I was raised to believe that snacking between meals was not a good thing, but the Lean for Life program encourages mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks. Why is this a part of the program?

Many people mistakenly think it’s a “bad habit” to eat between meals. Actually, however, studies show that people tend to have more control over their eating and have an easier time losing or maintaining their weight when they eat healthy snacks between meals.

The “key” is to make the snack a healthy, beneficial one. The value of having a healthy, protein-based snack between meals is two-fold. First, it aids metabolism for greater fat burning. When a person goes for more than a few hours without eating, the metabolism temporarily lowers and the body tends to conserve calories rather than burning them. It’s part of the body’s primitive survival mechanism to prevent starvation. Think of healthy snacking like adding wood to a fire; without the proper amount of fuel, the fire doesn’t burn.

Secondly, eating regular, healthy snacks helps prevent hunger and cravings that can set you up for overeating. People who have a protein-based snack between meals are less likely to overeat at mealtimes and later in the evening. They are also less likely to “give in” to temptation when faced with fattening foods.

The Lindora Lean for Life menu plan includes three protein-based snacks a day, but some people, especially those who are active or larger, need to consume more than three a day for adequate energy and to prevent hunger and cravings.