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View Full Version : Help with "Small Meals More Often" strategy


Bibliothèque
09-03-2010, 03:52 PM
This has been mentioned before on the general weight-loss threads, but I thought it could use its own thread to keep things organized and easy to find, as well as go into more detail without taking over a general-subject thread.

For those who don't know, this thread is about eating smaller meals several times a day instead of large (or "normal") meals two or three times a day to help your metabolism run more smoothly.

Problem: "My roommate/family/significant other/live-in chef eats two or three times a day, and we usually have a large, communal dinner where it is difficult to take small portions. How do I keep the dinners in line with the rest of the plan without insulting anyone involved in making the meal?"
Suggestions: ??? Try asking ahead of time (if you can) to set aside your own portions during the cooking process, or between the cooking and the meal, maybe?

Problem: "I can't cook small batches of food (unless you count cold cereal), and individual pre-cooked mini-meals are too expensive to eat every day, let alone for most meals. How do I even get all of these small meals?"
Suggestions: Cook large meals evey so often, but instead of eating them divide them into measured portions in plastic bags or small tupperware containers. You can even use several three-ounce or smaller containers tied or bagged together so you have pre-made meals, or can mix and match the sides with the entrees.

Problem: "I don't have time to eat six meals a day with all my classes/work/Facebooking/watching paint dry because nothing good is on TV/watching paint dry because I'll have to sand it down and re-paint it if it gets a bubble or some dust falls on it!"
Suggestions: Same as above. Find a place where you are allowed to eat, even if you can only stay there for a couple of minutes at a time, and use small containers with locking lids, or a thermos, in your bookbag, purse, or desk drawer. Try making foods that combine food groups, like chicken salad with (fresh or jarred, not canned) mandarin orange slices. On really hectic days, although I suggest it be used as rarely as possible, try making "astronaut food" that you can eat while walking, like yoghurt or oatmeal with fruit stored in a sealable pastry or icing bag (free of icing, of course). Trail mix can also be eaten one-handed, or from a wide-mouthed bottle.

Problem: "I forget to eat until someone tells me to, then I eat like a ravenous bear in a salmon cannery! How do I keep from doing this?"
Suggestions: Try keeping a pocket notebook to plan ahead for which meals you will eat at which times and check them off when you finish each one throughout the day. If you are chronically forgetful, or you have a schedule which varies by day, try setting alarms on your mobile phone, computer, or even a memory chime for the days that you know your schedule ahead of time. (I seriously need to work on this one.)

Problem: "I. Hate. Wasting food. How do I keep from eating the giant portions restaurants give me before I can order a to-go box?"
Suggestions: Ask for a takeout box or to-go box when you order your food, and put what you don't plan to eat in it before the meal. The waitstaff shouldn't be insulted unless it's a really high-class place that doesn't hand out to-go boxes to the tables, and if it is, you might be able to request that a portion of your food be pre-packed to be taken home and given to you along with the bill (exceptions include restaurants where presentation is an important part of the service).

So, any other problems or suggested solutions? I covered it about as thoroughly as I could.

distantarray
09-03-2010, 04:05 PM
Should also add if you don't have time or have the lazy factoring in, that you can pre-make some protein shakes for the next few days and keep it chilled in the fridge, so if your gonna skip meal you can have a cold glass of protein shake instead. Which the great flavors out these days, it's not treating yourself to a glass of chocolate milk every time your too lazy to make food =)

(slim fast, ensure, and carnations instant breakfast don't count, high carbs, low protein will make you hungry faster, plus the cost is 4-6x worse)

Kasinator
09-03-2010, 05:21 PM
moreover, think of them as large sncks rather than meals if that makes any sense. the biggest metabolism booster of them all ( as weird as this sounds ) is eating before bed. why??? Because that's the longest period of time you go without eating! you have to keep the fire burning so to speak. I suggest eating a bowl of low fat cottage cheese because of its great source of casein proteins ( special slow digesting proteins ).

saiyamanmasenko
09-04-2010, 07:12 AM
moreover, think of them as large sncks rather than meals if that makes any sense. the biggest metabolism booster of them all ( as weird as this sounds ) is eating before bed. why??? Because that's the longest period of time you go without eating! you have to keep the fire burning so to speak. I suggest eating a bowl of low fat cottage cheese because of its great source of casein proteins ( special slow digesting proteins ).

