How Many times should you eat in a day?
Every where you look someone is saying 3 or 6 meals each day. Well, how about just eating as you get hungry. There honestly is no need to set a specific number of meals.
I obviously make sure to eat my 3 big meals each day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I also have a couple snacks (or even dessert sprinkled in) to tie me over until the next big meal. The key thing is to listen to your body. And when I say listen to your body – ask yourself do I feel full/satisfied? Do I have energy or do I feel tired after a meal? Do I feel sick after a meal? Ask yourself these questions and truly think about it. Your body will tell you, you just have to listen.
How much of carbs, fat, protein a day?
This is DIFFERENT FOR EVERYONE! But, here is a helpful guide:
45-65% – Need 6-10g per kg for athletes (5-7g/kg for moderate/low exercisers)
Sugar < 10% of total calories
Fiber 25-38g/day (Women more at the lower end and Men at the higher end)
I weigh 116lbs/52.6kg so I need: 315.6g-525g of carbs
- Healthy Carb Ideas: Quinoa with 22g of carbs in 1/2 cup, brown rice with 20g of carbs in 1/2 cup
I workout 4-5x week that includes HIIT and running, so my carbohydrate need will be sightly toward the higher end. I aim to have healthy carb options at every meal, especially with my meals before and after my workout. That is when I need 4:1 carbs to protein in my meal. For more workout nutrition click here!
It is important to keep in mind that our body needs carbohydrates! We need at minimum of 130g/day just for our brain and cells to function – basically to survive!
- 10-35% – Athletes need 1.2-1.7g/kg , Non-Athletes 0.8g/kg
Based on my weight I need a range of: 63.12g-89.42g of protein
- Healthy Protein Ideas: Chicken breast with 20ish grams of protein in 3-4oz, greek yogurt with 22g of protein in 1 cup, 17-20 medium sized shrimp is about 24g of protein, black beans with 8-9g of protein in 1/2 cup. *Typically there are 7-8g of protein per oz of meat
Again, since I am exercising often my needs are going to be towards the higher end. I don’t know the exact number I need, but it goes back to just listening to my body. Another important thing to keep in mind is to evenly distribute protein throughout the day. Most people don’t get enough protein at breakfast, get enough at lunch, and too much at dinner. Find a way to even that out by possibly adding nut butters or greek yogurt to breakfast for more protein. And remember, if you are on a high protein diet (I do not recommend this), make sure you are drinking enough water. Water is very important with high amounts of protein to break it down (peptide bonds between amino acids) and to excrete the extra nitrogen.
- 20-35% – Avoid trans fat, limit saturated fat to less than 10% of total calories, eat more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated
Essential fatty acids: Linoleic (Omega 6) 12-17g/day and Linolenic (Omega 3) 1.1-1.6g/day
Avoid trans fats: fried foods, cookies, fast food, shortening, stick margarine, and any foods that have hydrogenated oil in the ingredient list. *I am not a 100% clean eater because that’s unrealistic for me and occasionally I like to get fast food or fried food. I do two things when I eat something that is not so healthy, I don’t let myself feel guilty and I make sure to workout really hard that day or the day after.
Saturated Fat: high fat meats like bacon/ribs, whole milk daily products, butter, cream, tropical oils like coconut oil or palm oil. Limit to less than 10% of total calories, so if you eat a total of 2000 calories/day limit saturated fat to 20g/day.
Monounsaturated Fat: Olive oil, olives, canola oil, avocado, nuts, nut oils
Polyunsaturated: Seeds, seed oils, corn oil, soybean oil
Omega 6 sources: Corn , soybean, sunflower, safflower, grapeseed oil
Omega 3 sources: fish/fish oil, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts. You can meet the need of Linolenic by eating 1 tsp of chia seeds or 1 tbsp of flaxseed a day!
50-70% of our body is water, which is why you always hear people telling you to drink more water. The function of water is a biological solvent, transport medium, protection & lubrication, hydrolysis & condensation reaction, and to maintain body temperature.
Unfortunately, our thirst mechanism is delayed meaning if you feel thirsty you are most likely already dehydrated. To prevent this problem, you should water throughout the day. Don’t forget that there’s water in fruits and vegetables too!
Fluid needs for men: 3.7 liters/day (16 cups)
Fluid needs for women: 2.7 liters/day (11 cups)
The best method is by the color of your urine. The best color to aim for is pale yellow!
My meals for the day
Breakfast: 3 Ingredient Waffle with almond butter & raspberry jam, Kale smoothie
Snack: Homemade trail mix with dried apricots, dark chocolate, macadamia nuts, almonds
Lunch: 1/2 cup brown rice, 10-12 spears of asparagus, 20 medium shrimp with cilantro and lime, 1/4 sliced avocado
Snack: 2 Cuties
Early Dinner: White Bean Barley Salad with chicken (homemade dressing: olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, minced garlic)
Late dinner: *I honestly can’t remember what I had, but it was something yummy + healthy!*
Workout: 1 mile run + 45min HIIT
I hope you can take away one healthy tip that you will incorporate into your life! xoxo
**All the information is from my Advanced Nutrition class. Remember that everyone is different, so if you have any health conditions please speak with a RD! Find a Registered Dietitian near you here.