The average person believes that their diet should consist of three meals a day, while the idea of five meals a day has been introduced as a better option. So which of them is right – or at least right for you?
When it all comes down to it, it’s your preference and your choice that wins. This article will give you a closer look at the two options and let you decide for yourself.
Why Three Meals A Day?
It is unclear where the concept of three meals a day came from, but over the years we have learned that some form of consistency or regulated plan of eating is essential for good metabolism and weight control. The average person is awake for at least 15 hours a day, and food is essential for strength and energy during this time.
Three meals spaced out throughout the day works well for many people; breakfast gets them going in the morning, lunch carries them through midday and dinner takes them through the evening. It’s the bare minimum of food, but just enough to reduce hunger and give energy. For some people, however, 3 meals a day just aren’t enough.
Why Five Meals A Day
Instead of the traditional three-meal plan of breakfast, lunch and dinner; the five-meal plan includes breakfast, mid-morning meal, lunch, afternoon meal and dinner. These meals are meant to be smaller and, of course, healthier choices since you will be eating more frequently. You don’t want to consume more calories with more meals, hence the smaller portions.
The idea behind the 5-meal-a-day approach is that: 1) you will have less opportunity to get hungry, 2) your blood sugar levels won’t have a chance to dip between meals (leaving you tired and sleepy), 3) your energy will stay up and, most importantly, 4) your metabolism will constantly be fueled and help you to lose weight.
There is a lot of truth to this concept, because when you think about it, eating only three meals a day leaves a lot of people hungry, fatigued and overweight. If you have breakfast at, say, 7 am before you go to work, there’s a 5-hour gap before lunchtime.
Chances are you’re going to get really hungry before then and feel the urge to wolf down something to tide you over until lunchtime. Then there’s the period after lunch before dinnertime. People tend to eat dinner around 7 pm. Again, there’s a 5-hour gap. Have you ever noticed that after you eat lunch, somewhere around 2 or 3 pm you start to get really tired and sleepy?
Food is the fuel you need to keep your body energized, so either you can spot your meals with light snacks in between your regular-sized portion meals or you can switch to 5 meals a day of smaller healthy portions. When you start to feel sleepy in the early afternoon, it’s a sign that either you didn’t get enough sleep the night before or you need more food fuel. By this I mean energy-boosting foods; and the lighter, the better.
Foods that boost your energy levels and metabolism include fruits (especially citrus fruits), fiber-rich foods, veggies, whole grains, nuts, low-fat dairy products, lean meat, fatty fish and of course plenty of water. Also, avoid white, enriched and processed foods, which can quickly deplete your energy levels – not to mention, cause health problems down the road.