BLOG: It may sound too good to be true, but eating more often is actually better for you! Eating more frequently, such as eating six small meals a day, supports a healthy metabolism, improves energy and prevents hunger. It may seem counter-intuitive, but people who eat six times a day have actually been shown to eat fewer calories than those who eat three meals.
A traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner meal pattern is becoming increasingly difficult. Hectic schedules make sitting down for three meals a day nearly impossible. Yet studies have shown that when we skip a meal, we overcompensate at the next or unintentionally snack to stave off hunger.
However snacking, or “grazing,” can be healthy if done with intention. Consuming six meals a day, or every three hours, will allow you to eat smaller portions with the comfort of knowing there is more to food to come again soon. Consuming about 300-400 calories every few hours can also help stabilize blood sugar so that energy levels don’t drop between meals.
Eating smaller portions also allows you to practice “everything in moderation,” and choose foods that you enjoy. It also promotes a healthy increase in the variety of your diet. Incorporating different foods at each meal will help provide the wide range of nutrients your body needs.
Unfortunately you will not find a large selection of low-calorie options at the fast food restaurants. However, at Stewart’s the variety of items that fit into the “grazing” lifestyle is enough to keep you happy and healthy for weeks! And because Stewart’s is located in nearly every neighborhood, it’s even more convenient than the drive-thru. In just one stop you can stock up food choices for the day, or just grab something quick to take on your way.
Here are a few of my favorite Stewart’s combinations that fit into a healthy meal pattern.
• One container Greek Yogurt, Banana and a 110 Calorie Package Special K Chips (350 Calories)
• One serving Stewart’s Fat Free Milk, a Protein Bar, and Orange (360 calories)
• One 6 inch Turkey Sub and an apple (400 calories)
• One Stewart’s Green Tea Refresher, English Muffin with 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter, a cheese stick (370 calories)
• Cup of Stewart’s Chicken Noodle, a 100 calories snack pack and an apple (320 calories)
Don’t forget that dessert should be enjoyed in moderation as well. Including small portions of sweets as one of your six snacks a few times during the week can be part of a healthy meal plan. Look for the 100-calorie candy bars available near the register or measure out a ½ cup serving of Stewart’s low-fat ice cream for 150 calories!
-Christine Sloat MS, RD, CDN
About Christine: Christine Sloat is a Registered Dietitian and life-long resident of upstate New York. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Dietetics from the University of Delaware, and a Master’s of Science in Applied Nutrition from The Sage Colleges in Troy. She has a nutrition consulting business, Nutritious Notions LLC.