Eating between meals is a great way to fuel training if you do it right.
Whether you’re cutting calories or looking to add more nutrients, smart snacking—emphasis on smart—can play an important role in helping you meet your goals. Low-calorie snacks can help fill the void between meals, giving you the willpower to say “no” to more decadent, diet-derailing choices. High-calorie snacks can be the difference between maintaining your current mass and making the move to the next weight category. And if running farther or faster is your goal, the right snack at the right time can be crucial.
Ask any runner who’s gone out on empty, hitting the wall early, and they’ll likely agree with what the research shows: Eating before a run may help boost speed and endurance, especially at the end of the workout. And when you’re finished with the workout and know you need to recover—but a full post-run meal isn’t feasible (or you don’t have the stomach for it)—a snack that supplies vital protein, carbs, and electrolytes will all serve in repair and recuperation.
Snacking throughout the day—eating a manageable, sensible portion of an item with filling fibre and protein a few hours before mealtime—can help curb your appetite, prevent overeating, and, therefore, lower overall daily calorie intake. Snacks can be a great tool in the healthy eating arsenal. Try as we might, thanks to busy lifestyles and long hours at work and play, many of us do not always have time to cook an elaborate meal. End result? By the time dinner is on the table, many of us are ravenous and ready to eat anything that’s not nailed down.
Over time, as we consume larger portion sizes because we’re desperately hungry, or go the drive-thru route because we’re excessively busy, we don’t do our waistline or health any favours. While it may seem counterintuitive to add eating occasions (and calories), small meals and snacks carefully planned throughout the day can actually provide the willpower we need to say no to tempting treats and overeating.