To Snack or Not to Snack? That is the question…

Do you eat 3 solid square meals a day? Do you perhaps only eat 2 meals a day?

Or, do you eat 5 or 6 times with smaller meals?

There typically 2 camps when it comes to healthy eating. When I was growing up, it was ALWAYS 3 meals a day. I didn’t get many snacks (well of course the occasional Ho Ho or Ding Dong!), and as hungry as I could get I was always instructed to “wait until dinner” and not to “ruin my appetite”.

When I got older, and discovered the Zone diet, I began eating fewer carbs and eating more often. This worked like a charm! Instead of eating breakfast at 7:00, and be starving by 11, I would eat at 7, 10, 1, 5, and 8! My meals became smaller. I felt better, and I was rarely as hungry as I used to be.

Part of why this was working so well is that before, I would just wait to eat and I’d be so hungry that I’d eat 3 sandwiches or something. Of course, part of the problem was that I was eating way too many carbs, and they were not keeping me full. So switching to more protein and fat was a huge improvement.

Now that I’m eating more paleo, I do notice that I do not have as much need for snacking. However, I still don’t often have time to make and eat a big enough meal to keep me satisfied for 6 hours. So, I still snack here and there.

Example #1: I’m working on an article. It’s 11:45 a.m. My stomach is starting to growl. I know I will be finished with this article by 12:30, but I just need a little energy to be able to think clearly for that 45 minutes. So, I eat a handful of almonds and finish the article at 12:30, when I have lunch.

Example #2: I eat lunch at 12:30. I have a 40-minute workout planned for 5:30. I have a good sized paleo lunch, but by 5:30 I need a little more fuel to have the energy to get through my workout, otherwise, I will crash and burn. So eat some jerky, nuts, and a few berries around 4:30, which carry me through my workout and satiated until dinner.

I have friends who can go all day without eating. Great for them! I think this just shows how we are all built a little differently. If I skip breakfast, I will not be functioning very well until I can get food in me. If I skip lunch I will have a headache until I can eat.

Bigger meals do help, but healthy snacking can be a great way to make sure you have energy all day and are not tempted to overeat at any one sitting.

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