How Often Should You Eat?!
-Find a meal spacing template that best fits your lifestyle. This may be frequent meals that fall every two to three hours, or larger meals that are spread over longer periods of time.
This means that you do not have to eat 6-8 meals a day if it does not work into your schedule. With the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggesting as long as you eat the right foods in the right amounts it does not matter how frequent you should eat.
No matter if you are following the two to three hours or three to four meals per day you should always remember these three things:
- Controlling calories. When calories are controlled, progress is made. Whether you control them by eating frequent small meals or infrequent larger meals is up to you.
- Focusing on food quality. Fresh, unprocessed, nutrient-dense food is a must, regardless of which eating style you adopt.
- Regular exercise. Exercise is a critical part of the equation.
Why is it in your best interest to eat every two to three hours?
Eating every two to three hours is a wonderful way to spread out nutrient consumption throughout the day. Eating this way has shown to reduce blood lipids, blood pressure, markers of inflammation, oxidative stress, and risks of cancer. With a more frequent diet you will also has faster turnover and repair of cells called autophagocytosis, increase fat burning ability and growth hormone release. Lastly you will have better appetite control and improved blood sugar control, cardiovascular function, and neuronal plasticity by offering protection against neurotoxins.
Planning is the best way to go about using this model of eating. The most effective ways are different for each person and you should experiment with a few until you find the one perfect for your lifestyle. First you can shop for everything you need on Sunday afternoon and then immediately after cook and separate the weeks meals. The other option that seems the most feasible would be to buy groceries on Sunday and Wednesday afternoon and then cook these meals and separate for fewer days. The second option is very effective for households with children and limited refrigerator space.
When snacking, it is best to find something compliant within the Habits provided. The most effective snacks are going to be meal replacement bars or shakes, but you may also have small amounts of dried fruits or UNSALTED nuts.
When experimenting with these different types of meal preparations, make sure that you also buy appropriate Tupperware containers or meal sized baggies. It may also be advantageous to purchase a cooler or some way to keep perishable foods safe from spoiling.
Miss A Meal
If you must miss a meal, the END of the world has not come, just return to your eating schedule as soon as you can. If you forget a meal at home or at the office, make sure that you always have a meal replacement bar or shake in your purse or in the vehicle somewhere. Also canned tuna is amazing to bring on road trips and is readily available for when you need it.
** Advice: Listen to your body and apply the “how’s that working for you” approach. If 3 meals a day allows you to achieve the goals you are looking for, great. You should remain using that program. If the frequency style that you are using does not allow you to hit your goals, feel free to switch up at any time. **