A diet plan focused on eating six small meals per day is based on the idea that decreasing the amount of time between meals increases metabolism. In addition, and perhaps more importantly for some, eating more often helps keep you from getting overly hungry. This type of eating program takes some planning, but it has proved successful for many when it comes to weight loss.
Determine Daily Calories
You will first need to determine your daily calorie intake so that you can divide this evenly among your six meals. Write down everything you eat for about 3 days. Use this to determine a total caloric intake for each day and then determine an average for the 3 days combined. This is your starting point. In order to lose 1 lb. per week, which is considered healthy, reduce your daily caloric intake by 500 calories, but plan not to take in fewer than 1,200 calories per day. For example, if you find you consume 2,000 calories on most days, reduce your intake to 1,500 calories. Now divide this number by six which gives you 250. Each of your mini-meals should contain about 250 calories.
Time Your Meals
Determine an eating schedule for your small meals, and stick to it as much as possible. For example, have your first meal at 7 a.m., your second meal at 10 a.m. and your third meal around noon. A schedule such as 2 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. is good for the evening if you tend to go to sleep between 10 and 11 p.m. If your schedule is different, simply plan out your meals so that there are 2 to 3 hours between each one throughout your day.
Balance the Foods You Eat
Each meal should contain a protein and a carbohydrate source as well as being focused on fresh fruits and vegetables. Some examples containing about 250 calories include two scrambled eggs, 3/4 cup halved strawberries and a cup of skim milk; one serving steel cut oats (1/4 cup dry) with 1 tsp. of brown sugar and one banana; a salad of 2 cups mixed greens with 3 oz. of grilled chicken and 1 tbsp. of olive oil; or a small apple with 2 tbsp. of almond butter.
Eat a variety of foods throughout the day to keep your meals exciting and satisfying. Plan ahead, because if you work outside the home, you will be eating most of your small meals at your work place. Invest in sealable containers and an insulated lunch bag or cooler that is large enough to hold all of your food for the day. If you find your days are very busy and skipping meals is a problem, set some type of timer that will notify each time you need to eat your small meal.