Majority of Americans no longer eat three meals a day

“You are what you snack. Snacks can be a healthy addition to our meals or they can be what ruins our diets.”

More of us are ditching the three-meals-a-day structured plan for the wilds of snack grazing. A new survey, conducted by OnePoll in partnership with Farm Rich, finds that only 27% of Americans are still eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a day.

Out of the 2,000 Americans surveyed, 86 percent said that they had replaced a traditional meal with a “snack meal.” The most common meal to get dropped in favor of a snack? Lunch. Almost half —49%— of Americans said this was the mealtime they chose to replace with snacking.

Why we love snacking

Being busy, having an untraditional schedule, wanting more variety of food, and impatience with prepping meals were among the top factors for why Americans were ditching three full meals for more snacks. The majority of Americans were snacking at home, while 31% were snacking at their jobs.

Snacks can be more portable than a full-on meal, which may explain their rising popularity among busy workers. You can eat them with one hand. You can neatly pack them away without worrying about lettuce and tomatoes flying everywhere. Participants said they were eating, on average, four snacks on the go each week.

You are what you snack. Snacks can be a healthy addition to our meals or they can be what ruins our diets. The snacks available at your office are likely to determine your overall diet, one study found. If your office offers sugary candies at all hours, your diet may pay the price.

In this way, it is important to recognize that snacking is not always in our control. The impulse to snack may be part of our office culture. We are more tempted to snack when we see other people snacking around us. One study found that participants ate snacks around other snackers even when they had set healthy intentions. If you see a coworker munch on a bag of chips, you are more likely to get up and get a bag of chips of your own. So when you want to munch on snacks in between a jam-packed work day, take a moment to realize if you are snacking because you want to and are genuinely hungry, or if you are doing it because you are bored.

Monica Torres|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at mtorres@theladders.com.