Moving on from portion control, we then often wonder how many meals a day we should have.
There are a few myths that continue to do the rounds.
I used to believe that I should have smaller, more frequent meals;
This was supposed to ‘boost my metabolism’ and speed up the rate at which I burned calories.
There is no evidence to support this.
The only thing you need to worry about when it comes to meal frequency is, how that then affects your overall quantity of food.
Some of us prefer to feel really satiated after a meal and therefore opt for fewer, larger meals.
As you start to focus on eating slowly, you will find that you become fuller more quickly.
You may then worry that you will be hungry again sooner than normal.
It is sensible to plan in some snacks.
Most of us get hungry every 3 to 5 hours.
The afternoon window is notorious for tripping people up.
It’s a long gap between lunch and dinner for many.
You hit a slump around 4pm.
When you are hungry and low on energy, you will crave high energy snacks.
If you haven’t made a plan, you may end up in the biscuit tin or vending machine;
You then feel bad for eating something unplanned and continue overeating into the evening.
So, if you are going to get hungry every 3 to 5 hours, it makes sense to have a plan within that timeframe.
You will potentially have 2 to 3 meals a day and 1 to 2 snacks.
This is absolutely fine.
You could have 6 or 7 small meals a day, eating every 3 hours or so.
It totally depends on what suits you.
The time you have available;
What you are trying to achieve;
What helps you avoid getting over-hungry;
If you are super busy, then planning and preparing food in advance is definitely a good idea.
However, planning and preparing can lead us to be very rigid.
This then makes it difficult to deal with the unexpected.
Try to be flexible with your meal frequency.
If you have a particularly large meal, adjust your others.
For example, if you have a family roast dinner at the weekend, you may skip breakfast, or you may just have a light snack in the evening.
If you know you have a big social event coming up that will involve a lot of food and alcohol, you may have smaller, lighter meals for a couple of days before or after.
Whatever works for you and moves you closer to your goal is the best meal frequency plan for you.