As we all know, eating 5 meals a day has been proven to be the most effective nutrition intake plan, regardless of whether you are going for weight loss or muscle gain. For weight loss, it works great because it helps to prevent your body from storing fat during long periods of starvation. For muscle gain, 5 meals a day ensures your body has a constant supply of protein so it can continue to be in an anabolic state.
The big question is, if its so good, why isn't everyone doing it? The problem is, most of us have full time jobs and its not convenient to eat 5 times a day. Can you imagine stopping your meeting at 4pm to tell your boss that you need to feed yourself? That is one of the biggest obstacle most people face. Some other concerns i have heard include it takes too much time to prepare something healthy and its just plain expensive to eat 5 times a day.
So how do you eat 5 times a day, while keeping your full time job? Well here is how i do it, and i have divided it into muscle gain days (MG) and weight Loss Days (WL). For those who are unfamiliar with this terms, please refer to my post on zig zagging. So during each period, i will indicate what i eat / drink to give you a better picture.
OK, as most of you know, i wake up at 5:30am to hit the gym in the morning before work. So my time table starts at 5:30am, but you guys can go ahead and tweak it according to your needs
5:30am: One Glass of Soyabean milk & 2 boiled eggs - boiled the night before (MG & WL)
8:30am: Post workout - Protein Shake mixed with V-Soy (MG)
- Tuna Sandwich on wholemeal bread (WL)
10:30am: One packet of Soya + Tuna Sandwich (MG)
Loose Muesli or Fresh Fruits (WL)
12:30pm: Rice & Curry, Fast Food (MG)
Chapatti & Curry or Sandwich at a restaurant (WL)
4:30pm: Tuna Sandwich on whole meal Bread (MG & WL). On MG days, i eat a bigger portion of the sandwich on WL days, its just half a sandwich. I keep one can of my protein powder in the office. So if i know i have a meeting that day, i mix this up in the pantry before i go into my meeting.
8:00pm: Dinner - This varies based on what i make for dinner. It ranges from Pasta, to some other recipes i have. Will share more in a later post.
I am usually in bed by 11pm, so my dinner is my last last meal.
Now i am sure many will ask why do i have something at 10:30am, when the rule says i should eat for every 3 hours. Yes, ideally we should, but i can't have my lunch at 2:30pm, so i have to manage around it. So don't be too rigid about the 3 hour rule. Try to stick to it as much as you can. Just remember, that the 3 hour starts right after you finish your meal. So if you eat something at 8am, then again at 10am, the your next 3 hour meal is reset and therefore you will only eat again at 1pm and NOT 3 hours from your original 8am. Most people get caught up with trying to follow 3 hours to the dot, and when they can't, get frustrated and quit. Find a way to work around it like i did. In general most of my meals are spaced 3 hours apart, but in some occasions, i intervene based on my lifestyle.
I know there are lots of questions with some of the meals i wrote up there, so here are some tips to help you with it:
Buy some loose muesli and keep it in your office. Great to munch on and healthy for you. Some people even mix this into low fat yogurt. I like eating cereal and muesli dry, so i don't do it, but hey, if it meets your fancy, go for it.
Fresh Fruits - get into the habit of eating more fruits. Pack some apples or bananas with you to work and you can easily consume this at anytime
Protein Powder - yes, i keep one can in my office, one can in house. So this way, when you are in a fix or have to attend a meeting, make one of your meals a protein shake
Muesli Bars - This is another great thing to keep in your office drawer. Rather than keeping a Snickers Bar for the "Rainy Day", why not switch it to a muesli bar. The thing is, we consume what we buy... if you don't buy it and keep it, you can't eat it.
Milk / Soyabean milk- if your pantry has a fridge, keep a carton of milk / soyabean milk. Remember to label it with your name so nobody else accidentally uses it. This is a good alternative if you can't afford protein powder - but of course you have to consume more to get the equivalent amount of protein you would get from a protein shake.
As you can see, eating 5 meals a day isn't that hard to do. With some improvising, you can easily fit this into your schedule. I eat 6 meals a day, but that's based on my needs and my schedule. Remember, eat for every 3 hours that you are awake, and if it comes up to 6 meals, don't fret too much about it. I do it too. What i am sharing here is my routine, but feel free to adjust it to make it fit into your schedule. Easy isn't it. As usual, look forward to hearing your comments.