Eating give meals a day keeps your blood-sugar levels stable.

September 17, 2012 Photographs from Mukwonago High School where student football players led a protest of sorts against the portion size and other aspects of the lunches the school serves. Here Collin Muelling(front of line in blue) age 15, a sophmore layers various toppings, to include grated cheese atop his baked potatoe. MICHAEL SEARS/MSEARS@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM

MAINTAIN ENERGY ALL DAY, EVERY DAY

The goal:

Eat smaller meals throughout the day instead of three big ones.

The challenge:

Throwing down a large, high-calorie meal raises your glucose levels drastically, causing an increase of free radicals in the bloodstream that can last up to three or four hours. “For your body, this means an inflammatory burst that can affect your serum levels and increase your risk of developing heart disease, among other health problems,” says Perricone.

Breaking up those three meals into five throughout the day keeps your blood-sugar levels stable and produces an even flow of energy. But allowing yourself to snack between sit-downs doesn’t mean you can ignore the rules of nutritional balance. “Most guys throw out any semblance of smart eating when they eat between their main meals,” says Perricone. “Every snack should always include three things: a good source of lean protein, low-glycemic carbohydrates in the form of fruits or vegetables, and an essential fatty acid like olive oil or fresh, unsalted nuts.”

The plan:

Eat what you would usually reach for, and figure out whether it’s composed primarily of a protein, carbs or fat. Then balance it with the other two macronutrients, even if it’s just a bite of each. For instance, if you like munching on slices of smoked turkey, add a few celery sticks and a handful of olives. If pears and apples are your thing, combine them with a few grilled shrimp and some almonds.

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Dan Guttenplan