Sorry, but this comment made me think of the episode of Metalocalypse when the band members need to lose weight. People can watch that episode and get the bare bones of what not to do because they do all the wrong things. They eat only one (VERY LARGE) meal a day and then go straight to bed, the fill the rest of the day with popsicles that they assume are just tastey water, and they eventually start hiding in closets to eat extra meals (more food than they normally do). What is wrong? Well, popsicles are tons of extra sugar, the large meal before bed is too much to try digesting, the single meal a day slows their meyabolisms to nil, and the pigging out just adds extra calories to an overly-slow metabolism.

Sorry, Kassinator. Didn't mean to ramble so much, lol.

Rjr3412
09-04-2010, 12:13 PM
One of the most useful things I've found for making sure you eat all your meals throughout the day is by scheduling your meals.

Its gotten to the point at work that my coworkers will tease me for starting one of my "meals" a minute or two early or late. I try to eat at about 7:15, 10:00, 1:00, 2:00, 4:30, 5:30, 9:00. While you may notice that these are not evenly spread out, they are also not evenly sized.
I try to schedule it to make sure I get some carbs digested before each workout, but a minimal amount after a workout.

Basically just find times that work for you, plan ahead and stick to it.

@Kas - Eating before bed can be highly dependent on the person. As you are a self-confirmed ecto, a hard gainer, this is an extremely useful trick to keep your metabolism working and away from catabolism during the night. But others who are trying to lose weight need to be very careful with carbs at night. If you aren't using them they basically turn to fat (oversimplified yes, but basically accurate).

invalid101
09-04-2010, 08:31 PM
Sorry, but this comment made me think of the episode of Metalocalypse when the band members need to lose weight. People can watch that episode and get the bare bones of what not to do because they do all the wrong things. They eat only one (VERY LARGE) meal a day and then go straight to bed, the fill the rest of the day with popsicles that they assume are just tastey water, and they eventually start hiding in closets to eat extra meals (more food than they normally do). What is wrong? Well, popsicles are tons of extra sugar, the large meal before bed is too much to try digesting, the single meal a day slows their meyabolisms to nil, and the pigging out just adds extra calories to an overly-slow metabolism.

Sorry, Kassinator. Didn't mean to ramble so much, lol.

-You are all disgusting!
-Even Tokis?

Brand
09-04-2010, 11:12 PM
moreover, think of them as large sncks rather than meals if that makes any sense. the biggest metabolism booster of them all ( as weird as this sounds ) is eating before bed. why??? Because that's the longest period of time you go without eating! you have to keep the fire burning so to speak. I suggest eating a bowl of low fat cottage cheese because of its great source of casein proteins ( special slow digesting proteins ).

To add to this eat something very high in fiber before bed. In fact I'm fond of cottage cheese with added fiber.

distantarray
09-05-2010, 01:49 AM
I'm kinda mixed on the idea of cottage cheese before bed cause it's high in carbs, carb cycling can be very effective way to lose weight, and in doing so you should eat little to no carbs at night (unless right after a workout)

before and after a workout meals full of carbs are great, and after you wake up, before bed it's usually better to avoid carbs if your really looking to lose weight, 4-6 ounces of lean meats with veggies will do just fine, and steaks can take just as long to digest.

Epiphanous
09-09-2010, 02:25 PM
So question: what are some examples of a 'small meal'? I've tried losing weight before using the small meal idea but I'm pretty sure I was always eating too much.

Rjr3412
09-09-2010, 03:34 PM
A small meal kinda depends on just how "clean" you want to eat, and how many calories you are aiming for.

Lets say you are aiming for 1800 calories a day. This in addition to an exercise regimen should enable most people to lose fat.

With six meals, each meal would need to be ~300 calories on average.

A smallish sandwich - 2-3 slices of lean meat, wheat/rye bread, mustard or other low calorie condiment, and maybe a lower fat slice of cheese. This is a simple, well rounded "meal". Provides a good source of carbs, decent amount of protein, and some healthy-ish fats. Easy to pack and carry around.

A "clean" meal. Could be a piece of lean chicken/turkey/tuna about 4-5oz, and some steamed veggies or wild rice (amount depends on choice).

A snack type meal (that I like), about half a cup of peanuts and a bananna. I like this shortly before my evening workout.

Mainly its just finding the right portion size, and sticking with it. American servings, in most restaurants will provide anywhere from 1-2 days worth of calories in one meal. Harsh.

What you really need to do though is find a couple healthy sources of proteins, some decent carbs, and make sure you get some good fats in there too. You need a well rounded diet until you get into the fancy things, but for long term you want to get some of everything.

distantarray
09-09-2010, 04:16 PM
So question: what are some examples of a 'small meal'? I've tried losing weight before using the small meal idea but I'm pretty sure I was always eating too much.

small meals I'd probably say about 1.2x the size of your fist (approximate) unless you have unusually big hands and feet compared to your body this is probably a generally good idea.

basically small meals you gotta watch out about what you eat, fish chicken and steaks are generally good, probably cut a 12 ounce steak dinner in 2-3 portions (depending on the size of the side dishes) should be good.

