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3 meals or 5 ?

4/24/2014 2:10 PM

3 meals a day or 5 meals a day – does it matter? 

There are those who ‘just say no’ to snacking and restrict themselves to three meals a day, period. In their view, snacking is simply a bad habit that can pile on the pounds. In the opposite corner are those who say that small, frequent meals will help control hunger, so it’s better to eat five times a day. 


Is one strategy better than the other? Research has yet to give us a definitive answer, suggesting that whether you eat three times a day or five, the question of whether there is a health benefit … will ultimately depend on how much energy is consumed. In other words, if it’s weight loss you’re after, the bottom line is keeping your calorie intake in check. Snacking itself isn’t bad, unless it’s pushing your calorie intake past the tipping point.

If you look at what many people consider ‘snack foods’ – greasy, salty, sugary packaged snacks like crisps, biscuits and sweets– it’s easy to see why they’d adopt the ‘no snacking’ approach to weight management. 

Of course, there are plenty of healthy foods to snack on, too – which is just one reason to support the small, frequent meal approach. It’s a practical issue – the more often you eat, the more opportunities you have to meet your nutritional needs. Snacks can be used as an opportunity to work in more healthy fruits and vegetables, or maybe some calcium-rich yogurt, or an additional portion of protein. 

 



Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife

Posted in Nutrition Health Articles By Guy Alony

What I often run into with my clients is that it’s one thing to know what to eat – and why (okay, that’s two things…) – but they often get hung up figuring out how to incorporate more healthy foods into their diet. So let’s take a good look at the “whys” and – more importantly – the “how tos” of a heart healthy diet. 

Eat an abundance of fruits and vegetables

Why it’s heart healthy:

Fruits and vegetables are low in calories, high in fibre and chock full of vitamins and minerals! 

How to:

Eat a fruit or vegetable at every meal or snack. Add fruit to your breakfast protein shake, yogurt or cereal; have a salad and/or steamed veg at lunch and dinner, and snack on fresh whole fruits and vegetables. When you make a point to have a fruit or vegetable every time you eat, it’s easy to get all your servings in for the day. 

Choose heart-healthy proteins 

Why it’s heart healthy:

Your protein sources should be low in fat since saturated fats can raise cholesterol levels in the blood. Meats naturally contain more saturated fat and cholesterol than poultry, and poultry has more fat than seafood. If you eat dairy products, it’s best to choose fat-free or low fat. Plant proteins – like soy proteins, beans and lentils – are naturally cholesterol-free, and low in saturated fat. And fish is a good source of heart-healthy omega-3 fats DHA and EPA. 

How to: 

Aim for a few fish meals per week. For convenience, you can’t beat canned tuna, salmon and beans – any of which can be tossed into a salad for a quick, balanced meal. Use skimmed or semi-skimmed milk in cooking and in your smoothies and fat-free yogurt or cottage cheese at meals or snacks. If you eat red meat, choose the leanest cuts and trim visible fat. Replace high fat ground meats with ground poultry breast. 

Eat plenty of fibre, especially soluble fibre 

Why it’s heart healthy: 

There are two main types of fibre – known as “soluble” and “insoluble”. Both are important, but they each have different effects on the body. Insoluble fibre is found primarily in vegetables and whole grains, and it speeds the rate at which food passes through the digestive tract, so it’s helpful in promoting regularity. But the soluble fibre (found in apples, oranges, carrots, oats, barley, and beans) traps water as well as cholesterol in the digestive tract. In doing so, it promotes fullness – which helps with weight management

How to: 

Snack on apples and carrots; add beans to soups and salads, or blend smooth into a dip. Aside from oatmeal, rolled oats can be added to protein shakes, or you can whirl rolled oats in the blender into a flour, and use to partially replace wheat flour when you cook or bake at home. 

Choose heart-healthy fats 

Why it’s heart healthy: 

Foods like fish, tree nuts, avocados and olive oil are considered some of the most heart-healthy fats because they contain very little saturated fat and are good sources of polyunsaturated fats which can help keep blood cholesterol levels in a healthy range.

How to: 

Reduce the total amount of fat you use in cooking and at the table, and use heart-healthy olive oil as much as possible when you cook. Sprinkle nuts and seeds on salads, yogurt and cooked vegetables. Try using avocado to replace other fats – instead of mayonnaise in your tuna salad or to replace the spread on your whole grain toast. Aim for a few fish meals a week; if that doesn’t work for you, consider an omega-3 supplement. 

Find and stay at a healthy weight 

Why it’s heart healthy:

I listed this one last, because if you follow the other “whats” of a heart-healthy diet – and include regular exercise – chances are good that you’ll find and maintain your healthy weight. But I could have listed this one first, however, since maintaining a healthy body weight is one of the key factors in maintaining a healthy heart. 

How to:

In addition to following the heart healthy guidelines above and getting plenty of exercise, another key issue to weight management is portion control. Plenty of people eat very well – but they still eat too much and carry too much weight. By keeping your portions moderate, you’ll control your overall calorie intake as well as the total amount of fat that you eat. Make sure to eat at regular intervals, and have some protein every time you eat, too, to help keep blood sugar levels steady and to control hunger. 

Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife.

