When it comes to dieting, there is no one-size-fits-all plan Some people eat better with three meals a day, while others find it easier to control hunger by eating more often. In any case, it all comes down to calories. When making the decision to eat light meals to help you achieve your weight loss goals, you should keep your meals small and check your calories.
One pound of fat contains 3,500 calories and to lose that pound you need to reduce your weekly consumption by 3,500 calories. When eating five or six small meals a day, make sure that each light meal does not contain more than 300 calories. Limiting the calories of each meal helps maintain total calories between 1,000 and 1,600 calories per day, which is the range of calories that can help most people lose weight, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
Start the day right
Start the day with a healthy breakfast. Breakfast gives you energy and helps you control your appetite to avoid overeating during the day. A light breakfast can include 1 cup of whole grain cereal with 1 cup of skim milk and a small banana, or a slice of toasted whole wheat bread with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and an apple.
Eat every two or three hours when you eat light meals, and make sure each meal contains fruit or vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber, so they help satisfy hunger while helping you stay within your calorie range. A light meal may consist of a turkey sandwich with two slices of whole wheat bread and an ounce of turkey, along with 1 cup of mixed greens topped with 2 tablespoons of low-fat dressing. Another lunch option is 1/4 cup of hummus with a 6-inch whole wheat pita and 1 cup of cut vegetables, such as cucumbers, carrots, and celery.
Snack options for lunch
To control hunger, include whole grains in meals and snacks. The fiber of whole grains keeps the feeling of fullness for longer. For a light snack, try a 6-ounce low-fat yogurt with 12 whole-wheat crackers or 6 cups of popcorn mixed with 20 peanuts.
Keep calories in control in your light diet by choosing lean cuts of meat, such as pork loin, chicken and fish. Prepare 3 ounces of grilled salmon with a 1/2 cup serving of sweet potatoes and 1/2 cup steamed broccoli. Or mix 1/2 cup brown rice with 1/2 cup black beans and 1/2 cup tomato sauce to complete a tasty, light meal.
After dinner... but not too late
When eating lightly, try not to eat too late at night. Your last meal of the day should be no less than three hours before going to bed, according to Diabetes Forecast. A healthy nighttime snack could include 1/2 cup of low-fat cottage cheese with 2 cups of fresh melon or 4 tablespoons of raisins mixed with 18 almonds.