People are designed to eat every 3-4 hours. When you go more than 4 hours without eating, you tend to get overly hungry. When you get really hungry, you’re more likely to overeat. You’re also most likely to crave “junk food.” Snacks keep your hunger in check, however not all snacks are created equal.
(also published on the Cambridge Health Alliance Blog)
What is a snack?
The snack "formula"
STEP 1: Start with a fruit or a grain for fast energy. Be careful filling up on starch (cereal, crackers, cookies, chips, etc). While these foods taste amazing, it takes a large portion to fill your stomach. They are also digested quickly, so you’ll be hungry soon! Enjoy them in small portions along with a fruit/vegetable + protein / fat combo
STEP 2: Add a healthy fat (avocado, nuts, seeds, tuna) and/or protein (eggs, chicken, turkey, yogurt, cottage cheese) to keep hunger controlled until the next time you get to eat.
STEP 3: “Fill up” on vegetables. However, vegetables alone won’t keep you full for long because they are digested within an hour.
There is no “right” number of meals and snacks to have in a day. The need for a snack depends on the length of your day and timing of your meals. Most people eat 3 meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner). They may have a snack in the morning and/or after noon if there are 4 or more hours between meals.
DISCLAIMER: The information presented here is meant to be for general education. If you want individual guidance to reach your unique health goals, please contact me or a local dietitian directly
Dietitian, personal trainer, mother, wife, runner, and triathlete staying healthy one bit and bite at a time