2012-08-01 / Health

Eat early & eat often

Lose weight by eating more frequently? Yes, here’s how
By Bev Bennett
CTW Features

How often do you snack? Once a day? Twice? At least twice a day is the magic number for nearly half the population.That’s according to a recent article in Food Technology magazine, published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), Chicago.

The figure is double the 2010 rates, according to the data.

Although snacking has a bad reputation, it can add valuable nutrients to your day, improving your health and wellbeing.

In fact, to prevent a mid-afternoon crash, having smaller, more frequent food breaks is preferable to eating three large meals a day, according to Virginia Turner, registered dietitian, clinical nutrition manager,The University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville.

Of course, your non-meal eating habits could pile on calories, fat and sodium, if your snacks consist of chips, candy and cookies.

The foods you choose and how much you eat make all the difference, say health professionals.

To get the most nutritional benefits from snacks, take a look at your eating habits and see if there are any shortfalls. You can make up for these in snacks, says Mary Ellen Camire, IFT spokesperson, professor of food science and nutrition, University of Maine, Orono.

She asks,“What do I have trouble getting into my diet normally? Is it whole grains, more fruit, more fiber?”

For example, dairy intake is a concern, so Camire brings yogurt for a morning snack and string cheese for the afternoon at work.

Nutritious snacks can also help you overcome mid-day slumps. Include protein foods, which have a stabilizing effect on blood sugar.

Options include yogurt, string cheese or small amounts of nuts, according to Turner, who advises keeping snacks to 200 calories or less.

If you prefer the convenience of store-bought snacks, the health experts recommend granola bars that aren’t chocolate-coated, dried fruits that aren’t heavily sweetened or hummus with precut vegetables.

If you prefer to make your own, the Healthy Living Kitchen at The University of Tennessee Medical Center offers a great recipe for trail mix: http://www.utmedicalcenter.org/recipes /162/trail-mix/

Measure the mix into individual portions in small sandwich bags for work, Turner says.

© CTW Features

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