You’d think that for a chef, eating frequent meals wouldn’t be an issue. Yes, I understand the concept: Five small meals a day takes the edge off your appetite, evens out blood sugar levels, and keeps your energy steady. But I confess: I don’t always eat this way. Although my fitness trainer encourages me to eat healthy food every few hours, my meals usually look like this: coffee, a bit more coffee, lunch at 3 p.m., dinner at 9 p.m. Then I start over again the next morning.
Recently, I decided to try to change this bad habit. Here’s what I learned:
Plan ahead. Five meals a day equals breakfast, lunch, dinner, and two snacks. To do this right, you need to plan what you’ll eat every day for each “meal.” And you need to schedule eating every two to three hours.
Stock up. If you don’t have healthy food on hand, you’re going to grab whatever is closest, so before you try a five-meal-a-day program, stock up on good food: veggies, fruit, complex carbs, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese.
Go for taste. Choose snack foods that will sustain you and taste good. Think healthy and satisfying.
Whip up a smoothie: Blend fruit, milk, yogurt, and a little honey for a sweet, filling snack packed with vitamins, fiber, protein, and calcium.
Combine carbs and protein to stay full longer. Think whole wheat toast with peanut butter or a hard-boiled egg, whole grain pasta with olive oil and cheese, or oatmeal with fruit, milk, and honey. Or make yourself a big pot of healthy soup (like my Tuscan chicken soup) to heat up for lunches or snacks.