The Debate: Big or small meals?
One of the biggest reasons why knowing what to eat and when is so confusing is because there is NO one-size-fits-all guide. We all different homeslices! Each person will have different taste preferences, schedules, goals and physiological responses to a diet. That being said today I want to focus on 1 question. *We gon take lil'baby steps alright* Is it better to frequent small meals or a couple of large meals? Let's dive in :) Some say frequent small meals is better because - you'll end up keeping a leveled blood sugar, - you'll keep cravings low because you'll be having snacks - you'll keep ghrelin (the hormone that makes you feel hungry) levels low Some say a few large meals is better because - it's challenging to keep track of how many snacks you eat - it's traditionally what we learned in school - easier for busy people (sometimes) Which is better depends on your schedule. Let's analyze some case studies. *Analyzing-hat on* 1. Meet Valerie. She is a busy working mom. After a hectic morning of getting everyone ready for the day she grabs a coffee and small breakfast. Her work keeps her busy which means she can't take breaks every 2-3 hours to eat. Her only available time to eat at work is when she is scheduled for lunch. She can remain full between her meals. After work, she picks up her kids from school and then takes them to swim practice. She picks up some food for her and her kids on the way. Finally, everyone arrives home and after focusing on the kids' homework and bedtime routine she and the rest of her family go to sleep without any late-night meal or snacks. In this scenario, frequent small meals will not work for her. That's okay, the important things to note are: - she does not feel hungry between meals - she must remain within her caloric goal (ex: 1,600 kcal) - this style of eating works with her schedule - her meals must include a significant amount of protein to keep her full - she must resist junky fast food (Wendy's) and instead choose healthier quick food (The Natural Cafe) - she can maintain this rhythm (won't "fall off the wagon")
2. Now meet Aja. Aja also a mom but she works from home. She has to juggle work and her kids. Because she is always multitasking she rarely has the chance to sit down to eat meals. She often ends up eating her kids' leftovers and if she is still hungry she will eat a small snack. Her life consists of frequent small meals. That's okay, the important things to note are: - she must keep track of her snacks (hers and the leftovers) - she must choose healthy snacks (veggies, homemade baked chicken strips) - avoid keeping guilty pleasure foods in the house - she must remain within her caloric goal (ex: 1,800 kcal) - this style of eating works with her life
3. Lastly, meet Sandra. She is a college student. Her schedule this semester has some small gaps and some bigs gaps between her classes. She's noticed she feel lethargic if she eats big meals before her classes so she eats a small breakfast, then off to lecture. Between the lecture and lab, she eats another snack and after lab, she eats her first big meal. After a couple of hours, she has a study group and after, she and her study group go to dinner. Sandra has a mixture of big and small meals and that okay, the important things to note are: - she must remain within her caloric goal (ex: 1,600 kcal) - she must remain full between her classes - she must remain alert in her classes - this style of eating works with her schedule
In the end, how you spread out your calories is up to preference the main importance is to not overeat and ensure your diet works for you. Don't follow a diet you saw your favorite celebrity follows. #trustyourself
Caution if you're diabetic, eating only large meals might cause your blood sugar to drop, unlikely, but make sure to always follow your doctor's recommendations first. :)