How often does this happened to you?
- You’re at work and have an unexpected meeting to attend right before your break?
- You’re in a meeting and its gone into overtime and you only have time to grab whatever is near by (donuts or bagels)?
- You’re running errands and lose track of time, and there’s nowhere to get a good healthy meal?
- You’re too stressed, too tired, too overworked or just too (fill in the blank), to eat a good nutritious meal and end up eating junk food?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above, take heart in knowing that you’re not alone. Oftentimes, despite our best intentions to eat 4-6 small meals of good quality food every day, it doesn’t always work out since life happens!
By now you’ve heard of the importance of eating small frequent meals: 4 to 6 small meals a day, every 2.5 to 3 hours apart. The reason behind this is because when you eat 4 to 6 small meals a day it can assist your metabolism by consistently burning calories, which can result in a quicker more constant level of weight loss. It also helps your hunger levels by being able to snack on different foods every few hours throughout the day. When you limit yourself to only 3 meals per day, you often end up eating much more due to hunger levels being heightened because of the extended amount of time without food. By choosing to increase your meals to 4-6, you are eating many times during the day which really helps your overall feeling of satiety.
For those of you who may be thinking “how can I eat that much in a day?!” just remember that these are 4 to 6 SMALL meals a day, not a full course meal at each sitting.
If you’re still not totally on board with this type of multiple meal eating plan, here are some additional reasons to eat in this way:
- Increase your metabolism
- Prevent overeating (especially at night)
- Keep your blood sugar levels steady
- Curb your appetite
But the hard part is how to get those 4 to 6 small meals in when you’re so busy. The following are some tips for all you busy working people both in the office and at home.
Tip #1. Carry protein powder, protein bars, or a meal replacement product in your car. If you purchase your meal replacement or protein in powder form, grab a baggie or any type of plastic container and place 3 to 4 servings (scoops) in the container and leave it at work or even in your car. By doing this you’ll always have a quick meal on hand which can really be handy on those days when you’re not able to get in a good quality meal or you’re on the road. I personally keep several servings in a dry plastic reusable container, and then all I have to do is simply add water and my healthy meal is served!
Tip #2. If you’re going out to lunch then try to make the best nutritional choices in your meals. Do not order anything with extra sauce, butter, gravy, cheese or anything else that can add useless but very fattening calories to your body.
Tip #3. Choose the leanest cuts of meat (chicken breast, turkey breast, ground turkey, tuna, leaner cuts of beef, etc.). If you prefer dark meat, just remove the skin and any excess fat that might still be on the poultry and enjoy!
Tip #4. Eat foods high in fiber such a fruits, vegetables, oatmeal and beans. Remember foods rich in fiber tend to keep you fuller longer.
Tip #5. Other lean sources of protein include yogurt, so have a serving along with some fresh fruit and add a little wheat germ or nuts to create a high protein meal.
Tip #6. Have several vegetables on hand for a quick, crunchy snack. Don’t love raw veggies? Steaming or stir-frying your vegetables or bringing leftovers from the night before can also be great for a quick pick-me-up!
Tip #7. One way to curb your appetite and ensure that you don’t over indulge is to grab a handful of Chia seeds, (yes.. the same seeds in a Chia Pet). The Chia seeds taste like whatever they are in, so you can eat them raw or add them to water. Drink quickly as the seeds will start to expand, increasing in both size and weight, but as it’s both a super food and very good for you, your body will think it’s full without adding any additional calories. Yay Chia seed!
Tip #8. Pack several quick and nutritious meals such as chicken or turkey breast on whole wheat bread along with lettuce, spinach, tomatoes and a slice of avocado.
Tip #9. If you need a sweet tooth fix then choose fresh fruit or frozen fruit that you can either buy or make at home yourself, which is a great option. You can also mix the above fruits in your yogurt or have them on the side with any of your meals.
Please keep in mind that these are just a few ideas but I hope they have helped to excite and inspire you to make good (or better) choices that can keep you full, without the extra calories and without any extra guilt!