended to create a smoothie).
Plain snacks like plain cereals, pasta, and vegetables are also mildly popular, and the word snack has often been used to refer to a larger meal involving cooked or leftover items. Six-meal eating is a form of eating that incorporates healthy snacks in between small meals, to stave off hunger and promote weight loss.
With the spread of convenience stores, packaged snack foods became a significant business. Snack foods are typically designed to be portable, quick, and satisfying. Processed snack foods are designed to be less perishable, more durable, and more portable than prepared foods. They often contain substantial amounts of sweeteners, preservatives, and appealing ingredients such as chocolate, peanuts, and specially-designed flavors (such as flavored potato chips). A snack eaten shortly before going to bed or during the night may be called a midnight snack.
Snack foods are often subjectively classified as junk food because they typically have little or no nutritional value, and are not seen as contributing towards general health and nutrition. With growing concerns for diet, weight control and general health, government bodies like Health Canada are recommending that people make a conscious effort to eat more healthy, natural snacks – such as fruit, vegetables, nuts and cereal grains – while avoiding high-calorie, low-nutrient junk food.
A 2010 study showed that children in the United States snacked on average six times per day, approximately twice as often as American children in the 1970s.
Dieting and exercise have been a major trend for the last three decades although past years have focused on healthy snacks for weight loss through dietary supplements and flat. Fewer people are eliminating whole categories from their diet strategy plan programs and focusing on taking the right foods for weight-loss.
Types of snack foods
- Apple slices
- Bagel with cream cheese
- Bread/toast with butter, honey, jam, or other spread
- Candy bar
- Carrot Chips
- Cheese puffs/Cheese curls
- Cheese, a larger cold prepared snack
- Chocolate-coated marshmallow treats
- Corn chips and Tortilla chips
- Cocktail sausages
- Deviled Eggs
- Dried fruits
- Drinkable yogurt
- Edamame, fresh or dried
- Granola bars
- Flour tortilla with a filling
- Frozen berries
- Sliced fruit
- Fruit cocktail
- Fruit salad
- Ice cream
- Instant noodles
- Pound cake, in slices
- Mixed nuts
- Parsnip Bits
- Pita bread, straight from the packet or toasted
- Pork pie
- Pork rinds
- Potato chips
- Pretzels, hard or Soft pretzels
- Ratatouille, served cold, a larger cold prepared snack
- Rice cake
- Rice crackers, distinguished from the above
- Sandwich, a larger cold prepared snack
- Seeds (sunflower or seed mix)
- Smoked salmon
- Trail mix
- Vegetables (e.g. carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes)
- Whole fruit
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