In my 7 Nutrition Tips to Build Muscle and Burn Fat article, I recommend eating 5-6 small meals per day. Not only does eating often help increase your metabolism, but it also helps you avoid cravings by keeping you full throughout the day.
Plan ahead. Eating 5-6 small meals per day requires that you eat every 2-3 hours. In order to do this successfully, you must plan ahead. I recommend having at least two backup plans in case something happens unexpectedly.
For example, last week I had a meeting planned from 2-4pm. I had a meal at 1:45pm before my meeting; so I knew I would need to eat again around 4pm. I also knew the meeting might run long. So I had two backup plans ready:
- I brought some mixed nuts with me to the meeting in case I needed to eat something on the spot.
- I had a spare protein shake at my desk. When we were given a five minute break, I could go back to my desk and drink my shake before continuing the meeting.
Go slowly. It can be overwhelming to switch from 2-3 large meals per day to 5-6 smaller meals per day. In order to get to 5-6 meals per day, you will need to gradually increase the number of meals you eat each day. Start off by eating 4 meals per day. After about a week, increase this to 5 meals per day. Give yourself a week or two to adjust and then increase your meals to 6 per day.
Split the meals. One of the easiest ways to add smaller meals is to just split up your existing meals. For example, instead of eating a large sandwich for lunch, cut the sandwich in half. Eat half at lunch and have the other half 2-3 hours later.
Eat more snacks. If you are having trouble splitting up your meals you can try to reduce the size of each meal and add some snacks throughout the day. For example, continue to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but add in snacks between breakfast and lunch and between lunch and dinner. Some good snack ideas include:
- Protein shakes
- Mixed nuts
- Fruits such as apples, oranges, and bananas
- A small or half sandwich
There is no excuse for not eating 5-6 small meals per day. If you have any tips for eating 5-6 small meals per day, leave a comment below and let others know.