Posted in Nutrition Health Articles By Guy Alony

Traveling can definitely disrupt your usual diet and exercise routine, but you can enjoy your vacation without gaining weight. Here are a few pointers on how to avoid weight gain while traveling. 

When you’re planning a vacation, you probably start by figuring out where you’re going to go, how you’re going to get there, where you’re going to stay, and what you’ll want to do once you get there.  And if you’re like many of my clients, there may be something else you might plan for when you travel – weight gain. However, I’m going to tell you how you can take a vacation and avoid weight gain.

Many people tell me that they just can’t stay on their diets while they’re on vacation – admittedly, it’s a challenge. But when people plan to gain weight when they’re traveling, it sounds to me as if they don’t even want to try to stay on track. Vacations can turn your structured world upside down – that’s one of the reasons we enjoy taking them. But just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean you have to bring back “excess baggage” around your waist, hips and thighs.

Tips to control calories while traveling

No matter where you go, or how you get there, it really helps if you’re well prepared. Aim to stick to your usual routines as much as you can.  Here are some tips to help you avoid weight gain while on vacation.

-If you’re traveling by car, skip the ‘road food,’ and pack healthy meals and snacks instead. Don’t leave the house until you’ve eaten.  If you’re in a rush, take a protein shake with you so you’ll be less tempted to pick up fast food on the way.

-Easy to pack foods such as protein bars, fruit, nuts or soy nuts, string cheese and individual packs of baby carrots are good snacks no matter your method of travel. They’re great for road trips or flights.

-Finding healthy items at the airport is a challenge – fruit, yogurt, salads or sandwiches can be found – but packing your own food will save you calories and cash.

-When flights are delayed, use the time to walk around in the terminal rather than letting the restaurants and watering holes beckon.  At some large airports, you can easily log a mile or more by walking back and forth along the concourses.

-Watch out for liquid calories.  Staying hydrated, especially if you’re flying, is important. It’s recommended that you drink a cup of fluid for every hour you’re in the air, but if you’re chugging sodas or cocktails, you’ll rack up a bundle of calories.  Stick to water, iced tea or lightly sweetened sports beverages instead.

-If a stop at a hotel figures into your plans, you’ll likely be suffering from a dangerous combination of fatigue coupled with tempting foods from the happy hour buffets or room service.  Travel is tiring, but rather than using food as a pick-me-up, take a walk or hit the hotel gym after you get settled.

-Many hotel rooms have refrigerators.  Pick up some fresh fruits, cut vegetables or yogurt for snacks.  And don’t forget some milk or soy milk so you can whip up a protein shake in your room.

-Ask hotel staff about healthy dining options in the area where you’re likely to find the foods you generally eat.

-Watch your calories at hotels that offer complementary breakfast.  It’s tempting to overeat when you’re not paying for food items.  Most free breakfasts load you up with starchy bagels, cereal and waffles and it’s easy to you eat more than you should, especially when you’re not paying for it.  Instead, be on the lookout for fresh fruit, and maybe some protein in the form of hard-boiled eggs or yogurt.

Travel Traps – Watch your calories in the car,  air and hotel

How much exercise do you need to burn off some of most typical ‘road foods’?  The chart below gives the calories and fat in typical foods, and the amount and type of exercise needed to burn off those calories.Keep in mind that while you’re sitting in a car or on an airplane, you’re only burning about 150 calories per hour.

Food Calories      Fat    To burn it off…
Airport – Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll 813 26 gm 2 hours of backpacking
Airport – Grande Café Mocha and Blueberry Scone 860 33 gm 115 minutes of biking
Airport – Yogurt Parfait with fruit and granola 620 13 gm 110 minutes of dancing
Airport – Subway Chicken and Bacon Ranch Wrap 440 27 gm 50 minutes of singles tennis
Airplane – United Airlines Classic Snack Box 616 33 gm 2 hours of aerobics
Airplane – Delta Flight Delights (Pita chips, hummus, apricots, almonds, Clif Bar, Toblerone mini chocolate) 530 22 gm 90 minutes of baseball
Airplane – Gourmet Chocolate Chip Cookie 420 20 gm 120 minutes of Frisbee
Airplane – Ham and Swiss Breakfast Croissant 350 21 gm 2 hours of vacuuming
Airplane – Boston Market Chicken Caesar Salad with Sun Chips and Dressing 640 52 gm 120 minutes of ice skating
Hotel Mini-Bar – Planters Apple Cinnamon Trail Mix 560 26 gm 3 1/2 hours of washing dishes
Hotel Mini-Bar – 4.5 ounce can Macadamia Nuts 913 97 gm 80 minutes jumping rope
Hotel Mini-Bar – Snickers King Size Candy Bar 440 22 gm 100 minutes ping pong
Hotel “Free Breakfast “– Bagel with Cream Cheese, Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt, 3/4 cup Raisin Bran + 2% milk, 2 strips bacon 1020 34 5 hours of bowling
On the Road – Double Burger with Fries 1100 61 2 hours of jogging
On the Road – Stuffed Burrito and Medium Soda 900 30 90 minutes of stair climbing
On the Road – 6” Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich + Chips 670 20 2 hours of mowing the lawn
On the Road – 5-ounce tray Red Vines 560 0 56 minutes of swimming

 

 Written by Susan Bowerman, MS, RD, CSSD. Susan is a paid consultant for Herbalife.

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