The first, most important meal of the day was a bowl of cereal followed by a plain croissant and banana at work. Lunch was light with a jacket potato at your file desk. Come 3 pm and you have a dark chocolate bar to full you up until dinner.
By the time you reach home, you were too tired to cook so you had a bowl of soup and then around 10 pm, made a grilled cheese or tuna sandwich before bed. Welcome to the 21st century’s dietary lifestyle.
According to a research from market analysts Datamonitor, an average individual in Britain does not have time to sit down for three proper meals a day and, instead, is more likely to have 6-7 smaller meals.
The traditional diet of eating thrice per day is becoming a thing of the past. With coffee shops and sandwich takeaways at every corner, companies are offering endless possibilities for packaged goods that can be consumed on the run. But while this may sound awfully health-alarming, nutritionists are welcoming our move away from orthodox eating patterns.
Bigger Meal, Bigger Crash
“Grazing was the way our body was designed to eat,” says author of ‘The Insulin Factor’ and nutritionist Antony J. Haynes. He adds that large meals can often burden the digestive system, causing bloating and lethargy while the body struggles to break down every ounce of food ingested. By eating carefully intervened, mini meals you can prevent this; boosting bodily functions throughout the day.
The bigger the meal, the bigger the crash – increasing the need for sugary snacks to refuel your body. With little influx of food every few hours, your energy level remains stable and makes it easier for you to cope with everything that you have to do in a day. According to a research by the Medial Research Council’s Human Nutrition Unit , a little-and-often approach towards regular eating maintains the amount of fatty acids in the blood, decreasing the risk of heart disease as a result.
What to Eat
A seven-meal-a-day plan might help you manage hunger and maintain energy levels in a better way. In order to meet per day nutritional requirements, make sure to include a variety of items from all food groups.
- Start the Day Right
If you’re big on keeping calories in check, each of the seven mini meals should be about the same size and low in fat. For instance, upon following the usual 2,000-calorie diet, limit each meal to 250-300 calories and no more.
You can start your day with 1.5 cups of plain non-fat yoghurt topped either with a cup of berries, or unsweetened whole-grain cereal and 5-6 almonds. A hard-boiled egg with two slices of whole wheat toast and ½ cup of orange juice is also sufficient to get you through a long day.
- Hello, Midday!
Come midday and your healthy/balanced snack on the 7-meal diet plan might include a whole wheat bagel with an ounce of low fat cheese and a small apple to go. A well-blended fruit smoothie consisting of one small banana, ¾ cup of pineapple, a quarter of succulent avocado and one cup of low fat milk with crushed ice makes a healthy, filling option.
- What about Lunch?
It’s okay for your lunch to be slightly heavier than your morning meals since they help you survive the most hectic time of the day. The most common option is chicken breast, cooked in any way you like, except fried. A little bit of brown rice and steamed veggies on the side can be the perfect companions to the chicken.
Another option is to try a turkey sandwich wrapped in whole wheat tortilla with lettuce and mustard served with a cup of vegetable broth. Salmon, on the other hand, is one of the most nutritious types of fish you can add to your mini meal plan.
It’s a great supplement for zinc, iron, B vitamins, in addition to being a host of other nutrients for good heart health. Three to four ounces of grilled salmon mixed with greens and 2 tablespoons of low-fat salad dressing can be an extremely healthy alternative.
- The Mid-Afternoon Meal
To keep you going in the afternoon, try a whole wheat pita with a cup of sliced carrots and hummus on the side. Dried fruits can make a good recharging mid-afternoon snack. Nuts such as cashews, walnuts and almonds reduce cholesterol levels and improve heart health.
- The Evening Substitute
A light evening snack will surely help you get through to your dinner without experiencing intolerable and untimely hunger pangs. You are allowed to repeat the tuna salad or anything that is easy on the stomach yet full of nutrition. If you want to opt for a small cheat snack like a veggie samosa, go right ahead. Just make sure to not go beyond one serving.
Leafy drinks are known to keep your bones strong because of their high magnesium, phosphorous and calcium constitution .
A small, 20-ounce green smoothie at this time is a great option. Made with only two pieces of fruit and a handful of greens, the mixture can be mildly filling and might also prevent you from overeating at dinner.
- Always Do It Right at Dinner
Compared to the calorie intake during lunch, your dinner should constitute only half of an entire midday portion. It should also be devoid of fat. This is because the metabolic rate slows down significantly at night and what you eat can get stored within the body instead of getting burnt off as energy.
A small dinner meal can consist of 2-3 ounces of beef tenderloin with a small plain-baked potato and single cup of steam broccoli. Shrimp kebabs with a generous mix of pepper, onions and mushrooms served with a cup of brown rice can also be a healthy dinner option for your 7 meals a day diet.
- The Last Meal!
You can finish your snacked-up day with a light meal consisting of 1.5 cups of unsweetened whole grain cereal dipped in 1 cup of non-fat milk and a small banana. 6 cups of air popped popcorn mixed with 30 peanuts can be another calculated alternative.You don’t necessarily have to eat exactly what is mentioned in this article. If you find it difficult to ward off hunger in between meals, ensure that you snack sensibly. Grab a granola bar or protein shake instead of unhealthy alternatives. Following this plan of 7 joyous meal times a day will ensure that you have as much energy and as little fat as possible.
By: Muhammad Shoaib