Is Snacking Healthy?
Not necessarily. Did you know there is absolutely no proof that eating five or six times a day stokes or improves metabolism? If anything, in our experience working with people in our “Health and Body Makeover Programs” and in Andy’s bariatric medical practice, snacking is one of the habits that prevents people from losing weight and substantially contributes to the consumption of empty calories.
The Clean Cuisine lifestyle is based on eating meals, not snacks.
Instead of eating 5 or 6 mini meals we think it is much more enjoyable—not to mention convenient– to eat 3 larger main meals; breakfast, lunch and dinner. In today’s high-speed world it is hard enough trying to plan ahead to ensure that breakfast, lunch and dinner is both nutritious and delicious and having to plan for an additional 2 or 3 meals and also find the time to eat them can seem all-consuming. Plus, if you are eating 5 or 6 meals a day and you are not particularly active then you really would have to monitor portions a bit.
We have found that the majority of people who do the 5 or 6 mini meal thing started doing so because they heard it would stoke their metabolism and they believed “revolutionary” weight loss secrets revealed in books like Jorge Cruise’s THE 3-HOUR DIET. Books like Cruise’s claim that eating small, “balanced” meals every 3 hours or so will “reset” your body’s metabolism and turn off the “starvation protection mechanism” to ensure fat is burned and fat-burning muscle is preserved. Well, this is just totally untrue. Trust us, your body is NOT going to go into “starvation mode” if you don’t eat for 3 hours!
In our experience when we have encouraged people to get back to a more conventional meal schedule and get back to eating breakfast, lunch and dinner they find they start to enjoy their meals more. They also find more time to cook and more time to focus on making the food taste good.
Unless it is an exercise day, the only real snack you should have on the Clean Cuisine program is your SuperGreen Smoothie. And this isn’t even really a snack because it is so very low in calories!
If you get hungry try having some green tea. Not only is green tea loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, it also helps curb your appetite and even assists with weight loss. Sipping on probiotic rich miso soup broth is also a good option (we particularly like Miso Master brand of organic miso soups.) If green tea and miso isn’t cutting it then grab some carrot or celery sticks and a small handful of nuts or have some fresh fruit.
Clean Cuisine Snack Options for Before or After a Workout:
As mentioned above, exercise is the one exception to our no snacking recommendations. We recognize some people feel light-headed or get a low blood sugar sensation after exercising. If this sounds like you, here are a few Clean Cuisine snack options that are loaded with nutrients and easy to digest. They are, therefore, just fine to eat before exercise as well:
- Lärabars are available nationwide in natural foods stores and, unlike the vast majority of energy bars, are made from the purest and simplest of ingredients—just fruit, nuts, and spices. They taste amazing! There is a flavor for everyone, too: key lime pie, apple pie, banana bread, blueberry muffin, carrot cake, chocolate coconut chew, and ginger snap, to name just a few. For the moderate exercise program recommended as part of the Clean Cuisine Challenge, for women, we suggest a half a Lärabar as a pre- or post-workout snack; for men we suggest a whole bar. Note: If you are doing intense exercise you might find you need to eat more.
- Good Greens bars are made with a proprietary blend of greens, vegetables, fruits, antioxidants, probiotics, and enzymes and pack a mighty nutrition punch. They come in a variety of tasty flavors, including chocolate raspberry, chocolate peanut butter (our favorite!!), chocolate coconut, and wildberry. For women, we suggest a half a Good Greens bar as a pre- or post-workout snack; for active men we suggest a whole bar.
- Small handful (about ⅓ cup) of homemade trail mix made with 1:1 ratio of dried organic fruit to raw nuts or seeds.
- Banana with raw almond butter.
- Apple slices with peanut butter.
- 1/2 a serving of a Clean Cuisine No-Milk Shake (Note: see No-Milk Shake recipes in the meals plans for weeks 1 and 2 or in the Clean Cuisine book or our Superfood Cookbook)
Thrive Snacks for the Super Active
If you are particularly active and train hard or exercise competitively, you will probably want to consult with a holistic-minded sports nutritionist because you will absolutely have increased energy demands. Although we do not think you need to be vegan, Brendan Brazier’s book, Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life offers plenty of healthy snack ideas to refuel your body after a tough training regimen. Brazier also put out a great follow-up cookbook, Thrive Energy Cookbook featuring some amazing plant-based recipes that are ideal for active individuals.
Brazier is not only an author, he happens to be a former professional Ironman triathlete, a two-time Canadian 50 km Ultra Marathon Champion and the the founder and creator of an award-winning line of whole food nutritional products called VEGA. While we normally do not endorse powdered shakes, we acknowledge their convenience and we must say, Brazier’s VEGA One Nutrition Shake , which is made from whole food ingredients, clearly stands out from the dizzying array of processed protein powders and meal replacements on the market. VEGA One is not only made from real food, it also includes probiotics, plant-based omega-3’s, antioxidants, fiber, and more. If you are super active and need the convenience of a packaged shake snack to fill in nutritional gaps, be sure to check out Brazier’s VEGA shake line HERE.