Most likely if you are working out and training every day, maybe twice a day, three meals won't be enough. Snacking in between meals becomes critical for keeping your energy up and supporting all your hard work. Not snacking or choosing the wrong snacks can derail your training efforts and negatively affect your race performances as well as your overall health.
There isn't a exact number of meals or amount calories that works for everyone. While keeping the quality of your diet high (think whole foods, fruits, grains, nuts not donuts, bagels and chips) try to spread out your intake over the course of the day while keeping the amount of calories you eat the same.
The most important thing is to plan ahead and have healthy options prepared or know where you can go to get them. I recommend my clients plan meals and snacks every 2-4 hours. For example, if you have breakfast at 7am and your lunch break isn't until Noon, you'll want to squeeze in a small snack around 10am to keep your blood sugar level and avoid over eating and crashing in the afternoon. If you don't sit down for dinner until 6pm or train after work it's important to get something to eat mid-day.
Higher carbohydrate snacks and meals are great fuel for your workouts.
Meals with a balance of carbs, protein and some fat are perfect for recovery.
Here are some quick and easy snacks for busy athletes...
Small cup of dry cereal with a handful of nuts and raisins
Greek yogurt and a piece of fruit
Cottage cheese and cut up veggies
Rice cake with almond butter
Whole wheat tortilla with cheese and slice of turkey
Hard boiled egg and a few whole grain crackers
----Got questions about nutrition or training? Shoot me a note - I am happy to help!