Most people think their parents, culture largely influence their snacking habits

NEW YORK — What did you inherit from your parents? Your mother’s smile? Your father’s hairline? New research reveals most people think they actually picked up their parents’ sweet tooth.

A new survey of 2,000 Americans finds 53 percent believe they have the same snacking habits as their parents. Respondents add food played an important role in their upbringing, with three in five saying their snacking habits have ties to their cultural heritage.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of California Prunes, the study also looked at how a family’s food influence extends to nearly every aspect of respondents’ lives.

Food traditions from youth stay with us

America's Snacking HabitsRespondents say holiday feasts (35%) and desserts and appetizers (30%) are the meals they loved most from their culture while growing up. Now, as adults, 34 percent of respondents serve the same foods at holidays and parties to their families and friends. Also, sitting down to eat with loved ones at the dinner table is a tradition many respondents say they still cherish.

Forty-one percent add they enjoyed family dinnertime during their childhood, and three in four parents now do the same with their families. As for what respondents loved to munch on as kids, cookies (37%), potato chips (32%), and popcorn (32%) top the list.

For over a third of the poll (37%), even eating a particular food a certain way traces back to their families as well as what types of snacks they bring on vacations and road trips (40%). While many respondents link their snacking habits to their families, more than half (52%) think they snack out of necessity because they don’t have consistent mealtimes. Another 59 percent admit snacks in their home are hard to resist.

Is it snack o’clock again?

America's Snacking HabitsConsequently, seven in 10 admit that their snacking schedule is not optimal for their health. Emotional tension has a link to snacking as well; 29 percent blame stress at home for their snacking habits and 22 percent blame stress at work.

“Snacking is here to stay, so it’s time to reset our habits and retrain our cravings. Think about snacks as mini meals – quick and delicious, but also nutritious,” says Leslie J. Bonci, MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN, in a statement. “Go for powerful pairings to get the most out of snacking occasions such as protein and produce: guacamole with bean-based chips, cheese and prunes, hummus and veggies, or a smoothie made with milk, yogurt, berries and prunes to add some great fiber.”

Another food inheritance 43 percent of respondents picked up is the foods they turn to when trying to eat healthier. When it comes to healthy snacks, 28 percent reach for fortified foods rich in vitamins and 21 percent look for snacks with probiotics.

Other food lessons that respondents plan on implementing include trying new foods, not wasting food, and focusing on the importance of eating as a family. Moreover, food helps keep families close, as nearly half (49%) of participants say they made a new recipe they found online with a family member during the pandemic.

“Food is a central part of the family experience, whether it’s sitting around a table to share meals each day or grabbing some snacks for a family hike,” Bonci adds.

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