Snacking isn't just for kids! How to Optimally Fuel for your Busy Lifestyle

05.01.2012 / Blog Posts Health and Wellness

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Jane Jakubczak MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN Team Sports Dietitian

The second dietary principle I promote with the Redskins Players to maximize their off season strength and conditioning program is a principle WOW members have heard me discuss many times before. Read on to learn how to optimally fuel your body for your busy lifestyle!

                       "Re-fuel 5-6 times a day"

The body functions best with a slow infusion of nutrients and energy. Our busy lifestyle however, does not support this pattern naturally, requiring us to plan and schedule refueling. You would never consider driving across the country without stopping at gas stations to refill the tank along the way, would you?

Why is refueling important?

• Refueling regularly keeps our metabolism humming! This allows your body to be a calorie burning machine rather than a calorie-storing machine. Remember, extra calories are stored as fat.

• Refueling regularly keeps our hunger managed. It is almost impossible to make healthy food choices and control our portion sizes when we are in an extreme hunger state.

• Refueling regularly keeps our energy level soaring. We are more likely to take the steps instead of the elevator, walk the dog instead of putting him in the backyard and going to the gym regularly if we feel energized.

How do I refuel throughout the day?

• Three balanced meals and 2-3 snacks, spaced about every 3 hours, is ideal. "Balanced" means including something from each of the food groups, visit the Chose My Plate website.

• To ensure an optimal refueling plan, sit down for a few minutes at the start of your day and schedule your eating times. The investment of a few minutes to make this schedule can make a huge difference in ensuring a consistent fueling pattern.

As I've said many times before - if you let food just happen, it will be a disaster! Another quote I love is, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." There is no other area in our life where this sentiment has more impact than on our nutrition and fitness!

How do I avoid weight gain when refueling regularly?

With the pattern of refueling 5-6 times a day, it is imperative to make each meal/snack smaller in size than when you are eating less frequently. A meal only needs to keep hunger at bay for 3 hours and a snack's purpose is to take away hunger (not fill you up) and get you to your next meal without being ravenous. This may take some practice but it's well worth investing the time to discover your personal optimal fueling pattern. Keeping a food record with hunger/full rating can help this process. To learn how, visit click here to read a past WOW post.

Make it a healthy week and GO SKINS!
- Jane

I'd love to hear how WOW members refuel throughout the day! Please share your strategies and ideas in the comment box below.

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