Eating 5 to 6 healthy weight loss meals a day may not sound like a way to shed the pounds weight but Grace, who is 19, tried it out and was pleasantly surprised by the results! Read her report:
As a student living away from home for the first time, a few months ago I found my hunger and eating habits had gone downhill.
I was only getting 3 portions of fruit and veg a day at the most, having a high-fat cheese toasty as a snack and always cooking too much pasta, meaning I’d end up eating two portions instead of one.
I felt bloated and sluggish all the time and the effects on my weight were really starting to show.
Healthy Weight Loss with 6 Small Meals A Day
One day I read an article about celebrity meal plans. The main theme was eating small meals regularly throughout the day, so I decided to give it a go.
The idea is to eat when you feel hungry, but only eat until your body is content rather than full.
If you eat every 2-3 hours your metabolism rises because your body is regularly supplied with food so is continuously using energy to digest. You also have a steady energy level, as eating frequently keeps your glucose levels stable.
This is definitely something I’ve benefitted from – when I ate 3 big meals a day, often half-way through the afternoon my blood sugar levels would dip making me feel tired and weak so to perk myself up I’d have a chocolate bar or cake. On the small healthy diet meals routine, that never happens.
The key to success with healthy weight loss meals is to keep the portions small. The term ‘meal’ in this context doesn’t have to be your standard protein, carbs and veg meal; it can just refer to a snack.
Healthy Weight Loss Meals for a Day
This is a typical day of meals for me:
- 9am – bowl of porridge with handful of chopped dried apricots
- 11am – apple
- 1pm – bowl of soup (about 225ml/1 cup)
- 3pm – carrot sticks with low fat hummus
- 5:30pm – chicken and broccoli stir fry with wholegrain rice
- 8pm – small pot low fat or fat-free yogurt
This might not sound like a lot of food , but trust me, once you’ve been following a routine like this for a couple of weeks it feels like the perfect amount of food.
It takes a little while to get used to – because you don’t normally have such small portions you start to get hungry quickly, so when it’s time for your next meal you think you want a lot of food.
But by eating slowly, I find that a smaller quantity is enough to satisfy my hunger until it’s time to eat again – there’s never very long to wait.
I found this worked for me – I would feel really hungry around lunch time, so make myself a big bowl of soup, but by eating slowly I would have had enough before I’d even finished it.
Remember, the plan will only work if you eat small portions. And don’t worry, you’ll soon find that as your metabolism increases you will only need a little something to fill you up again.
People often think stopping to prepare and eat 6 meals a day will be time consuming, but really all you need is to do a little bit of planning ahead and it easily achievable.
Remember, your meals don’t have to be complex – it’s their size and how often you eat them that’s important! I’ve included some ideas to help you out.
Healthy Weight Loss Meals – Breakfast
A healthy breakfast is a great opportunity to get in some of your essential food groups like fruit and dairy. It also kick starts your metabolism for the day so it’s important you don’t miss it out. Try some of these:
– Plain low fat or fat-free yogurt with chopped banana, a swirl of honey and a sprinkle of nuts.
– Fresh fruit salad made with strawberries, blueberries and orange segments.
– Cereal low in sugar like muesli or cornflakes – add blueberries or strawberries to sweeten. Make sure you use semi-skimmed or skimmed (skim or 2% fat) milk for a low fat portion of dairy produce.
– Porridge with dried fruit – add 225ml/1 cup water , low fat milk or a mixture of the two to 40g/¼ cup oats then put in the microwave for 2 minutes for a speedy but filling breakfast.
– Half a 420g-can (1/2 cup) of reduced sugar and salt baked beans on a slice of wholemeal toast – not only do the beans count towards your five portions of veg, they’re also a good source of fiber and iron.
– Poached egg on wholemeal toast with grilled tomatoes – a soft-boiled egg with wholemeal soldiers is another healthy egg option
– If you like bacon avoid streaky and go for 2 rashers of unsmoked back bacon – trim off the fat, cook under the grill (broil) and soak up any remaining fat with kitchen paper when cooked.
Healthy Weight Loss Meals – Lunch Ideas
I love to have soup for lunch because it’s really easy to make yourself by cooking up some fresh vegetables in stock or water and blending. If you want to buy soup, fresh varieties are a better choice than canned. Look for low fat varieties, that don’t include cream or yogurt in the ingredients.
If you want something more substantial for lunch try:
– Chicken or tuna salad – remember the dressing needs to be kept healthy so avoid mayonnaise and salad cream. Instead mix Instead mix 2-3 tsp of sunflower oil with the juice of half a lemon and season for a quick, light dressing, or mix 1 tbsp soy sauce with the juice of half a lime for an Asian flavor – a garnish of chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) is also good with this.
– Sandwiches – use wholemeal bread and again, avoid the mayonnaise. Tinned salmon or sardines are great as a source of protein and omega 3 fats – add salad leaves to squeeze in an extra portion of veg. Try using soft flour tortillas as a lighter alternative to bread
Healthy Weight Loss Meals – Dinner Ideas
It’s important you don’t fall at the last hurdle of the day – dinner time. Keep portions of carbohydrates small – a handful of pasta, rice or couscous is enough.
Give dessert a miss too – it’s likely you eat it out of habit and your body doesn’t actually need it. If you still find later in the evening you’re after something sweet, have a yogurt or some fruit.
Here are some dinner ideas:
– Thai green chicken curry with wholegrain rice – use a few teaspoons of Thai curry paste mixed with low fat cream cheese for the healthy option. If you want to keep that coconut flavour, add a few tablespoons of coconut milk – try not to use too much as it’s quite high in fat, although you can buy low fat versions.
– Pasta with roast vegetables – chop up peppers, aubergines, courgettes and onions, coat in a little sunflower oil and sprinkle on some mixed herbs then bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. If you find the pasta is too dry, mix in some tinned chopped tomatoes or passata.
– Salmon stir-fry with noodles and spinach – coat chunks of salmon fillet with a marinade of soy sauce and Chinese 5 spice. Heat a little sunflower oil in a frying pan then cook the salmon – add cooked noodles and spinach, then toss until the spinach has wilted.
Healthy Snack Ideas
Snacks are often associated with unhealthy foods like crisps, cookies or chocolate bars, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Fruit is always great to have as a snack but you can be more imaginative with some of these suggestions:
– Sticks of carrot, cucumber or pepper with hummus – cut up vegetables at the beginning of the week and separate hummus into small pots so that it’s easy to take with you
– Breadsticks with guacamole – this is really easy to make at home – mash up an avocado and add lemon juice, chopped chilli and crushed garlic for a simple guacamole recipe
– Oatcakes with cheese – although cheese is high in fat it’s also a good source of calcium. A piece of cheddar the size of a small matchbox is the recommended serving size
– Beans on toast – although this is more of a breakfast dish it can be a great snack too – keep it small by having one slice of wholemeal bread and a third of a can of baked beans
Eating these healthy weight loss meals will make it easy to stick to a 5-6 meal a day plan.
It’s helped me to eat a more balanced diet with more fruit and veg, and has resulted in a flatter stomach which makes me feel great! Try it out and see what a good effect it will have on you.