Girl works at a computer and eats fast food. Unhealthy food: chips, crackers, candy, waffles, cola. Junk food, concept.

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NEW YORK — Americans are so snack-happy that seven in 10 have a treat with them at all times, according to a new study.

According to a recent poll of 2,000 people, 69 percent admit that they always bring some kind of snack with them when they’re on the go.

At least three times a week, over 51 percent will even fill up on snack food instead of preparing a balanced meal for themselves — but not necessarily healthy ones. In fact, six out of 10 people also confess that their first choice of snack is a sugar or salt-laden one, with the most popular choices being potato chips (56%), chocolate (55%), and candy (45%).

Desire for healthier snacking

SnacksConducted by OnePoll on behalf of Go Raw, researchers also asked respondents about their desire to eat healthier snacks. Over 53 percent would swap out their favorite unhealthy option for a healthier one if there were more options available at a similar price point.

“Healthy snacking shouldn’t be hard — but this data shows that for Americans, snacking isn’t always the healthy option, even though it easily could be,” says Go Raw CEO Tim Prager in a statement.

Respondents shared some pretty clear answers for what they consider healthy. Seven in 10 believe protein is important for maintaining a healthy diet, more than any other nutrient.

High-protein vs. low-carb foods

SnacksAlmost half the poll (45%) believe that plant-based foods can be just as rich in protein as meat-based ones, compared to 21 percent who think the opposite.

However, only 17 percent of respondents deliberately seek out snacks with high levels of protein as a priority when they’re in a rush, instead prioritizing convenience (47%). Although 36 percent believe that high-protein snacks are often more healthy, people were more likely to point to low-carb foods as the healthiest option (38%).

Food allergies are also a concern for many people; almost half of respondents know someone with an intolerance to peanuts (20%), gluten (13%), or tree nuts (12%), and have to watch out for these allergens when they’re buying snacks.

“It might seem hard to find plant-based snacking options, but there are a lot of high-protein, nut-free and even gluten-free options out there if you know what to look for,” adds Prager. “Pumpkin or sunflower seeds are especially great options, as they have high levels of protein and zero allergens.”

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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