food

Which is better: three main meals or lots of small meals?

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I reached breaking point last week.

I was told that eating many small meals throughout the day was actually good for you, despite this being poo pooed over the last few years in favour of limited snacking and three main meals.

I was furious, not only because this was a very good example of even MORE conflicting nutritional advice, but also because I had specifically changed my eating habits based on the “eat big meals and fast more” advice.

I was confused, I was overwhelmed, and I was very, very hungry.

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So I spoke to Sydney City Nutritionist Jennifer May (aka someone who does food for a living) to get a definitive answer once and for all on this health dilemma, and many other food-related “facts” we’ve all heard over the years.

She fed me some carrots and sturdy information, which hopefully clears things up for everyone who is just as confused as me.

Claim: Eating small meals is good for you

Fact: Do what feels good for you.

Jennifer said that as long as you’re getting enough protein, vegetables and carbohydrates, it really doesn’t matter if you’re having them in three big meals, or many small meals. This means eating six serves of vegetables (a serving is a handful) per day and stopping when you’ve had enough.

I will promptly be returning to eating like the grazing rabbit I truly am.

Claim: Skipping breakfast is the worst thing you can do

Fact: You can skip breakfast, just make sure the first thing you eat is nutritious.

The jury is still out on whether skipping breakfast is good or bad for you. Some say fasting for longer periods is a grand idea, others say that skipping breakfast is what foolish people do.

Because of this, Jennifer offers an adaptation of both of these stances, “My advice is eat when you feel hungry but the first thing you eat or drink each day must be nourishing”.

This means getting out the kale juices and chia seeds, people.

RELATED:Maybe skipping breakfast isn’t so bad for you after all

Claim: Fasting is good for you

Fact: Fasting can be excellent, but it’s not for everyone.

Have you heard of the 5:2 diet? If you haven’t, you have escaped the biggest dieting fad going around, so congratulations you.

To get you up to speed, this diet advocates eating whatever you want for five days, then eating 500 calories on the remaining two days.The point of all of this is that fasting is cool now and celebrities everywhere are getting on the bandwagon.

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When I talked to Jennifer, she agreed that fasting could be good for you, but it’s not for everyone and it’s certainly not a necessity. She recommended speaking to a professional to get a tailored plan for you.

RELATED:Fasting’s not as dumb as you thought

Claim: You should eat until you’re full to avoid snacking

Fact: Snacking can be good for you (no, sorry, put down the chips).

As snacking is one of my favourite hobbies, this question was particularly important to me. Can I snack? (Please, oh please, Jennifer).

Her answer was yes, but it needs to be healthy, like a cup of vegetables.

I’ll say what I know we’re all thinking, this is disappointing. But, veggies can be exciting! Like cucumber with goats cheese or carrots and hommus. And if you visualise it hard enough, it will definitely eventually taste like chocolate!*

Claim: We should drink 2L of water a day

Fact: We should drink two litres of water a day.

Well this was more straight-forward than I expected. I had recently heard that we may be drinking too much water, and we need to slow down on the hydration.

However, Jennifer informed me that actually, we should be aiming for two litres, particularly focusing on the morning when we wake up dehydrated.

RELATED:Yes, your water bottle has an expiry date. But not for the reason you think

Claim: Fruit is a “free food”, you can never have too much

Fact: Fruit isn’t as great for us as we think.

Fruit has really let me down on this one. All my life I thought I could gorge on as much fruit as I liked when actually, it was sneakily contributing to my hunger and sugar-highs.

Jennifer suggests two to three serves of fruit a day. Maximum. I suggest we rally together to spread the word on the lies this food-group has been feeding us.

Sydney City nutritionist Jennifer May can be contacted here.

I hope this information has helped your rumbling tummies as much as it has helped mine, now go and eat your healthy vegetables and be happy. Also, I will be in touch to organise the Fruit Is Sneaky rally. Stay tuned.

*Vegetables will probably never taste like chocolate.

Check out our gallery of foods you never knew were good for you!

Tags: eating , eating-myths , health , myths
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