Many dieticians recommend that the best way to stick to a healthy weight is to have three meals and one snack daily. Yet new statistics say almost half of Americans sneak in at least two snacks every day.

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) says 48 percent of us nosh between meals twice or more in any given day. That’s more than double the 25 percent of people who did it just two years ago. What’s more, experts predict that by 2015, sales of packaged snacks will reach more than $76 billion annually.

So what are we eating and when are we eating it? Here are some insights.

  • While workplace snacking is on the rise, seven out of every 10 snacks are eaten at home.
  • Three-quarters of us snack in the mid-afternoon, with four in 10 people munching during mid-morning, mid-evening and late at night.
  • Half of us want snacks that give us energy, which could be why foods like trail mix and hummus were the highest-grossing snacks last year.
  • More than half of consumers said their favorite snacks are those that tout no trans-fats or have other healthy attributes.
  • Three in 10 snacks consumed aren’t even food — they’re beverages.

[IFT]