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Three Square Meals or Mini Meals?

Three Square Meals or Mini Meals?

Nutritionists once believed that we should eat three square meals a day and nothing between meals.  Snacking was believed to be a bad idea.  More recent nutritional research has indicated that the old adage of three square meals a day is history and indicates many nutritional benefits to eating snacks, or more appropriately, mini meals.  Our bodies are better able to metabolize smaller amounts of food more frequently throughout the day rather than fewer large meals.    Healthy snacks or mini-meals can benefit our health in many ways.  Increased meal frequency can:


            keep blood sugar levels regulated

            decrease hunger and prevent impulse eating throughout the day

            have positive effects on cholesterol and insulin levels

            keep metabolism running efficiently

            lead to actually eating fewer calories in total daily

            help us fit in all the required daily essential nutrients


Frequently the word snack is associated with “junk” food such as cookies, candy, or chips.  Conversely, snacks should be planned as mini-meals, including foods from sources of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats, rather than from sources of “empty calories”.  In this way we can “snack” on foods that will help us meet our nutrient needs rather than on food that simply supply empty calories.

To make snacking a more regular part of your day, plan them into your menus and your grocery shopping.  It may be helpful to divide foods into snack size portions when you get home from the grocery store.  You might even assign a special place in the pantry or refrigerator for your pre-portioned snack foods to allow for quick and easy preparation.

Nancy Hintze

About the author

Nancy Hintze, originally from St. Louis, Missouri, began her career as a Foods and Nutrition teacher in Lehi, Utah in 2003. At the time she began teaching middle school students about nutrition, she weighed 286 pounds. She quickly became aware that if she expected her students to believe her, she had to be an example of what she taught. Over the course of the next several years, as she eliminated 125 pounds by changing what she ate and how she cooked, Nancy became passionate about sharing her healthy lifestyle keys with her students and their families. Along the journey of her transformation, she also became an avid chef with a zest for good old fashioned food preparation with a modern twist – healthy ingredients and ease of preparation.

Nancy is a licensed Family and Consumer Sciences teacher as well as a certified L.E.A.N Health Coach. She has developed and produced Community Nutrition Fairs, mentored students in the Fuel Up to Play program and accompanied one of her students to represent Utah in the National Fuel Up to Play summit in Washington, D. C. In addition, she has coached individual clients to achieve greater levels of personal wellness. And now we have the privilege of announcing Nancy as our very own Culinary Nutritionist here at Reams.

When she’s not sharing her passion for great eating with others, you can find her in her vegetable garden, or knitting or sewing, reading a great novel, hanging out with one of her 21 grandchildren or on the road in the RV that she and her husband love to travel in.