We have all heard the advice to eat more frequent meals, eat smaller meals, and to snack more often, but why have we heard so much about this theory, and what benefits can be gained from snacking more and eating less?
Snacking more can offer several benefits to people who are looking to get healthier, build muscle, or lose weight. Snacking can encourage you to eat less, it helps you to eat more healthy foods, it helps with portion control and portion sizing of food, and it can help you maintain your energy levels and preserve your muscle mass.
Snacking helps you to eat less
While eating more snacks may sound like the last thing that can help you eat less throughout the day, it actually can greatly help your progress in portion control and the amount of food that you eat. When we get super hungry, not only are we more likely to eat unhealthy foods, but we are more likely to eat more.
When our stomachs get empty, we often become desperate and the only thing we can think of is when we are going to eat next and how much we are going to eat in one sitting. Snacking helps prevent us from becoming famished, and in doing so, decreases the chances that we will overeat. It takes a little bit of time for our bodies to process what we eat before we start feeling full, so when we allow ourselves to become ravenous animals seeking out anything to eat, we will often eat at a rapid pace that leaves us stuffed, before we have a chance to slow down.
Snacks keep you with a little bit in your stomach at all times, and that helps prevent you from gorging.
Snacking helps you eat healthier foods and make better choices
Just like getting too hungry can make you more likely to overeat, it can also make you more likely to eat unhealthy foods. Unhealthy foods usually sound the best when you are starving, and that’s when that craving to eat candy and sweets usually kicks in.
When you make sure to take along healthy snacks throughout the day, your body will crave unhealthy foods less, and it will also encourage you to eat the healthy foods that you prepared rather than something less healthy.
Nuts, fresh fruit, protein bars, dairy, and raw vegetables are all awesome choices that will help you set good habits of eating healthy foods all while avoiding those moments of weakness that coming from allowing yourself to get too hungry.
Snacking helps you maintain your energy levels throughout the day
If you have ever stopped to notice your energy levels throughout the day, you will probably notice that your energy levels are highest right before eating and lowest right after eating; that is because eating and digesting food requires energy and blood flow that will ultimately drain your overall energy.
Large meals especially drain your energy levels and leave you feeling groggy and sluggish. Many people report having a huge energy drain around 1-2 pm right after their lunch break, and a big reason for this lies in the large lunch time meals that come just slightly before this time frame.
Smaller meals are less taxing on the body, they weigh you down less, and they offer smaller amounts of steady energy throughout the day much more consistently than eating large portions 1-3 times per day.
Snacking helps protect your muscle mass
Snacks with adequate amounts of protein throughout the day (10-30 grams of protein each) helps to preserve your muscle mass as you go throughout your days. Your body is constantly seeking out protein to go on living, and when protein is not present from the food we eat, our bodies will look to the muscles themselves to get the protein that we need to perform and repair our bodies.
Snacks with enough protein will ensure that our bodies have enough protein coming in so that our muscles will be spared and also have extra protein to repair themselves, this is especially important if you are working out regularly like you should be!
Overall, snacking can offer a lot of benefits for your health. While there may be little evidence to suggest that your metabolism is increased from eating frequent meals (as many people claim is the case), there are still certainly benefits that come from making several small snacks per day part of your health plan.
Regular snacking can help you keep hunger levels from getting too high which prevents overeating and eating unhealthy foods, it helps keep your energy levels more stable throughout the day, and it can help protect your muscle.
What kind of snacks do you like to eat each day, or are you looking for some awesome healthy snacks that you can make a part of your own health plan? Leave a comment below or send me a message I would love to help you out!