Spend some time around kids, or your household pets, and you’ll see that frequent grazing is the instinctual way to eat over the course of the day.
We certainly evolved as frequent foragers, not meal eaters, and frequent snacking isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If the foods you choose are appropriate, and if you are truly hungry, it can be a healthy habit.
We usually get hungry about every three to four hours, so several smaller meals spread throughout the day may actually prevent you from eating too much at meal time. Snacks should have some healthy carbs—like fruit, veggies, whole grains (like crackers)—along with some protein (like nuts, soy protein products or nonfat dairy foods).
The afternoon stretch between lunch and dinner can be a difficult time. Many people try to tough it out but end up eating too much at dinner. Rather than a small snack, try having a ‘second lunch’—something a little more substantial like a protein shake, a cup of cottage cheese with some fruit, or a low calorie frozen meal. Then you can do your cutting back at dinner time.
If after-dinner snacking is a problem for you, try brushing your teeth after dinner. It works as a great signal to stop eating.
Susan is the Sr. Director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife, where she is responsible for the development of nutrition education and training materials, and is one of the primary authors of the Herbalife-sponsored blog, www.discovergoodnutrition.com. She is a Registered Dietitian and holds two Board Certifications from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, and a Certified Specialist in Obesity and Weight Management. Susan is also a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Susan graduated with distinction in biology from the University of Colorado, and received her master’s degree in Food Science and Nutrition from Colorado State University. She then completed her dietetic internship at the University of Kansas. Susan has taught extensively and developed educational programs targeted to individuals, groups and industry in her areas of expertise, including health promotion, weight management and sports nutrition.
Prior to her role at Herbalife, she was the assistant director of the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, and has held appointments as adjunct professor in nutrition at Pepperdine University and as lecturer in nutrition in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
Susan was a consultant to the (then) Los Angeles Raiders for six seasons, and was a contributing columnist for the Los Angeles Times Health Section for two years. She is a co-author of 23 research papers, 14 book chapters, and was a co-author of two books for the public: “What Color is Your Diet?” and “The L.A. Shape Diet” by Dr. David Heber, published by Harper Collins in 2001 and 2004, respectively.