Eating five times a day instead of three will help you control your appetite, raise your metabolism, and decrease your chances of overeating. Spreading your food intake to five will help decrease the risk of obesity by controlling your blood insulin response to long fasts which can cause weight gain and increased fat storage. If you want to eat five times a day, follow these simple steps to make sure you get enough calories and get the proper nutrients.
1. Make a schedule of when you plan to eat your meals and stick to it to help your body adapt. Always eat breakfast to keep your energy up and help you make healthier food choices throughout the day. Include a morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner.
2. Divide your total calorie requirement into your five meals. If you want to lose one pound of weight a week, you need to burn 500 calories more than what you eat in a day. If you miss the three-meal schedule, you can increase your caloric intake for breakfast; lunch; and dinner, and decrease your caloric intake for snacks accordingly. For example, if you have a 2,000-calorie daily requirement, you can have 500 calories for each meal and 250 calories for each snack.
3. Make a daily menu for meals and snacks that provide the healthy amount of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Consult the US Department of Agriculture’s food pyramid for the right servings of grains, vegetables, fruits, proteins, dairy products, and fats. Include foods that provide a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals to help your body work and stay healthy such as vitamins A, D, E, K, calcium, iron, and zinc.
4. Know where you will eat each meal or snack beforehand. This will help you determine what type of food you are going to prepare. For example, if you know that you’re going to have your snacks at work, then you can have easy to prepare food items like yogurt or protein bar instead of a bowl of oatmeal or soup.
Other tips: Always add the calories you get from drinks, medications, and other sources to your calculations. Have a list of acceptable meals in your kitchen for quick reference when you’re too tired to plan a meal. This will keep you from overeating and eating unhealthy food.
Weigh yourself at least once a week to keep track of your progress. Always use the same weighing scale and weigh yourself at the same time of the day. If you can’t use the same clothes for weigh-ins, try to pick something that weighs similar. Keep a journal of your weight. If you weigh yourself daily, fluctuations might be observed. Finally, watch out for other cues other than your weight such as your overall wellness and how your clothes fit you.
This article was contributed by Simon Bukai of NYHealthInsurer.com