Snacking essentially refers to eating small portions of food in between meals. The main meals are universally divided into 3 parts - breakfasts lunch, and dinner. We often find ourselves indulging in small bites of food to munch on a ‘snack' in between these meals. Eating a snack is often associated with being unhealthy and unnecessary. However, that may not be the case. In this article, we discuss whether or not snacking is good for you. We also discuss other factors that may influence the answer.
Is snacking good for you?
In simple terms, snacking is good for you. Snacking as discussed in the beginning, is small portions of food between meals. As we are expected to eat three meals a day, it can be hard to fulfill your body's nutrient requirements under these three meals. Considering an average human stays awake for about 16 hours, they are bound to feel hungry no matter how filling their meals were. In this scenario, snacking may be the solution. Hence, snacking in itself is not only normal but also essential.
Snacking helps keep you full, energised and contributes to your daily nutrient intake if eaten correctly. Scientifically, snacking is extremely normal and is in fact encouraged.
Here are some reasons why snacking is important:
1. Stops weight gain
Long durations without eating can cause your body to feel there is a lack of food. In this case, the food you eat may be stored as fats to help survive the body later. This is one of the main reasons why eating between small durations is important.
2. Provides with nutrients
Eating a nutrient-packed meal can sometimes mean eating a huge meal or overeating. Even though you are eating healthy, overeating is not encouraged. Instead, try to incorporate some healthy snacks into your diet to increase your daily nutrient intake. Snacks such as dried fruits, nuts, seeds, yogurt, homemade popcorn, hummus & begins, etc. are all encouraged.
3. Stops you from overeating
Long durations of breaks between meals can cause you to overeat during your primary meals. Snacking ensures you don't feel excessively hungry. Overeating can make you feel bloated, lethargic, and might even contribute to weight gain.
4. Keep you hydrated
Besides water, various foods also provide our bodies with the water it needs. Sticking to three meals a day might limit your consumption of water-rich foods. Indulging in some watermelon, cucumbers, juices, and so on can help you stay hydrated between meals.
5. Keep you energised
Sticking to just three meals a day can cause you to feel low on energy and fatigued. Snacking energy-packed foods and beverages such as nuts, seeds, coffee, etc. can help you stay energised throughout the day.
When is snacking unhealthy?
Snacking has formed a negative image due to the misconception that snacks are unhealthy foods. As discussed in the beginning, snacks are just small portions of foods consumed between meals. The nature and quality of these snacks are completely upto you. Unhealthy snacking such as junk foods, and processed and packed foods (chips, sodas, etc.) are also examples of unhealthy snacks and should be avoided.
In conclusion, what you eat has a more significant impact on your health than when you eat. Eating healthy is always encouraged even if it is between meals. It is important to understand what snacks are healthy and unhealthy. You must also ensure you are not consuming more than the calories you require in a day. No matter whether the snack is healthy or unhealthy, you must avoid eating it unless you are hungry or low on nutrients.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.