Feb 2, 2012
The secret? Each mini meal should blend protein and fiber-rich complex carbohydrates. "Protein and fiber give you that feeling of satiety and keep you from feeling hungry," says Tara Geise, R.D., a nutritionist in private practice in Orlando and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association (ADA).
Controlling hunger shrinks your gut. In a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, one group of overweight men was given five small meals, then was free to choose a sixth meal. A second group ate a single meal containing the same number of calories as the total of the other group's first five meals, then later had a free-choice second meal. The six-meal men ate 27 percent less food at their last meal than the two-meal men did at their second.
Consistent eating will also keep your protein levels high, helping you build muscle. "Your body can metabolize only so much protein at one time," says Katherine Tallmadge, R.D., author of Diet Simple. "Protein is metabolized better when it's divided evenly."
The challenge is keeping the mini meals mini. "It's critical that at the end of the day, the calorie content of your mini meals does not exceed what you would eat in three larger meals,If you already know your calorie count, start eating.