Eating the standard 3 meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) is no longer effective when it comes to maintaining a healthy daily diet. While the transition to eating 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day takes some getting used to, this new version is ideal for producing a faster metabolism that burns calories around the clock. Another perk to this eating routine is the fact that it prevents overeating in one sitting. What makes the 5-6 small meals routine work is the healthy snacking in between the major meals.
Snacking is usually seen as a bad thing but not if you’re eating the right snack foods. Common sense tells us that chowing down on potato chips, candy, sweets and other junk foods in between major meals is a no-no. Although these foods do curb hunger pangs, it also introduces more sugar and other unwanted junk into your body, which does nothing for your metabolism and health overall. The strategy to smart and healthy snacking is to choose food items that satisfy your munchies but also provides your body with vitamins and minerals for a good type of energy that will help you carry on the rest of your day until your next meal. Snacking on junk food only leads to a temporary energy boost, followed by an unavoidable “crash”, that’ll leave you feeling sluggish and full of unwanted calories.
Trail mix is always a favorite type of snack food. Of course it’s important that your trail mix contains the right types of food items. Do-it-yourself folks will have a fun time creating their own homemade trail mix. All that’s needed is 1/2 cup of your favorite cereal (make sure it’s whole grain) and a handful of your favorite nuts and dried fruit. Toss these ingredients together in a plastic baggie and you’re good to go.
Can’t stand how hungry you feel between lunch and dinner? Turn to yogurt. With a sprinkling of fresh fruit, you can enjoy a naturally sweet and protein-rich snack food that will leave you satisfied for the next few hours. Or you can keep it simple by munching on freshly sliced fruit of your choosing. You’ll be surprised by how full you’ll feel after just a few bites into a fresh peach, apple or pear. A handful of raspberries, cherries and blueberries are also great choices. For those with a sweet tooth, replacing sugary desserts with fresh fruit is another great way of indulging in delicious food in a way that won’t set back your weight loss or weight management goals.
Did you know your healthy snack foods can also include beverages? It’s true! Step away from the energy drinks and coffee and instead learn how to reach for a cup of hot chocolate, paired with skim or almond milk. Hot chocolate will keep your stomach full (in a good way) and give you just the right amount of sugar, without a load full of calories. Drinking chamomile or green tea is another ideal beverage that can replace any junk snack foods you may be used to indulging in. Decreasing the amount of daily caffeine you consume will also put your health back on track and prevent any crashes or jitters that too much caffeine tends to create.