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6 small meals vs. 3 big ones

I've decided to start of the new year by speeding up my metabolism and read that small frequent meals are a great way to do this. Any other ideas (to speed it up)? I'm totally into this.

Mon. Jan 2, 1:18pm

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I love the idea of small frequent meals (or .. better yet, big frequent meals - like 1 lb of steamed broccoli!).

Monday, January 02, 2006, 1:40 PM

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Frequent is good

I've been working with a personal trainer lately and he said that definitely I should be eating 6 times a day: 3 meals and 3 snacks: breakfast as soon as I wake up, a mid-morning snack, lunch, a mid-afternoon snack, dinner, and then a snack about an hour before bedtime. Like you read, this does definitely boost your metabolism by keeping it constantly working.

He also said, and this may help you too, that a good balance of 50-60% carbs, 20-25% protein and 20-25% fat is healthy for all meals and snacks. Snacks should be about 100 calories. Now, I am on a pretty active exercise/strength training regimen, working out 6 times a week and eating about 1700 calories per day, so that may not be the right plan for everyone, but maybe it will give you some ideas.

Kate (kissmekate02)

Monday, January 02, 2006, 2:09 PM

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Thanks! This is great info!!!!

Monday, January 02, 2006, 6:55 PM

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Hey there :)
I too am trying to eat 6 small meals a day. I started today.
Have you read the Bosy for Life by Bill Phillips? Its a great book and FILLED with inspiration!!
Good Luck!

Monday, January 02, 2006, 9:57 PM

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I love eating 5-6 small meals - I feel better, I don't get hungry between meals, my blood sugar and energy are more balanced. Especially between lunch and dinner for most people - there is usually way too much time with the way the work/communting schedules go. It helps with the afternoon crankiness too!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006, 7:24 AM

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Gah! How do you remember?

I would love to and prefer to have many small meals rather than the giant 3, but where do you find the time and remember to do it? I have some food at my desk (yogurt, granola, pb, sometimes fruit) but I never remember to eat as I am so busy all day.

ALSO, what consititutes a small meal? I wonder, is an apple a small meal? Is pb and toast a small meal? or what?

Tuesday, January 03, 2006, 1:57 PM

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I could never forget to eat, LOL! What a luxury!

Well, to figure out a small meal, determine how many calories total you need to be eating in a day. So say you want to be eating 1800 calories and you're spreading it out over 6 equal meals, then each meal should be 300 calories. If you are eating 3 meals and 3 snacks, then your snacks should be 100 calories each and then your meals would be about 500 calories each. Make sense? An apple is a decent snack but not a meal.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006, 2:04 PM

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How can I forget? Also, each "meal" for me is not necessarily that much food, it just helps to provide a bridge to the next larger meal.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006, 4:57 AM

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6 meals are working for me

I've lost 18 pounds in the past 4 weeks eatigng 3 meals and 3 snacks. am usng the Jenny Craig pre-packaged frozen entrees as the center of most of the melas and snacks and supplemtent them with fresh veggies, fruit yogurt and oatmeal for( breakfast evey other day. )

I love it!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006, 11:28 AM

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Re: Frequent is good

This seems like really great advice from your trainer. But, I have been working with a trainer as well, and although he is in support of the 6 small meals a day. He recommends working out on an empty stomach and not taking a bite of food until at least 30 minutes to an hour after my workout

Wednesday, January 04, 2006, 1:44 PM

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frequent is good

yes, eating smaller meals and working out on an empty stomach and waiting 30 minutes before eating anything really works. I lost 30 pounds in 3 months just by doing that.... no added diet plans or pills.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006, 10:19 AM

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6 meals a day

if you're body building it's best to get some good quality protein in your system within 30 mins of finishing you work out when your body can absorb it better and use it to repair and grow your muscles.Whey protein is best,lots of lovely amino acids mmmmmmmmmm .

Sunday, December 14, 2008, 7:53 AM

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Six meals a day is about toxic hunger, and refueling on the 'drug' your body is accustomed to having so it doesn't gurgle and whine. When eating 3 meals full of nutrition (unprocessed plants) I am usually satisfied and free from the urges to eat so often - talk about freedom.


Sunday, December 14, 2008, 12:40 PM

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I empathise with the people who forget to eat regularly -- I rarely feel hungry, and so it's very easy for me to forget about eating. I'll think about it once in a while, look at the clock, and think "okay, I'll go grab a snack in an hour"... Four to six hours later, I'll emerge from my readings, and realise that it's suppertime. I've programmed an alarm onto my laptop, which lets me know when I should be eating. That helps a little.


Sunday, December 14, 2008, 3:21 PM

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I've been eating about 6 meals a day, but my snacks are usually a piece of fruit, granola bar, or a bowl of cereal. It's been working well, and I don't feel like I'm starving ever. Helps me stay motivated and on track. If I'm not hungry at all and don't think about it, sometimes I make it to the next meal time without a snack. Knowing that I have the option makes me less obsessive about eating, and something I can do for life instead of only trying to drop a few pounds.

I say give it a try if you haven't already, everyone has their own ways of being successful.

Sunday, December 14, 2008, 6:42 PM

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First, if you have an Outlook calendar at work, set reminders to eat or set your cell phone with reminders. Eventually your body will adjust and you will just know that you need to eat. I usually do every 2-3 hours.

Second, a small meal is just what you described. Maybe an apple with a cheese stick or PB on toast (now watch the calories of your bread and how much PB you put on it or it could end up being a 300 calorie snack, which you may not want depending on your needs). I've eaten an apple and 2 cups of the 94% fat free popcorn as a "meal" (the popcorn that's 15 cals per cup). The general rule I stick with is no more than 200 calories but this also depends on how many calories I'm eating for my other meals. Sometimes mine are only a 100 calorie snack. I've even been known to a can of green beans one of my meals.

For example on a 1200 calorie diet you can do:

A) 6-200 calorie mini meals every 2-3 hours
B) 3- 300 calories meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and 3-100 calorie snacks
C) 3- 250 calorie meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and 3-150 calorie snacks

You get the idea. It just depends on your calorie needs. I also make adjustments if I am going out to dinner or make that a day where I eat my maintenance calorie needs rather than diet. I've found that when I do that from time to time, I don't get stuck in a starvation mode and my body reacts accordingly.

Sorry it's so long winded but hope it helps!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010, 4:59 PM

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experiment--- I am my ideal weight when I stick to two or three meals, lasting no longer than an hour and NO snacking. I'm eating mini meals now, because I enjoy it and I'm exercising a lot. It's not ideal though. You see, I produce too much insulin. So, experiment. Your body knows what's right and logging will help you figure it out quickly....

good Luck!!!

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