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If you're trying to lose weight, or you just want to keep the number on the scale from going up, don't make the mistake of skipping meals. Hunger almost always backfires. If you've ever gone to the grocery starving and walked out with three kinds of ice cream while scarfing down potato chips on the way to the car, you already know this.

Simply put, human beings weren't meant to go without regular meals. When we do, most of the time we simply eat much more later, and often take in more calories than if we'd just eaten our usual number of regular-sized, healthy meals. 

Some people prefer eating three meals a day; others may have five or six small meals throughout the day, which experts think does a good job of keeping hunger at bay--and that helps you avoid overeating.

So whether you eat mini-meals or you snack between three larger meals every day, it's important to keep your energy up with healthy snacks. The perfect snack is one that combines a little fat, a little carbohydrate, and a little protein. Your body processes these at different times (some fast, some take longer), so the result is that your energy levels stay even and you don't end up with that dragging feeling that makes you dread working out or doing anything else.

Some good examples of snacks: sliced apple (carbohydrate) with peanut butter (fat and protein); berries (carbohydrate) over Greek yogurt or cottage cheese (protein and fat); and hummus (carbohydrate, and a little protein and fat) with baby carrots or other veggies (carbohydrate). Protein/energy bars can also help, too, though check the label (they're often packed with sugar).

This is one of 10 swaps you can make that will get your eating on track and give you enough energy to fuel your workouts. If you make all 10 swaps, you'll be well on your way to a healthy diet.


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