I’m always interested in guest posts. They add variety to this blog, and give me new ways to think about healthy eating and living a healthy lifestyle. Today’s focus is on healthy weight loss meals, and how many of them we should eat in a day.
Recently Jennifer Bell asked if I’d be interested in a guest post. She wanted to provide readers with her perspective when it comes to weight loss and eating smaller meals. The big debate between eating 3 meals per day versus 6 meals a day, had me interested to see what she had to say.
Read on to hear Jennifer’s views, and then I’ll chime in with my own opinion, and a few resources for you to do your research.
Yes, Light Means More
When it comes to eating right, many people believe that if they eat light they will be hungry all the time. They will have to deprive themselves of all the foods they love and never feel satisfied. That is actually far from the truth. There are many benefits to eating light, and you won’t have to walk away from the table hungry.
Eating light actually means eating more. Studies show that if you eat six small meals during the day instead of three larger meals you will lose weight and feel great. This gives your body time to digest the food you eat instead of storing it as fat, something it does when you consume too much food at one sitting. Eating small meals throughout the day also helps prevent cravings and binge eating. Binge eating can include eating sugary foods that contain empty calories as well as fattening foods that ruin healthy eating routines.
Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is a great way to make sure you are eating light. Eating six servings of fruits and vegetables a day is what your body needs to stay healthy and strong. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can be surprisingly filling. Those who eat a small amount of protein and two larger servings of vegetables at a meal feel fuller than those who eat a larger main dish serving at a meal. Eating a small main dish and including two vegetables and a fruit at dinner is a great way to feel full and still eat light.
Eating light doesn’t have to mean denying the foods people love to eat. Many classic recipes can be altered so that they are better for you. This way people can eat better and not feel deprived, a sure way to defeat a healthy diet. Desserts can also be streamlined so they are better to eat. Appealing to your sweet tooth without consuming empty calories helps make sure that eating light isn’t a sacrifice.
When shopping for healthy foods, it is important to read labels. Just because an item is organic or says it is a diet food doesn’t necessarily mean that it is light. Some organic and prepackaged foods are high in calories, preservatives or chemicals that defeat the main purpose of eating light. Whenever possible, make sure that you buy fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid packaged foods.
Eating light doesn’t have to mean sacrifice and hunger. Eating six small meals a day, getting enough fruits and vegetables and avoiding packaged foods are great ways to eat light and still feel full. Altering the ingredients of your favorite recipes can make sure that you don’t feel deprived while eating light and still stay healthy.
In my never to be humble opinion, Jennifer provides reasonable advice. She advocates for a balance of proteins, fruits and vegetables. I’d add healthy fats and whole grains to her list of to-dos, but otherwise, it’s all good.
I love her comment about taking classic recipes and making them lighter!
Now we get to the issue of eating several small meals as opposed to three large meals. For some people eating smaller meals throughout the day stabilizes blood sugar, holds off hunger, and keeps their metabolism stoked. However, other folks might find that eating smaller meals can turn into a diet disaster. If they aren’t careful to consider the number of calories at each sitting, mini-meals can easily add extra calories to their daily allotment.
I suggest that if you think eating six small meals a day might jump start your weight loss goals, then try distributing your total calories for the day into six meals for a week or two. If you feel better throughout the day, and if you continue to lose weight, then you’ll know it works for you.
If you’re interested in further reading on this debate you can check out the following websites:
- MedicineNet – How Many Meals a Day?
- The New York Times Health – The Claim: Eat Six Small Meals a Day Instead of Three Big Ones
- SparkPeople – Eat More Often, Lose More Weight
The statements made on this blog are strictly my opinion and are not meant to replace medical advice from your physician. Please see disclaimer for further details.