Diet tips to help you continually burn fat throughout the day.
It’s 3pm, you’re staring at the clock. Again. Lunch was 3 hours ago, dinner is in the very distant future, and in between is a scrimmage, a presentation or maybe even more staring at the clock, g-chatting, and re-checking facebook. The only way to avoid the mid-afternoon energy crash, and to keep burning fat, is to be prepared. So, dig in to those pre-school roots and add in a little snack time! After all, even Lil Wayne, role model extraordinaire (sans that whole jail thing and affinity for getting “crunk”) recognizes the importance of proper rest and an adequately healthy diet…
"Now gon' take a nap man, it's nap time /
I'll holla back at you at snack time"
Why thank you, Weezy. So the standard three meals a day (or, god-forbid, 1 meal a day fad diets) is a thing of the past, with researchers finding that our bodies function optimally when our blood sugar doesn't have the chance to drop. By snacking between meals - especially during that long stretch from lunch to dinner- you won't fall victim to the feeling of deprivation- which means you’re more likely to make healthy decisions come meal time and not based on your growling stomach.
Our brains and bodies function on carbohydrates; we use them for energy, which is why, during the day, carbs are important. But all carbs and sugars are not created equal. Athlete or non-athlete, it’s important that you skip sugary treats like soda and cookies for whole grain options with fiber like whole wheat bread and oatmeal to prevents spikes in blood sugar (and temporary energy), followed by a massive crash (and exhaustion). Protein helps with the growth and maintenance of your muscles, tissues, blood and bones– and some amino acids help with concentration and alertness. Fats during snack time will help you feel full, and provide essential nutrients, including the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
The concept of 6 mini meals - or "grazing" every 2-3 hrs throughout the day is considered ideal by body builders and athletes and many weight loss specialists all over the internet. You’ll find great meal plans based on the 6-meal idea provided by a Registered Dietitian at OneResult here. And if that fits into your schedule and works for you, that’s awesome. It definitely can be successful for weight gain, maintenance or fat loss if you’re the type of person who can practice great portion control, and have the time and energy.
For the majority of us working or studying folk, eating that many small frequent meals may not be realistic. How likely is it that you can check your watch in the middle of an exam or presentation and take a break for a mini meal? One day we’ll be self employed, making bank, and eating whenever we want, but until then, it’s not the only way to lose fat or add muscle.
Research has found that eating 3 larger meals at your standard breakfast, lunch and dinner time is perfectly fine, as long as you stick small 200-400 calorie snacks in there every 3-4 hours to keep your energy levels up and your brain functioning. So you won’t be grouchy when you’re put on the spot for a presentation, you’ll improvise… and rock it.
While "mini meals" may or may not be your thang, snacking definitely should be. Try these snack options for morning, afternoon or evening:
So put down the Twinkies and other vending machine goodies - cuz while you do deserve a break, your body deserves much better than a Snickers. Eat more frequently, keep the energy up, the metabolism running, and the fat burning.