Eating regularly is also thought to boost our metabolism, which in turns drives weight loss. This brings us to the subject of 'snacking', or the general idea of eating between meals. How often should we really be consuming food throughout the day? If frequent eating is thought to be beneficial, then can there really be too much of a good thing? Should we be trying to fit snacks into our daily routines every day? Is there anything wrong with allowing ourselves to get a little bit hungry?
Here’s what we found:
- Eating smaller, more regular meals throughout the day can prevent us from getting too hungry and over-eating
- Many people find regular food intake helps to stabilise their blood sugar, preventing their energy levels from plummeting mid afternoon.
- More mealtimes may mean a greater chance to meet our daily target protein intake - which we need to maximise for optimal health.
- Proper snacking will encourage regular food planning and preparation - a good habit to develop!
- Often people eat out of habit, and not genuine hunger.
- Incorrect meal densities may contribute to accidental over-intake of food each day.
- If not prepared, poor quality commercial snack foods may be too readily relied upon.
- We tend to jump into panic mode at the first signs of hunger - when really, allowing ourselves to go hungry on occasion, a little longer without food is not detrimental to our health in the grand scheme of things!
If your main goal is weight loss, then sensible snacking (up to 2 per day) helps increase satiety and over-indulging. listen to your body and only snack if you are hungry, and make sure you are always well-hydrated as often thirst can be mistaken for hunger. It will ensure you retain lean muscle while shedding fat mass.
Good snacks for weight loss include:
- high fibre foods (fruits, vegetables, legumes, lentils)
- high protein foods (both animal and plant bases, yoghurt, nuts, ham, turkey)
- avoid refined carb-rich foods such as white rice/bread and bars as they wreak havoc on blood sugar as well as sugar-fill foods and beverages
The right style of snacking really comes down to what works best for your body, health goals and lifestyle, as there is no one-fits-all solution. Above all else, we should aim to eat mindfully, and attentively overall, fuelling our bodies accordingly.