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Snacking creates a lot of confusion for many, should you do it, how much, how often? The reason it is so confusing is because snacking and the need to or not is so individual, what one person does, doesn’t always mean it is best for the next. In reality the variation between each person and their choice of snacks, the amount of snacks and whether to snack at all comes down to a few things.
Why the difference? We all are different shapes and sizes, have different activity levels, different appetites, different schedules and different goals. All these things will impact on your need to snack and the amount of food you might need at your snacks. Essentially, there is no right or wrong when it comes to snacking but this article will help you determine your individual need for snacks.
There is no set rule to the number of meals or snacks you must eat each day. The most important thing is are you eating enough nutrients and calories to meet your needs and your goals. Some people can do this in 3 large meals, others prefer 3 meals and 2 snacks, while some even prefer 3 small meals and 3-4 snacks per day. There is no truth behind slowed metabolism if you don’t snack or speeding up your metabolism with snacks. So let’s look at your snack needs.
For those who are heavily active, who want to build muscle mass or those who are wanting to gain weight snacks are a great opportunity to boost your nutrition, increase your intake without feeling like you need to stuff yourself at your meals. If you fall into this category, you may wish to have 2-3 snacks at each snack time. Another great way to boost your intake without feeling overly full is to have a smoothie in addition to your snack, liquids make it easier to get in more without the heavy full feeling.
If you aren’t as active throughout the day, or your goals are more about losing body fat you certainly can still snack. In fact snacking may help control your appetite so you aren’t starving and overeating at meal times. Portion sizes here are the key aim to stick to one snack or one serving of the snack recipes, just enough to tide you over until your next delicious, filling meal. Remember here we do still want to be slightly hungry come meal time. A snack shouldn’t put you off your next meal.
If you are still unsure about what works best for you I generally recommend starting with 3 meals and 2 snacks per day. This provides you with a really even distribution of food over the day. Breakfast, Morning Snack, Lunch, Afternoon Snack and Dinner. Some people also prefer to tag their snack on to the end of a meal. For example they might have lunch then finish off with a piece of fruit as a little sweet something after.
Sometimes when it comes to snacking simple is best. The Keep it Cleaner recipes are ideal when you have them prepped and ready but if not you can still snack healthy. Below are some great easy snack ideas.