Snacking – we all do it. How do you control it? Why should you? The New England Journal of Medicine reported that in the past decade, the average American annual weight gain was 5 lbs for men and 8 lbs for women. We all experience weight gain at some point or another due to poor eating habits. Here’s the breakdown and how easily it can happen. Let’s take the example of a mere 5 lb annual weight gain. At 3500 calories per pound, that’s a total 17,500 additional calories or about 335 calories a week more than your body requires. With the average snack coming in at 110 calories, you can see that only 3 snacks during the week can put you over the top. That’s not even taking into consideration the type of calories you eat outside of your snacks and whether you’re eating too many calories during meals. Most snack food is a combination of salt, sugar, and fat. Real food, unprocessed food, is seldom a combination of any of those. Therefore your body can process and work on that food efficiently. Your body’s sugar absorption from fruit is slowed by the fiber in the fruit. Same thing about the fat in meat. In both circumstances, your liver has time to process the sugar or fat because it doesn’t slam your system all at once. Unlike, a 16 ounce egg nog from the convenience store my friend so proudly posted on Facebook the other day. 46 grams of sugar and 18 grams of fat all in one sitting, and no fiber to slow its absorption. Oh, and a bag of Doritos is a whole other discussion. What are the options? Even by eating paleo snacks like fruit, dried fruit, and nuts, you can still over do it. One thing that has helped me control snacking is pre-portioning my snacks in zip lock bags to prevent over eating. Add your snack calories into your daily intake so that the count doesn’t go overboard. Limit your snacking to a specific day so that you don’t get in the habit of doing it all the time. Avoid snacking in the car or at work or every night in front of the television, places where you find yourself often. In the 40 days between Thanksgiving and New Years Day, it’s easy to over do it. Please be conscious of what you eat all the time. Hold yourself accountable for healthier choices! And don’t think working out can counter a piece of holiday pie. Unless you’re running 7 miles, you won’t burn enough calories to combat a decadent dessert. Set some goals now before it’s too late!