Even fitness gurus will tell you, it’s just fine if you eat 6 times per day. I know, it sounds like a lot of food, right?
Three of those meals are your actual breakfast, lunch and dinner trio. The other three are snacks. Which means if you practice portion control (moderation), you should have a small meal every few hours or so.
A few weeks back, I wrote about what I eat in a day, so if you haven’t read that just yet, take a look.
The reasoning for this method is that humans were essentially meant to graze, and as any vegan can tell you, we herbivores love to graze. And turns out, grazing has some benefits:
- “Large meals burden the digestive system, often causing bloating and lowered energy while the body struggles to digest them.”
- “When we eat a big meal, the sugar level in our blood rises, but once that meal is digested that blood sugar level falls, taking your energy and mood with it.”
- “The regular influx of food with a little-and-often approach keeps your energy level stable and makes it easier for you to cope with everything you have to do in a day.”
- “And it’s not just energy and sugar levels that stay stable. According to the Medical Research Council’s Human Nutrition unit, measurements of fatty acids in the blood also remain stable when you eat little and often.”
- ‘When we studied eating patterns, we found that regular grazers actually had healthier diets than those eating the traditional three square meals a day approach.” You have an easier time getting the nutrients you need in a day, because chances are you are nibbling away at different types of food all day.
This is why you’ll see me nibbling away at different things all day. Every few hours, I go to the fridge, open up the pantry, or blend up a smoothie with the frozen fruit I keep in the freezer.
But just what exactly do I love to snack on? Here’s my top 5:
- Roasted Red Pepper Hummus with Pretzels by Sabra. I can never eat the whole tub of it, because it’s just a lot of hummus for one vegan to get through, but I love getting the single, one serving containers, which I linked to here. These have 370 per serving (one container), so I like to eat half and then wait 2-3 hours before having the other half. It’s a treat every single time.
- Berry nice cream. I take a bag of frozen blueberries from my freezer, measure out two servings, and put them in the food processor. Sometimes I’ll add almond milk or coconut milk as needed. Maybe even water, until I get that nice ice cream consistency. Then I pop it in a bowl, cover it and put it back in the freezer to firm up some more before eating. I might split this into two snacks, depending on the day, or I might just eat it all. I also keep frozen fruit at all times. Strawberries, bananas, blueberries and peaches. That way I can pick and choose what I want in my nice cream.
- Smoothies. In the same vein, a good smoothie is always a nice way to use up frozen fruit. In this method, I use the blender instead of the food processor, and I add much more milk/water. I also add in some agave nectar or maple syrup for sweetness, since fruit like strawberries can be rather tart. Unless I have bananas on hand, I find that adds enough sweetness for me without reaching for Sugar in the Raw or maple syrup.
- Peanut butter toast. That’s right, a slice of really good, healthy bread like multi-grain, with 1 tbsp of peanut butter. I prefer Dave’s Killer Bread in thin-sliced 21 Whole Grains. Contrary to popular belief, peanut butter will not make you fat if eaten in moderation. There’s a lot to take into consideration. If you eat it multiple times per day, you’ll use a lot of calories, yes. If you get chunky, you’ll wind up eating more calories than smooth. And depending on the brand, the calories vary. So be aware, make the right choice for you, and go easy. I use half a serving of it.
- Finally, I’m a real sucker for savory snacks, like chips or crackers, even pretzels. I don’t have a particular favorite for this one, because I like to try a different one every time, just to indulge myself a little bit. However, I will say this: I find that making my own crackers at home makes them healthier, and also… tastier! Because I put a little love into my food, and there’s nothing better than sitting back and thinking “I made this and it’s sooooo gooooooddd.” When I don’t make my own, I reach for any new vegan crackers or chips, so keep an eye out. One of my favorites is Angie’s Boomchickapop Light Kettle Corn. I may or may not add some nutritional yeast on it if I’m feeling extra awesome that day!
I hope everyone’s found some ideas, or at the very least, some willingness to find some new snack options at their local grocery store. Eating a vegan diet doesn’t have to be limiting, and it certainly makes you try new things, things that you wouldn’t have ever considered otherwise. And it’s all so gooooooddd! Have fun, and stick to your nutrition goals, and your vegan ethics!