Have you ever wondered how often you should eat for optimal health, energy and weight loss? Should you eat 3 square meals or should you eat more frequent meals through the day?
How often you eat (or meal frequency) is important because it creates the foundation for your nutrition program. Done right and your nutrition program will give you the energy you need, promote your health and give you the results you’re looking for.
Done wrong and it may delay or even prevent you from reaching your goals.
So how many times a day should you eat?
At least FIVE TIMES per day.
Sounds like a lot?
Probably even seems a little counter productive right? You’re thinking that by eating that many times you’re going to consume too many calories and gain more weight.
But that’s not what happens.
As you’ll soon see, there’s some great benefits to eating smaller more frequent meals.
THE BENEFITS TO MORE FREQUENT MEALS
Here are a few benefits to eating FIVE times per day
1. Controls appetite and calorie intake – The key here is to eat small meals every 2 – 3 hours. By eating frequent meals you’re neither full nor starving. This allows you to make better choices and control your calories.
2. Provides your body consistent energy for workouts and daily activities – Eating smaller more frequent meals provides a steady stream of energy. This also allows you to get your daily requirement of protein and vegetables. Both are needed for consistent energy and recovery from your workouts.
3. Better results for the same amount of work – There are several studies that compare two groups who eat the same amount of calories with the only difference being meal frequency. The group that ate smaller more frequent meals lost more weight and gained more muscle. So even with the same amount of calories and no extra work, the test participants who ate more meals per day got better results.
HOW TO EAT 5 TIMES PER DAY
What’s the best way to eat 5 – 6 small meals a day?
If you’re only eating 2 – 3 meals per day right now, take what you’re eating and split it in half and eat it 2 hours later.
For instance, take what you eat for breakfast and do half serving at your normal breakfast time and eat it the second half 2 -3 hours later.
Do the same for lunch and dinner.
You’re essentially making 6 meals out of 3.
No extra calories and no extra work for you!
Change takes time and it’s always a process.
If you’re not used to eating smaller more frequent meals try splitting only one meal a day for a while. When you have that down, you can then do the same for lunch and eventually dinner.
Soon you’ll be eating 5 times per day and you’ll reap the rewards of increased metabolism, more energy and better results.
Move Better ~ Live Well
You can read the second part to the Nutrition 101 series HERE.