If you've tried to lose weight in the past, chances are that you've heard the advice to eat smaller meals, but more frequently. The idea behind it is that you end up eating fewer calories but don’t feel as hungry throughout the day. Beware, though, sometimes just the opposite is true when you eat more frequently. Eating five to six meals a day can make it easier to overeat, because you eat more frequently and can have too many calories in each meal.
However, this is not to say that the whole idea should be thrown out the window. The benefits of eating every two to three hours are simple: it can give you more energy, and help reduce cravings for unhealthy foods. It also provides your body with the nutrients you need and can prevent overeating (when done correctly). In addition, eating smaller meals can help you lose weight if you choose healthier foods and practice portion control.
If the benefits outweigh the potential risks for you, then eating five to six meals a day might be a great option for you. Here are some tips to help you make the five meals a day plan work:
- It's not actually five "meals." Think of your meals as three smaller meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and then two snacks in between.
- Every meal needs protein and fiber. These two nutrients work together to help you feel satisfied longer, and provide much-needed energy.
- When you're choosing snacks, go for taste as well as health. Repeat the mantra to yourself: healthy food can be and is satisfying. If you don’t like broccoli, don’t force yourself to eat it, there are plenty of other healthy fruits and vegetables out there.
- Prepare ahead. Plan out your meals a week in advance. If you look in your app store, there are plenty of free apps that can help you with this. Then, when you're making dinner, make extra meat and veggies, portion them out, and put them in containers for later. Stock up on healthy foods when you shop and avoid the pre-packaged items.
- Make a Slim & Sassy® TrimShake instead of a meal or a snack. TrimShakes are the ideal protein shake that also helps you manage hunger and cravings for other foods. See some recipes, from overnight oats to regular smoothies here, or visit iamslimandsassy.com.
- Practice portion control. Remember your stomach is the size of your fist. Look at and follow the recommended serving sizes for any foods you are eating. Look here for basic guidelines.
- The potential sixth meal we mentioned is dessert. You can still have dessert, just limit to once a week. The five to six meal plan is not about deprivation—we want you to reward yourself.
Think this could work for you? Give it a try and let us know how it goes in the comments! Check out more healthy recipes to implement at iamslimandsassy.com under the Lifestyle tab.