How many times have you heard…
“It’s better to eat five small meals a day rather than three large meals”…
…ESPECIALLY if you’re trying to lose weight?
And as with anything else, the validity of that statement is arguable. But I’m not here to argue as to whether or not it’s true, I’m here to help those who DO believe it to be true to be able to DO it!
Now for some people, that’s an easy task to complete because they may eat that and then some.
But if you’re anything like me, I don’t have a very large appetite and sometimes eating even THREE meals a day is challenging, let alone five!
And it is that person that I’m speaking to…the person who doesn’t like to eat a lot…the person who may find themselves opting to skip breakfast either due to time restraints or just not being all that hungry in the morning time.
So, How Do You Eat Five Small Meals A Day?
First of all, I believe it is important that we redefine “meals”.
Most of us tend to think of a meal as a plate-full of food or having all food groups present, which is fine for your MAIN meal(s) of the day… but it doesn’t have to be the case for all five.
They do NOT have to be large meals and they do not have to be “traditional” meals. They could be what we have come to know as (healthy) “snacks” such as fruit, veggies, nuts/seeds, or even a small portion of lean protein.
Below I have a small break down, meal-per-meal, of some tips and suggestions to help you get those 5 small meals in almost effortlessly:
1. → Meal One – Breakfast…the “most important meal of the day”, right? Perhaps – I’ve been doing some research and the jury is still out on that one. But if breakfast is important to YOU and if you’re pressed for time or just don’t like eating a large, typical breakfast (bacon, eggs, toast, pancakes, etc.) consider whipping up something quicker and easier that doesn’t take much preparation time and doesn’t expend a lot of energy to consume such as a small bowl of oatmeal with fruit, a green smoothie, an omelet (or just scrambled eggs) made with 1 egg yolk and 1-2 egg whites w/ lots of veggies added, or a meal replacement shake.
2. → Meal Two – 2-3 hours after breakfast, have a mid-morning “snack” that can be anything from leftovers from breakfast to fresh fruit or veggies with Greek yogurt dip to granola or whole grain cereal to a handful of unsalted or sea-salted nuts or trail mix (please keep it healthy and for best results, make your own!)
3. → Meal Three – This is typically your lunch that is eaten 2 hours after that last mid-morning “snack” and can be on the heavier side in terms of calories or even quantity. So this could be your salad with tons of veggies and some grilled chicken, tuna fish on whole grain bread, bean burrito on whole grain tortilla, etc.
In fact, if you happen to have a spouse, family or both to cook for and you’ve prepared dinner; it’s a great idea to wrap YOUR portion of dinner up and take it to lunch the next day! But the important thing to remember is to STOP EATING WHEN FULL! Do not overeat! Drink a glass of water beforehand and then as soon as your body signals that you’re full, stop eating…wrap up what’s left and save it for…
4. → Meal Four – Your mid-afternoon snack. If you find yourself hungry a couple of hours after eating lunch, this is a great time to finish off your leftovers if there were any left over. But if there were no leftovers from lunch, then have something similar to what you had for mid-morning snack – again, keep it as healthy as possible!
5. → Meal Five – It is now dinner time…meal number 5! Now, you may be accustomed to dinnertime being the time for the largest, heaviest, bulkiest meal of the day. *AAANT*, wrong answer!
This should actually be the LIGHTEST meal of the day because soon afterwards, you’ll be heading off to bed and the last thing you want or need is for your body to have to struggle and try to digest this heavy, calorie-dense meal.
So keep it light!
I would even go as far as saying that if you are trying to lose weight, dinner could actually be another meal replacement shake! Yep…two (HEALTHY) shakes a day helps keep the pounds away! *corny, I know…but oh well…you get the gist
Now let’s suppose a couple of hours or so after dinner is over, you’re still awake and you find yourself feeling a bit (as my kids call it) “snacky”, then have something on hand that is low in calories and fat that can satisfy you for at least a couple of hours until you go to bed and then…GO TO BED! 🙂
But seriously…the later you stay up, the more tempting it is to have those late night snacks.
One thing I will suggest is having a small glass of this metabolism-boosting-appetite-suppressing beverage to help you combat your cravings and more.
So those are some tips to help you eat five small meals a day without feeling like you’re over-stuffing yourself!