I’ve talked about snacking on the road and post- exercise fuel , and I want to address my meal philosophy. There are people in this world who live by 3-large-meals-a-day that are content, fit, feeling good. They’re also the ones who don’t really like food. Just kidding . Honestly, I admire those people who can eat in balance and satiate their appetite that way. I am not one of those people, and there are a number of good reasons why you should subscribe to the 6-small-meals-a-day plan.
Now, I’m no dietitian (yet) but I have years and years of experience eating and living. Your metabolism is like an old school wood-burning furnace. If you don’t add some wood to that fire every few hours it will sizzle out, and unfortunately, in the case of those looking to get or stay lean that means eating regularly. The key for me is identifying what my slightly larger 3 meals will be and what those smaller meals or snacks should look like.
To give you an idea of what I eat in an average day, check out the diary below. I make note of what time I eat, because my body is on a schedule whether or not I like it. The times listed below are the general time that I hear my tummy gurgle and know it’s time to add some more to the fire. Notice that I am leaving off quantity size, because only you and your nutritionist know how much fuel your body needs.
Sample Food Diary
7 am – Breakfast
Homemade Oatmeal – 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1 cup water, vanilla extract, cinnamon, 1/2 cup frozen berries topped with 1 TBS (peanut ONLY) peanut butter
10:30 am – Snack 1
Unsalted raw almonds
12:00 pm – Lunch
Big Salad – spinach, garbanzos, avocado, veggies, hummus or low fat dressing
3 pm – Snack 2
Homemade Apple Oat Bar OR Soy tortilla w/ pb, melted cheese OR a serving of golden raisins
Notice water everywhere! I drink on average the equivalent of 12 cups of water a day. This day in my food diary I met all of my nutritional requirements and exceeded some, including protein, which many new vegetarians are concerned about. Three of my meals are packed up to bring to work, and yes, sometimes I feel a little shy about busting out my container of almonds in a quiet office. The reality is, it’s what my body needs and I am honoring my hunger.
It just so happens to be National Eating Disorder Awareness Week . I have written a bit about my personal struggles, but I’m only scraping the surface. One of the biggest game-changers for me was learning what it feels and sounds like when I am hungry. By honoring my hunger I have learned more about when I am and when I am not hungry; what and how much to feed my body. Respect. Respect for your body and all it does for you. Through listening to my hunger, I know that my body needs 6 small meals a day. Maybe yours does too? Are you listening?