UNITED STATES—Snacks, you got to love them, but at the same time you have to hate them. There is not a single person in America who can tell me right now that they do not like to snack. If they were to say so I would immediately know they are lying. Even I’m guilty of snacking between meals, which most of us do to crave that hunger feeling that we get before having that next big meal. The question we have to ask ourselves is rather we’re snacking too much and what we’re snacking on.

I am a firm proponent that you should have at least 3 meals a day: breakfast, lunch and dinner. For most Americans, we skip one of the three. As a result we either have a heavy breakfast or a hefty lunch or a massive dinner depending on the meal that was skipped. That can be quite problematic as it causes us to overeat, which is never a good thing.

So how to you prevent that? You snack, and you should do it I would argue every two hours. Listen to me for a moment before you start jumping down my throat. When I say every two hours, I’m referring to meals. You eat breakfast at 7, you might want a snack by 9, which should hold you over until lunch at 11, another snack at 1, another snack at 3 and by 5 or 6 p.m. you’re ready for dinner. You’ll likely have another snack before bedtime as well.

The big question is what are you snacking on? Of course, so many of us would like to snack on healthy items, but for some of us it’s not a reality: we just don’t want to eat anything healthy! However, we need to make it a priority. Eating salty and sweet items or things loaded with calories, sugar, carbohydrates or fats are bad for us in the long run.

I mean I’ve recently started to fight temptation to grab that cookie or a bag of potato chips, and chose to grab a piece of fruit or a carrot stick. Why? I can eat a natural sugar and not feel so bad about it or better yet, eat multiple sticks of celery, carrots or cucumbers, satisfy my craving and actually have something healthy in the long run. Temptation is the hardest thing for most people, because you have to mentally psych out your brain to teach yourself that what you want is not what you really want.

It also helps to not have those not so healthy snacks in the cabinets or in the fridge. Remember out of sight out of mind; if you don’t see it, you’re not likely to think about it. I mean my 6 year-old niece has better snacking habits than I do. I mean this girl loves veggies, tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, the things I should be eating more of; she cannot get enough of it.

Remember the goal is NOT to get full when you snack; it’s just to crave that feeling of hunger until your next big meal. So many of us turn snacking into meal time and as a result we indulge a lot more than what we should.

Written By Kelsey Thomas