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You know you like them.  Everyone wants some.  When your craving hits and you don’t have the cash or the time, the snack is king (or queen) of convenience foods.  It’s easy to get excited about snacks!  What else can increase your instantaneous enjoyment level with minimum expenditure other than a brief clash with a guilty pleasure? 

Food is a fact of life.  It’s one of the primary needs we must fulfill before moving onto higher goals (like art and gambling, for instance).  However, with the fast-paced lifestyle in our modern culture, the dominance of snack foods is now complete.  Sure, 3 square meals will fix anyone good, but what if you don’t have time?

Time is a crucial factor that shifts the balance toward snacks.  If you’re on the go or need to keep working while you eat, a snack is easy to handle compared to a real meal.  Many snacks even fit into Ziploc bags, making them portable for work or school.   There’s also the convenience factor.  You won’t have to wait to buy a snack because they’re available in any store that sells foodstuffs.  To sweeten the deal (pardon the pun) a snack is relatively cheap and acts as a delay against the onslaught of your hunger.

Snacks have been enjoyed throughout the history of humankind.  From the first berry-pickers we have evolved the tradition of small, portable, and tasty foods.  They’re never designed to fill you up or provide loads of nutrition.  Like I said, it’s all in delaying the inevitable.

In the last decade or so, there has been a decided shift in mentality when it comes to snack foods.  Traditional snacks of the last 50 years have been heavy in sugars or fats, or a combination of both.  An entire generation of snack eaters has coped with health problems ranging from eating disorders to obesity.  A new emphasis on healthy snacks and low-carb snacks has now fueled a revolution in the snack food industry.  There are now healthy alternatives to the most popular of snacks out there.

Anyone who’s stood in the snack section of their local convenience store has probably been somewhat bedazzled by the selection of snacks.  Let’s face it, there is a seemingly infinite variety of snacks in all flavors, shapes, and states of matter.  On one hand, there are the sweets.  Undoubtedly, the ruler of the sweet realm of snack foods is the chocolate bar.  Its minions include candies, gums, and other sugary confections.  On the other hand, there are the salts.  This is where the potato really shows off its versatility.  Deep-fried is the name of the game and chips are the reigning champions.  Healthier alternatives include popcorn and rice cakes.

Regardless of whether you have a favorite kind of snack, chances are you’ve had one in the last 24 hours.  Life would be boring without a bit of snacking here and there.  Just remember to watch out for cavities!