Your Guide to Healthy Lifestyle
Are you having your snack throughout the day?
Are you skipping meal to reduce weight?
You should aim for minimum 3 regular main meals or you may add snacks in between up to 6 smaller meals in a day. Below shows the examples of meal timing, people with different working shift may plan their own regular meal time.
When snacks are chosen carefully and eaten in sensible amounts within the body calories needs, they are part of healthy eating pattern. They act as energy booster and to satisfy hunger in between main meal, particularly when the timing gap is big, such as up to 5-6 hours. For children who are small eaters and elderly who have poor appetite, adding snacks into the meal plan helps them to meet up energy needs and nutrients missed out. However, snacking can be harmful to body if snacks chosen are energy dense, low in nutrients, high in sugar, fat and sodium(French fries, chips, fried kuih, sugary drinks)
You may choose tree nuts, low fat yogurt/milk, whole fruits, whole grain crackers/bread / cereals, sandwich, putu mayam, steamed pau /sweet potato /dim sum /corn salad, or popiah basah as healthier snacks.
Meal timing myth :
Myth No 1: Having meal before bedtime is more fattening and can cause weight gain.
Fact: Meal timing has no direct effect on the calories burned in body. What makes the difference is what we eat, but not when we eat. When calories consumed is more than the body needs, it causes weight gain. Thus, food eaten before bedtime is not more fattening than the same food eaten during day time. For weight management, it is importance to have energy balance.
Myth No 2: Skipping breakfast aid to reduce weight.
Fact: Skip meal often leads to overeating for next meal or impulsive snacking, and thereafter more likely to gain weight. Evidence suggests that having regular meal, especially a healthy breakfast with lean protein and whole grain foods, actually helps promote weight loss and maintenance.
Lai Huey Qin
B. Sc Dietetics, UPM