February 01, 2011

Ask the Nutritionist: How often should I eat?

Reader Tammy had emailed me awhile ago about some nutrition questions.  One of them is how often should I eat? This is a common question asked by people trying to lose weight or be healthy and the answers can vary greatly.  The information that I will give you is what I personally do and will not necessarily work for everyone.  I eat 6 times a day: 3 meals and three snacks. Read more about it below.

Breakfast- I wake up in the morning and try to eat breakfast within an hour or hour and a half of waking up.  This has taken some getting used to for me because I used to skip breakfast for as long as I could.  I quickly learned that this was only causing my blood sugar to drop and then I would feel sick.  Also, when you don't eat for a certain period of time, your body will start to store fat and your metabolism will drop.

Typical Breakfasts-
-Flavored oatmeal with peanut butter
-A fried egg on whole wheat toast with a slice of Muenster cheese with ketchup
-A toasted English muffin with jelly and a banana on the side

Mid-Morning Snack- I almost always eat at least one mid-morning snack but usually two.  If I do wait until lunch to eat, my blood sugar has already dropped and I am starving.  I aim to have a couple 100-150 calorie snacks.

Typical Mid-Morning Snacks-
-Granny smith apple
-Chopped cantaloupe
-Celery sticks
-150 calorie or less granola bar

Lunch- I usually keep my lunch relatively small because I like to have a lot of snacks so I don't like to get too filled up.  It is important to get some protein, whole grains, and vegetables in this meal.  I also like to include a piece of fruit.

Typical Lunches-
-Turkey, hummus, and veggies rolled up in a tortilla
-Peanut butter and reduced sugar jam on whole wheat bread
-A salad with a bunch of chopped veggies, shredded Parmesan cheese, and chopped walnuts with balsamic vinegar dressing

Mid-Afternoon Snack- I like to use this snack to help get me through my work day.  This is usually between 1:30-2:30 PM. I try to make it fun and something that really appeals to me.  I keep these at around 150 calories each.

Typical Mid-Afternoon Snacks-
-A few cups of popped light popcorn
-Coffee with 3/4 cup skim milk, cinnamon, and a little whipped cream
-Emerald cocoa dusted almonds

Dinner- This tends to be my heartiest meal of the day.  I often eat with my husband and he mostly likes the same foods that I do so this makes cooking easy.  I like to include some form of protein, carbohydrate, and vegetable into this meal.

Typical Dinners-
-Bean, cheese, and corn enchiladas
-Chicken and vegetable stir-fry over brown rice
-Whole grain pasta with tomato sauce and added broccoli, onions, and green peppers.

Evening Snack- I tend to keep my evening snacks small probably because I am full from eating all day long. I usually add a cup of decaf tea along with whatever snack that I have. This is usually also my junk food snack of the day.

Typical Evening Snacks-
-1 cup frozen grapes
-1/2 cup light ice cream
-1 serving Goldfish
-1 slice toast with peanut butter
-Tortilla chips and salsa

I hope you enjoy this post as much as I loved writing it! Please comment or email me with any questions.

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  1. Really good tips. I always eat within 1 hour of getting up like you said so my blood sugar doesn't drop. I snack all day as well. My fav snacks are Luna Bars, apple with natural p.b, celery with natural p.b, and Greek Yogurt!

  2. I found you at at TTT Tuesday Blog Hop and I just wanted to say Hello!

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  3. Interesting tips!!

    I am blog hopping today and thought I would stop by your blog.

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    Have a Happy and Blessed Tuesday! :0)

  4. Love this post!

    I'm a new follower :). Check me out!


  5. This is my kind of blog. Oatmeal and peanut butter, that's a new one and I love it. New follower here. Hope you'll come visit and follow me too. Mine is a new blog, smile. Have a great Tuesday and keep up the great blogging.


  6. very similar to how I eat, nice to know :o)

  7. Thanks for visiting my blog. Hmmm nutrionst hugh??? I need all the help I could get! I am in a rut & have no energy or desire to do anything...especally diet. I need to lose 75+ lbs. Looking forward to your posts

  8. Thanks for all the great tips and info! I'm always looking for ways to "aspire" to eat healthy. New follower from Follow Me chickadee.


  9. I am so grateful to have found you!

    Thanks so much for stopping by Carrigan's Joy; I'm now following you, and I hope to learn a great deal from you!

  10. Following you via Momsreview4you Wednesday Blog Hop. Hope you will follow me too @ http://masalabowl.blogspot.com/

  11. Hi - thanks for visiting Family Literacy today. I was looking over your menu thinking I'm so hungry! LOL - Not sure what I'm going to eat tonight. Thinking something with chicken breast. I don't usually eat until late at night and then it's fairly light. I'm a snacker like you are and it bothers me if I eat too heavily - been like that since I was a little kid. Unlike you, I just grab whatever grabs my attention - I just don't keep junk food in the house.

  12. I absolutely need to be eating better. I have been terrible with this pregnancy! The lunch looks yummy! Visiting from AB's thirsty for comments!

  13. Great tips! I'm newly on weight watchers and I've been worried b/c I'm eating so often, but like you, I'm having small low calorie snacks, so so far so good.

  14. Great blog! New follower, follow me back at http://sew-chic-designs.blogspot.com/ :)

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  16. Thanks for the good tips. I always wonder these kind of things.


  17. thanks for visiting my site!

    i love this post! i am always interested in how people are striving to eat healthy and live healthy lifestyles. i learn so much! thanks for sharing what you do. i may have to copy some of your snack/meal ideas! yum!

  18. This is such a great post! I loved seeing your snack/meal ideas. Thanks for stopping by my blog! :)

    ~ Shay @ WonderfullyChaotic.com

  19. really good tips.

    I tend to skip breakfast most of the time & it really does nothing for me! I know this is an awful habit and that I should break myself of it.

    I came by via the hop - congrats on being featured! I am now follwoing


  20. Hi following from wednesday bloghop! This is great advice!! I'm always looking for blogs having to do with nutrition and exercise!! Please follow me at :


  21. Wow you eat 6 small meals a day. That's too much for me as I only eat once or twice daily. Intermittent fasting has worked the best to fight off my TMAU odors.


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