If the standard three-meals a day isn’t working for you, whether it be because you feel hungry and find yourself snacking on empty calories all day or because you are looking for a little diversity, we have the solution for you. Turn your three meals into six! This may sound counter-intuitive but eating six mini meals each day instead of three large meals can add variety to your diet and help you feel fuller leading to better health overall.

Forget the word “snack”

The word snack often conjures up images of low-nutrition foods that come out of the vending machine, like chips or candy bars. These types of snack won’t help you lose weight and aren’t encouraged as part of a healthy diet. If you rethink your foods as mini meals, it may help you retrain your brain to think all the food you eat should be nutritious.

Double the meals doesn’t mean double the portions

The number of calories you take in each day should stay the same whether you are eating three meals or six. If you are adding meals to your day, you should be downsizing portions for all your meals. Each meal should be an opportunity to add variety, balance your diet and include proper amounts of protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats as well as essential vitamins and minerals.

More Is Less

The health benefits of eating more meals are clear. Studies show people who eat more meals tend to eat a wider variety of foods and are more likely to meet their daily nutritional needs. Eating frequently may also help control your appetite, which in turn could help you control your weight. And by breaking up your three big meals into six smaller meals spaced evenly throughout the day, you may be able to better regulate your blood sugar.

Spacing out

When your blood sugar level drops, the urge to reach for unhealthy snacks rises in order to satisfy your hunger. These cravings can get you into dietary trouble if they happen too often. Grabbing a quick carb loaded snack may bring your blood sugar up quickly, but carb heavy foods don’t keep you satiated, and your levels will crash again quickly. Eating several small, balanced meals throughout the day can help stabilize your blood sugar so you can say bye-bye to the energy highs and lows.

Choose foods your body can use

Diversity is key. In order to get all the nutrients you need, balance your plates. If your morning meal contained protein rich dairy, get your protein from another source at your next meal like canned tuna or beans. Choosing a variety of foods will help you keep your diet balanced and keep you from being bored with the same old routine.

The key to the mini-meal approach is to pack your meals with enough nutritional punch and fiber to sustain yourself without adding a lot of unnecessary saturated fat and calories.

Question: What meal plan works best for you?