For me it changes depending on the day's schedule and the exercise I have planned.
I'm usually doing 4 smaller meals (the fourth one falls mid-morning or mid-afternoon depending on when I exercise) and maybe a smaller snack. 5 meals and a snack used to work for me but I find that I'm not interested in eating that many times a day anymore.
Try it for a week or so both ways or different ways and see what works for you.
go with whatever your preference/habit is. for me, i eat about eight times a day because i am a grazer. i like having a tiny bit of everything a little bit at a time. i'm never stuffed this way and i'm never really hungry this way. and i get to try some of everything and don't have to decide between stew or chinese for dinner [i have small portions of both a few hours apart]. it really works for me and satisfies me. when i have tried to eat three square meals, i get stuffed at mealtimes and starving an hour later. but that's me. other people don't do well with snacks but do do well on three squares.
the key is to adjust the amount you're eating to how often you're eating. if you want to eat three times a day, you're going to have to eat about 500 cals a go if you're aiming to get to 1500 cals. if you're aiming to at six times a day, you'll have to stick to 250 cals a pop in order for it to work. if you try and eat 250 cals three times a day or 500 cals six times a day, you'll run into problems. it's less important which way works for you, than the totals at the end of the day add up.
3 light meals, 3 snacks will balance your blood sugar and provide not only energy all day but help to stave off cravings, especially.... Always eat a carb and a protein 2 hours before bedtime to balance your blood sugar
I eat 6 times a day. Breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, dessert.
There are no shortcuts. No magic bullets. No secret spells. What works is hard work, dedication, and a daily dose of chocolate.
Fitness Minutes: (20,400)
2,704 11/20/12 11:19 P
Three square meals and snacks as appropriate throughout the day.
Stats: Female, 5'4", 28 years old.
Goal: From 152 (07/24/2011) to 125 by December, 2011. DONE! December 4th weighed in at 124. In 2012 I've been maintaining around 122, which is a thirty pound loss. My BMI has gone from 26.1 to 20.9 since following the Spark plan!
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Fitness Minutes: (35,355)
23,189 11/20/12 9:45 P
I usually do 3 smallish meals with 2-4 snacks, but some of those snacks are occasionally like a small meal in themselves.
I am not a Dr - please check with your qualified Health Professional for a diagnosis and treatment plan
Fitness Minutes: (38,360)
5,092 11/20/12 9:28 P
I eat every few hours, roughly 5 or 6 times per day - breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, and sometimes something small an hour after dinner if I feel like it. It works for me.
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