In late May, the XI scientific and practical conference “Modern Aspects of Rational Nutrition” was held in Kyiv, supported by New Products Group and EatMe™. Among the issues raised at the forum was one very relevant subject: “Snacking – advantages and disadvantages”. That was the topic of the report given by the chief nutritionist of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, the president of the Nutritionists Association of Ukraine Oleg Shvets.
The nutritionist cited the data of a large study conducted recently in 10 European countries. According to this data, the proportion of snacks in the daily calorie intake in the diet of Europeans is between 15 and 30%, depending on the region. 15% (this is the approximate calorific value of breakfast) is a figure relevant to the south of Europe, the Mediterranean countries, where the traditions of lunch/dinner in restaurants still exist. But in the countries of central and northern Europe, the share of snacks is already about 30% of daily calories (this is more than a lunch).
Europe is the biggest consumer of snacks in the world. The global snack market is steadily growing in all categories: grain, meat, nut-based… It is expected that by 2020, the global snack sales will exceed $630 billion.
“Nowadays people live at such a fast pace that nutritious, delicious and convenient food that can be quickly eaten gets the attention of the consumers. Snacks is a group of products ready for consumption. But do we include such products when we talk about healthy nutrition?” – asks Oleg Vitalevich.
The place of snacks in the food pyramid or on a “healthy plate” depends heavily on their nutritional value (optimally, high nutritional value with a moderate energetic value), when they are consumed, how much a person spends on eating them and whether they are aware of eating them. The latter aspect is even called a complicating factor for objective research. After all, a person often says that they eat two or three times a day, forgetting that between the main meals there were a few more drinks and snacks. In this case, the daily energy value of food due to snacks is not redistributed between meals, but simply increases. Accordingly, such a person is at risk of weight gain.
So how can you make snacks good for you?
First, make snacks a planned part of the diet, and do not snack spontaneously. (An important detail: drinks – especially those containing sugar, cream, etc. – are also a source of energy, and therefore we also consider them “snacks”).
Secondly, it is important to choose snacks that have the optimal balance of calorie and nutritional value.
As an example of an optimal snack for adults and children from age 3, the report cited natural and nutritious bars EatMe™, which two years ago were approved by the Nutritionists Association of Ukraine. They contain only natural berries, nuts and dried fruit, while not containing any colouring agents and preservatives, and the EatMe™ “Monkey” bar does not even contain sugar, which was made possible by using rice paper instead of a glaze.