Also remember things like protein shakes + some fruit and a tablespoon of peanut butter can also count as a meal, I find if I get a good shake with 2 scoops I won't be hungry for probably another 2 hours esp if it was mixed with milk and with a spoon of peanut butter.

Togo boxes are your friend, and also small Asian lunch boxes are probably good way to measure, but remember Asian lunch boxes aren't made to be filled all the way to the top either 3/4 should be fine.

Epiphanous
09-11-2010, 12:11 AM
Ok, thanks Rjr3412 and distantarray ^_^ All of that information was very helpful, especially the size-of-your-fist tidbit. I'm going to use that as a reference point from now on :)

Zouziias
11-04-2010, 09:47 PM
-deleted what was here-

tsuoi_kaze
11-07-2010, 09:48 PM
Togo boxes are your friend, and also small Asian lunch boxes are probably good way to measure, but remember Asian lunch boxes aren't made to be filled all the way to the top either 3/4 should be fine.

I've seen tons of different small-ish sizes for the Asian lunchboxes, so about what size should I look for? Those would be perfect for cooking regular sized meals and then separating into small portions for later, just grab and go.

distantarray
11-08-2010, 10:57 AM
I've seen tons of different small-ish sizes for the Asian lunchboxes, so about what size should I look for? Those would be perfect for cooking regular sized meals and then separating into small portions for later, just grab and go.

pretty much all the small lunch boxes are properly portioned, just don't stack like 3 together :p

general rule of thumb, eat til your not hungry, but dont' eat til your full and tired.

tsuoi_kaze
11-08-2010, 04:07 PM
pretty much all the small lunch boxes are properly portioned, just don't stack like 3 together :p

general rule of thumb, eat til your not hungry, but dont' eat til your full and tired.

Thanks :D I might head over to one of the Asian markets tomorrow and pick some up.

KamenRiderAgito
11-08-2010, 05:44 PM
I've seen tons of different small-ish sizes for the Asian lunchboxes, so about what size should I look for? Those would be perfect for cooking regular sized meals and then separating into small portions for later, just grab and go.

My bento is about 480 mL. Seems like a pretty good size to me.

melloki
11-10-2010, 10:53 PM
For those looking into buying a bento box, here's a site with useful tips on figuring out what size you should get!
http://lunchinabox.net/2007/03/07/guide-to-choosing-the-right-size-bento-box/

Chocolahime
11-11-2010, 10:35 AM
What I do is I make a casserole or something and just nibble away at that for a while. Take about half a piece you would usually take, add a side (I most often use frozen veggies since they are so quick) and there you go.
Also remember you don't really need a "meal". I just eat whenever I am hungry until I'm not hungry. Sometimes I eat a 1/4 cup of veggies, other time a larger dinner. It's kind of just constant snacking.

A trick I use is that I only eat off kids size plates and bowls, that way even if I load up my plate I am getting a pretty small amount of food. When I finish one bowl/plate I wait a few minutes and see if I really need to go back for another plate or if I'm really full.Your belly is a bit slow so if you don't wait for it to tell you you can risk over eating.

chinna
11-12-2010, 01:01 PM
I was doing good on eating small portions until fall lacrosse season started. Since then after my games I feel starved and so I eat a lot. Last week I tried eating a lower fat than avg burrito before my games but still after the last game I felt starved and was asking to eat lunch again. I'm not really sure what I should do? Should I eat like something high in protein like a banana after the game?

Loplod
11-12-2010, 06:30 PM
I was doing good on eating small portions until fall lacrosse season started. Since then after my games I feel starved and so I eat a lot. Last week I tried eating a lower fat than avg burrito before my games but still after the last game I felt starved and was asking to eat lunch again. I'm not really sure what I should do? Should I eat like something high in protein like a banana after the game?

First of all, That's awesome :bigtu:

As for the eating side, If you are playing pretty hard out then you can almost treat it like a workout. And what do we do with workouts? Pre workout and post workout supps. In other words brotien shakes!

Otherwise, Yes high protein things are what you are looking for, Because the reason your body is craving food is because it needs protein to help repair and restore your muscles. Just remember to eat for nutrition, you don't NEED a whole 3 course meal. What you need is just some good food in your belly to keep you going.

chinna
11-12-2010, 09:35 PM
@loplod thx I will definately do this on sunday. I'll try protein shake before, banana in between, and oatmeal wen I get home.

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