We've become a nation of grazers.  That's according to a report by the USDA Agriculture Research Service which finds 90 percent of us eat between meals and we eat twice the number of daily snacks that Americans ate 30 years ago.  While consistent snacking can have some benefits, it can also have some downfalls.

A recent study found that dieters who ate a mid-morning snack lost less weight than those who didn't have a snack.  The USDA says snacks provide about a third of the empty calories we eat in a day.  We've made it the norm to take advantage of every occasion to grab a snack whether we're hungry or not and we're teaching our children to do the same.  

In order to stay on the right track, experts suggest we follow certain guidelines:  snack in response to true hunger, plan ahead, make snacks count with nutrient-rich foods, watch your calories and eat regular, balanced meals.

Well-planned, healthy snacks can help you stay properly fueled throughout the day.  But, they can also sabotage our efforts to eat healthy and manage our weight if they aren't consumed properly.