Is Snacking Between Meals Good For You?
Like anything on the internet when it comes to diet, there is a lot of conflicting information out there when it comes to snacking. There is a camp that encourages people to get up to 8 times daily while others encourage intermittent fasting to achieve your health goals. But what is the truth? In this article, we will go through snacking so you can get a better picture of whether this tactic will be right for you if you’re trying to improve your health.
Defining Snacking and Why People Snack
When we’re talking about snacking we are usually referring to having a small amount of food between meals throughout the day. People usually do this for a variety of reasons, maybe they are trying to eat a certain amount of calories, some might just feel peckish and others might be tempted to go for that chocolate bar at the convenience store.
No matter what your frequency for snacking is or what you’re consuming, it’s important to determine the reason and outcome you want before deciding if you should snack throughout the day. Whether you’re eating fruits and nuts or the best beef jerky in town you’ll need to decide your goals and ambitions first.
Nutrition and Snacking
Before getting any further we should point out the obvious. Not all snacks are created equal and if you’re eating sweets and potato chips throughout the day then this will not only have a detriment on your health but you’ll also gain unnecessary kilograms. When you’re peckish throughout the day ensure that you look at unprocessed and natural foods that have higher nutritional content.
Some good types of snacks include nuts, fruits, eggs and even smoothies. This will usually be enough to satisfy the hunger pangs and even give you more energy throughout the day. This is the first step to snacking more healthily if you’re wanting to look after yourself.
Advantages and Disadvantages Depending on Goals
Let’s take a look at the reasons why many people snack and the goals you might have before determining if snacking is healthy for your situation. Don’t get too caught up in the one-size fits all approach and remember to consult a physician before changing your diet.
Snacking for Weight Loss
If your goal is losing weight then you can use snacking between meals but you’ll have to have an understanding of your overall caloric intake and expenditure. The advantage of taking infrequent snacks is that it helps your body digest food better and stave off cravings. You will then likely eat smaller meals for lunch and dinner as you’re maintaining satisfaction throughout the day.
That being said, many people who have lost weight also use methods such as intermittent fasting and this is counterintuitive to daily snacking. The benefits of fasting for fat loss are well known, as the body relies on stored body fat as a source of energy rather than the food you consume. So depending on your individual approach, you might want to snack to keep those cravings away or fast to help tune your body to use fat for fuel.
Snacking for Muscle Gain
Snacking is a massive part if you’re looking to put on weight in the gym and need to get those extra calories. It is a great way to ensure you’re constantly anabolic and rebuilding the body consistently. Many people who train hard might put their bodies through too much stress which makes them unable to repair and recover. If you’re struggling to eat enough during your main meals then snacking is a great strategy.
Snacking for Mental Performance and Energy
If you’re busy throughout the day and need that little boost of energy then some consistent snacking might help. Those working in high-paced environments can often feel energy levels drop, crash and burn because they simply are burning the candle at both ends. This is the same for athletic performance.
Those who need a quick boost might find that eating some healthy and quickly digestible carbohydrates in the form of fruit could help. Having these on hand throughout the day is a good strategy to ensure you’re always at peak performance.
There is no one-size-fits-all for nutrition and diet but in terms of snacking, there is definitely a healthy way and unhealthy way to snack. If you’re eating strategy is suited to your goals and you’re sticking to moderate amounts of high-quality and unprocessed foods then you shouldn’t have any issues getting to perfect health. Just remember to keep consistent and if you fall off track don’t be too hard on yourself.