Eat 5 or 6 small meals a day and have a kitchen closing time
This week you will begin dividing your food into five or six small, healthy meals a day. That’s a meal roughly every 3 hours. Here’s the clincher: it’s important NOT to eat between meals. Munchies are tempting, but we need to give our bodies a chance to digest the food and burn the energy at regular intervals. Think: “eat, stop eating for three hours, eat again.”
Researchers discovered that when we’re hungry, we’re more likely to want fatty, salty and sugary foods. To make matters worse, the part of the brain that governs self-control becomes less active.
When we do finally eat after a long meal gap, we also tend to overestimate how much food we need to fill the void in our stomachs.
Cravings activated + willpower deactivated + huge plate of food = disaster.
When you eat five times a day, you have:
- Less hunger and less overeating
- More energy and a more positive outlook
- More stable blood sugar
- Less cravings for unhealthy foods
Tips for Eating Five Times a Day
- Make sure there is protein or fiber in every snack or meal.
- Eat a reasonable portion, using your hands to measure your portion size.
- Plan your meals and snacks for the day by putting them in reusable Tupperware or Ziploc bags.
- Have a Kitchen-Closing Time at least 2 hours before bed.
Things get out of hand at night … unless you have a kitchen cut-off time. This means try closing your kitchen after dinner and allow yourself only water or tea (without caffeine) after you’ve finished your last meal. Making late-night snacking not even an option will prevent having “just one bite” from turning into a second supper.
Choosing Your Evening Cutoff Time
Creating your own “kitchen closed” rule will help you stay away from bad habits. I recommend not even GOING into the kitchen after cutoff time so you won’t even be tempted!
So when should your kitchen cutoff time be? This is up to you and when you feel the most tempted, but a good starting point is two hours before bedtime. If you go to bed at 10 p.m., have a “no eating after 8 p.m.” rule. When dinner is done, clean the kitchen. If you have a snack a little later or if your kids do, clean up after that and then turn off the light. If the kitchen is clean and the light is off, it helps you to stay out!
*Exceptions to the rule:
Some people like to have a snack around 8 p.m., and if you choose to have some good source of protein (e.g. Casein protein, egg whites …), a cup of tea (without caffeine) or a fruit, there is no problem with that.
Ideas of snacks for the mid-morning and mid-afternoon:
- Handful of whole almonds
- Fruit Yogurt Parfait: Yogurt layered with fresh fruit & some granola
- Hard boiled egg
- Greek Yogurt (it has twice the protein of regular yogurt. If plain add fresh berries or honey)
- Baked Cinnamon apple
- Protein Shake Smoothie
- Pancake with oatmeal or almond meal flour
- Carrots with hummus
- Cottage cheese and peaches
- Peanut butter and celery
- Crunchy peanut butter on apple slices
- 1 mini-bag of microwave popcorn
- Trail mix with almonds, raisins, dried apricots
- Piece of whole fruit with a few whole walnuts
Please feel free to contact me if you have any question, any difficulty with this challenge or for any recipe mentioned above: (+501) 616-3250 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
— Thaiane “Thai” Ribeiro