Welcome to Week 8 of the ten-week New Year Health Challenge, courtesy of Christine Kling of Body Basics LLC in Boise ID.
Though eating 5-6 meals a day may not save you calories (versus eating 3), but snacking or smaller meals is beneficial for other reasons.
The reasons you should snack
Increase intake of vitamins and minerals. Choosing healthy snack options throughout the day can add to your vitamin and mineral intake which tend to be deficient in today’s typical diet. For instance, the nutrients found in an apple and a handful of nuts tremendously improve your brain function and health. The peel of the apple includes a powerful antioxidant to enhance memory function, and nuts contain high levels of essential fatty acids to help your brain perform optimally.
Stabilize blood sugar levels. Snacking stabilizes blood sugar levels, which in return supports weight loss by not overeating or eating an impulsive, unhealthy option. You tend to eat more of something less healthy when you’re starving, which happens to be when your blood sugar is low (i.e. at the end of they workday).
Fuel your body before a workout. Prior to a workout, if inadequate blood sugar is available, your body will convert your own muscle tissue into energy. We’re supposed to be building muscle not eating it away! Grabbing something small to eat 45 minutes to 1 hour before a workout will give you more energy and endurance, help you to burn more calories and improve your muscle tone.
Aid in muscle recovery. Fluids and carbohydrates are the two most important fuels your body needs. Protein is also needed after high-intensity interval training or strength training because protein helps with muscle recovery. Getting these nutrients into your body within 30 minutes of exercising enables your body to do the most with them.
How to snack more healthfully
Prepare ahead of time and break the binge-eating cycle. Think about how often your body gets hungry throughout the day and plan a snack for those times.
Bring some healthy snacks along with you to work or when you’re out-and-about to avoid buying something (less healthy) impulsively.
Clear your cupboards of unhealthy snack options and replace them with good ones. Your home should be a place of rest and peace, not constant temptation and guilt.
Be careful what you choose to feed your body because it can determine if exercise gives you energy afterwards or slows you down.
Some snack ideas to get you started
Below are some ideas for you and your family snacking the healthy way:
- Plain yogurt w/ agave and berries
- Canned tuna on 1 slice of a whole week bread with seeds
- Apple and handful of nuts
- Brown rice cracker with nut butter and drizzle of honey
- Smoothie or protein shake
- Hummus with raw veggies and crackers
- Cottage cheese with avocado, halved cherry tomatoes, salt and pepper
- Half a sandwich
- Selective energy bars: Jete Bars, KIND Strong Bars, Kit’s Organic Bars, etc.
For every day you eat a snack 45 minutes to 1 hour before exercising OR eat a snack 30 min to an hour afterward — you get a point! You also get points each day if you drink enough water, sleep enough and cut out the sugar, exercise, eat a balanced breakfast, skip the alcohol and meditate.
Total amount of points possible at end of week is 56.
Click here for Challenge Log.
Christine Kling is co-owner of Body Basics and privileged to share the business with her husband, James. Her passion for health and fitness began as a teen playing sports (basketball and tennis) and dancing, which led her to become a personal trainer and group exercise instructor at the age of 17. Struggling with a thyroid disorder and adrenal fatigue from Hashimoto’s auto-immune disorder also increased her love for helping people in the area of nutrition. She has experienced first-hand how diet and exercise can beat the odds! Youth Fitness, Pre-natal/Post-natal Fitness, Senior Fitness, Mat Sciences, and Indoor Cycling have been her areas of continued study and experience. A favorite quote of hers is “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you!”
Photo courtesy of FitDay.