Food guidelines for switching from three to five meals a day.
In Interval Weight Loss, one of Australia’s leading obesity researchers, Dr Nick Fuller, explains how you can trick your body into working back towards its tuned set body weight. Among the meal plans and mouth-watering recipes, Fuller suggests tips for organising your eating life. Here he offers insights into a basic shift that can have you eating better instantly.
I believe that five meals a day should form the basis of your meal plan, rather than the standard three. The majority of your food intake should be in the first half of the day, so that your appetite will not be as great in the afternoon or evening. As American author and nutritionist Adelle Davis said, ‘Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.’ Breakfast should be your biggest meal and dinner your smallest. This means you will now need to eat dinner off small crockery, such as a bread and butter plate, or from a rice bowl.
Whenever you are hungry, you should eat. And each day your food intake should be based on the following:
1. Unlimited fruit and vegetables (all are suitable but enjoy a variety).
2. Plenty (minimum 2–3 serves) of skim or low-fat dairy (milk and yoghurt, preferably skim/no fat or low fat options, but watch out for no fat/low fat yoghurt that is higher in added sugar). Keep your cheese intake to a maximum of once per week, which still allows you to enjoy a little!
3. Handful of nuts (preferably walnuts or almonds) and seeds (approximately 30g or 12 nuts).
4. Inclusion of a ‘wholegrain’ carbohydrate with three meals per day (for example, wholegrain bread). Wholegrain foods contain all components of the original grain seed (i.e. the bran, germ and endosperm). All of these must be present for food to qualify as wholegrain.
5. Inclusion of lean or ‘heart smart’ cuts of meat (trim all visible forms of fat off the meat), or fish of any type. Plenty of fish (tinned tuna or salmon is an easy and convenient option for increasing your fish intake), and have legumes of any type, or eggs, each day. You should select one of these to accompany each of the three main meals.
6. Treats such as ice-cream and chocolate no more than once a week.
7. Fast food or dining out no more than once a week.