How many times a day do you eat? There’s been a significant shift in the last generation away from three square meals a day, to more frequent eating. In part this is driven by the changes in the availability of food and in part by our own preferences. We are so often rushing through meals that you may find yourself grabbing smaller snacks more often through the day, rather than taking the time out to eat a more substantial meal. It may simply be that seeing food around us encourages us to eat more often. In today’s world we rarely go hungry. At the first pang of hunger food is never far away and we can choose to eat.
There is little doubt that this is contributing to our escalating problems with weight control. All of us on average have to make more than 200 decisions about food every day; whether to eat the food offered or advertised, what to choose and how much of the food to eat. With food being relatively affordable, always available and (most of it) highly palatable we love to eat, and eat we do! In a background of relative inactivity it’s no surprise that many of us are struggling with growing waistlines.
So what can we do? My recommendation is to put the brakes on snacking. Most of us benefit from having some structure to our eating. If you graze endlessly throughout the day you will probably find you eat a lot more than you realise, yet you never feel completely full and satisfied. My advice is to go back to the traditional three meals a day, and then use one or two snacks at the longest stretches between meals – and only have these when you are truly hungry and there is at least a couple of hours to go till mealtime. The other problem with snacks is they are often the salty, sugary or high kilojoule foods we know we should eat less of. It can be hard to find a good on-the-go snack. That’s why I love the new bars from Goodness Superfoods. They’re made from the CSIRO developed supergrain BARLEYmax™, which makes them unbeatable for fibre; one bar gives you 30% of your daily intake. They are low in kilojoules (532kJ per bar), low in sugar (3.8g per bar), low in salt and they have a low GI. They’re on the money for me. I always have one in my handbag and in my gym bag for those times I need something to keep me going to the next meal. Other nutritious snack options include fresh whole fruit, raw nuts and seeds, a yoghurt or a low fat milk based drink with no added sugar.
Be smart with your snacks!