You know that guy who eats every two hours and never seems to gain weight? I'm not that guy. And I doubt you are.
Maybe this sounds more like your typical eating day-
Breakfast- coffee, maybe a bagel or cereal. (whole grain!)
Lunch is a sandwich with some chips (baked so they're healthy!)
Snack- maybe there's something tasty in the breakroom or the vending machine that consists of sugar and flour and a bunch of ingredients you can't pronounce..
Dinner- Take out- maybe a sub (turkey with light mayo), or some chinese - some sort of chicken with a tiny bit of broccoli smothered in sauce and rice.
Late-night-snack- whatever is in the freezer or cupboard.
If this sounds like you, we need to talk.
First off, mayo is nasty!!
I may be the only person who thinks that (except my girlfriend, ha)
But seriously, why is it that people who eat mayo have it dripping off a sub or sandwich and smeared on their face or shirt. Just makes me gag.
Anyway, back to your meal frequency question-
How Many Meals Per Day Should You Eat?
Like most every nutrition topic, there's a lot of theories about how often you should eat.
You have one side who says to eat frequent, small meals to boost your metabolism and the other side who says eat bigger meals but less frequent to give your digestive system a break.
What's the correct answer?
Only YOU can answer this question.
Sorry, I can't give you a clear answer because everyone responds differently to meal frequency.
I've tried everything from 2 big meals later in the day, to 6-7 smaller meals spread out evenly.
People have success with every meal frequency. I'm sure if you search you can find 1 meal a day plans that someone used to lose weight.
Maybe there are 10 meal a day plans that have helped people stick to the plan and lose those last 15 lbs.
Even though I can't give you an exact number that's perfect for you, I can give you 7 Tips for Meal Frequency- as promised.
7 Meal Frequency Tips
1- Track what you are doing right now. How many meals per day? Write this down for a week, or use an app like myfitnesspal
2- Notice when you are hungry. Is it between meals? First thing in the morning? Late at night? Write it down.
3- Cook from scratch. Avoid eating out/take-out as much as possible. Having control over the ingredients in your food is important. You have no idea how much extra "stuff" restaurants add to food.
4- After the first week, limit snacks to prescribed times. Choose 1 or 2 times you are normally hungry and stick to those with smart snacks like nuts, fruit, healthy protein bar.
5- Limit sugar/flour (high glycemic carbs) These foods (cookies, crackers, chips, breads) can cause your blood sugar levels to go wild. You want stable blood sugar levels. This helps you ward off cravings and mindless eating.
6- Eat big OR small meals depending on what satisfies you. Do you prefer bigger meals less often, or smaller meals more frequent? A big part of sticking to a nutrition plan is belief and if you can maintain it long-term.
If you just want to eat a big meal and feel nice and full then 6 smaller meals may never satisfy you and you won't succeed.
7- Make sure every meal has some protein. It doesn't have to be a crazy amount but generally if you have a meal with protein instead of just carbs or carbs/fats, you will feel full longer.
(meat, fish, protein powder, eggs, seeds, greek yogurt, cheese) - all good sources of protein depending on your taste and tolerance.
How many meals do you eat per day?
Right now I eat 3 main meals and 2 snacks. This works for me RIGHT NOW. It has changed many times over the years.
Like I said, you have to find a plan that you believe in, and that you are consistent with, to make continual progress.
If you like this topic you will love my e-book called "Nutrition Hacks for the Busy Professional".
It's FREE to all my email subscribers- my Strength Essentials Tribe.
So sign up today so you don't miss out.