Snacking helps satisfy cravings in between meals. However, did you know there can also be health benefits when you correctly snack throughout the day? Our bodies are designed to process food in different ways depending upon our eating habits and the choices we make.
To start with, the number and size of your meals plays an important role in determining what the body uses for energy, how many calories it burns and what it stores away as fat. For instance, if you only eat a big dinner each day and skip breakfast and lunch, the body will tend to store more of the food away as fat, since it does not know when it can expect its next meal. Plus, eating late in the evening right before going to bed does not give the body sufficient time to digest the food and use it for energy. Thus, a large portion of it also gets stored away as fat.
As such, it is better to eat three balanced meals a day. Ideally, you should try to have a large breakfast, a medium sized lunch, and small dinner. Most of our food intake (including snacks) should occur throughout the day, not at the end of it. This way, the food we eat will be digested and used for energy and burn up the calories we consume.
Next, snacking helps us from over indulging and overeating come meal times. The right mix of snack foods can provide a good balance of nutrients and fuel to keep us energized. The iQ Snack Bar, an amenity provided to all on site iQ Members, features cranberries, sunflower seeds, almonds, pretzels and semi-sweet chocolate chips to keep you fueled and fulfilled.
When you combine snacking along with three meals a day, it is important to adjust your portions to avoid consuming too many calories. For example, start your day off with a breakfast fruit smoothie you can sip for several hours, along with a piece of toast and an egg. Two to three hours later enjoy a healthy mid-morning snack of some cranberries, almonds, or sunflower seeds.
For lunch, choose healthy proteins, fruits and vegetables, like a turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomatoes, along with some pretzels. Again, two to three hours after lunch, enjoy a mid-afternoon healthy snack, like some semi-sweet chocolate chips and cranberries. Come dinner time, you will not feel as hungry, so you will eat less in the evening. Additionally, make sure you stop eating and drinking anything, except water at least three hours before you go to bed.
The overall objective is to break our entire food consumption up into five or even six smaller portions throughout the day. When we eat smaller portions, our bodies are able to better digest the food and convert it into energy, rather than fat. Furthermore, your body will have a full feeling throughout the day so you will be less likely to overeat at meal times. Lastly, do not forget to drink plenty of water throughout the day to remain hydrated.