Frequent Small Meal Diet

Most people in society eat 2-3 medium- to large-sized meals per day. For some, this diet is nearly unavoidable. It is certainly more efficient from a time standpoint to just eat a couple of times per day. Unless you work from home or have many meals ready to go, each meal willl likely take you 20 minutes or more, so eating six times a day will take up a large part of your waking hours.

Most people don’t care to spend a significant portion of their day dealing with the task of staying nourished. There are better things to do: work, play with the kids, exercise, spend time with friends, etc… right? Unfortunately, by putting diet low on the priority list, we are robbing ourselves of the chance to live a longer and healthier life in which we can enjoy the aforementioned activities.

In cave man times (which reflect our psychology towards food), humans were constantly on the brink of starvation. Obesity was not the problem; malnourishment was. Thus, large meals full of nice fatty foods would ward off starvation well. In today’s terms, that means our caveman brains are constantly looking for a large buffet full of steaks and hamburgers, not a small green salad five times a day. We’re not programmed to eat many small meals, our brain is wired to want the big, fatty meal. Thus, we have to make an effort to eat many small meals.

The human body is more optimally designed to eat 5-6 small meals per day. This helps maintain a high metabolism since your body is almost constantly processing a manageable amount of food. When we eat just two or three huge meals per day, it leaves us feeling sluggish afterwards; our body must allocate precious resources towards digesting an excess quantity of food. This means less blood and vitality for our brain.

What stops most people from maintaining a diet in which they eat 5-6 small meals per day is the effect it has on their lifestyle. However, when implemented efficiently, it really should carry much of an impact. Depending on your body size, sex, and activity level, most people need between 1,800 and 3,000 calories per day. This means 5-6 meals containing 300-500 calories a piece would perfectly help people maintain their current weight. Here is an example of how such a diet could fit into a typical working class lifestyle:

8:00 am: Wake up and eat a cup of yogurt with a piece of whole wheat toast and a glass of orange juice (~350 calories).

Noon: Lunch with co-workers. Order whatever you please, but the key is, stop eating once you’ve consumed around 400 calories. Most people go on auto-pilot when food is placed in front of them. They eat the entire meal without pausing to ask if they are still hungry or not. Unless you go to Subway for lunch, chances are the meal you ordered will contain well beyond 500 calories. Put the part you don’t eat in a to-go box and take it back to work with you.

3:00 pm: Eat the remainder of your lunch, which should be somewhere around 300-500 calories. If it is less than this, keep some fruit on hand at the office. A banana has around 125 calories, which can perfectly supplement this afternoon meal.

7:00 pm: Dinner with family or friends. Regardless of whether you’re going out or staying in for dinner, the same rules from lunch can be applied. Eat around 400 calories of your meal and take the rest home. One of the biggest flaws in people’s diets is that their largest meal is usually dinner. In general, you want to taper off the amount of food you eat closer to bedtime. Ideally, you shouldn’t eat any particularly large meals after sunset, which is the exact opposite of how most people dine. If you go out for dinner, eat a portion large enough to fill you up, but no larger, and take the rest home.

Bedtime snack: As much as you can help it, avoid eating carbs right before bed. Since the body burns off carbs quickly, it will have no choice but to store them as fat at bedtime. After all, you won’t be moving around much. The leftover meat portion from your dinner, a protein shake, or a can of tuna make a perfect bedtime snack.

The most significant effort one must apply in order to follow this diet is simply awareness! That’s it… simply be aware of how much you’re eating and stop when you’ve had enough. Beyond that, an extra trip to the grocery store here or there is all that is needed to maintain this diet. Notice you don’t even have to follow any strict rules. Want to make brownies ala mode your lunch? Go for it… as long as it’s not in excess of ~400 calories!