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How many meals a day do you eat?

8 years ago

I'm on a weight loss/fitness deal, and am trying to change my habits.

I used to graze carbs/fruit all day long. Currently I'm counting carbs and not eating very many of them. This morning I got started on a project, didn't eat breakfast until 10AM. I decided to have a nice big breakfast and just skip lunch, so 2 meals today.

I've done this several times in the past week and feel fine, but when I'm not doing projects I think 3 meals and a snack (currently a few cheese cubes is the snack) is optimal for me.

How many meals do you eat?

Comments (48)

  • 8 years ago

    4 - sort of. I have a banana at 6:30 am before heading for a run or to the gym. Then when I get back between 8:30 and 9 I have breakfast. I have lunch between noon and 2 and dinner at 6:30.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    One ....over the course of a day. So....I drink a BIG mug of Inca for breakfast, has about 60 calories. I go running and drink 18oz of water, then yoga class. For lunch a yogurt with flax seed and maybe a banana with peanut butter on it. Then for dinner a chimichanga smothered with lettuce/sour cream/tomato, with a BIG glass of ice tea. Later a mug of hot tea and maybe 2 choc chip cookies.

    What I eat varies. If I think I'm starving, say I'm working extra hard on a garden project...I'll eat a hard boiled egg or two, or open a can of green beans or a dill pickle....a roma tomato with Italian dressing...a glass of fat free milk...

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  • 8 years ago

    I usually have two or three meals a day, very seldom snack on anything. Will drink water or iced tea or hot tea during the day. I do not like eating an evening meal very late at all. Would rather not eat than to have to eat late.

    Sue

  • 8 years ago

    What I've done since the early 1970's is follow the old "Basic-4" for the number of servings of food from 4 different food groups we consume, divided over 3 meals and 1-2 "snacks". I prepare foods off the lower half of the Glycemic Index of Foods - trying to avoid diabetes (which runs rampant in hubby's family) and avoid high-glycemic foods and "bad" carbohydrates.

    There were too many carbs and total calories for us when I tried to switch to the Food Pyramid (we gained weight), so we do very well with this amount of food. If someone gets hungry or gets the munchies, there are snack foods available (sprouted pepitas, crispy nuts (soaked and dehydrated), dried apples, popcorn). Basically it's a wholefoods, high-fiber diet, and a lot of raw foods; avoiding highly-processed foods.

    Bread & Cereal Group - 4-servings (all wholegrain and gluten-free)

    Fruits & Vegetables - 4-servings (possibly more, especially during gardening season)

    Meat or Alternative - 2-servings

    Dairy or Alternative - 2-servings

    We also add a serving of nuts of some kind each day.

    My day starts at 3 a.m. (hubby just before 4 a.m.). We drink water before exercise at 4-ish until 5-ish. We also drink 2-cups of water 30-minutes before each meal. Breakfast about 5:20-5:30. Hubby gets to work by 6:00 a.m. - off at 5: p.m. (he has a 12-minute commute)

    Snack 8:30-9 a.m. for me.

    Lunch between 10:30 and 11 a.m. for me (11:30-12 for hubby - takes his lunch to work).

    Dinner 5:30 p.m.

    Snack 7:00 p.m. (usually nuts or popcorn, maybe some homemade granola, sometimes dehydrated apples).

    Hubby has a glass of milk before going to bed (I'll use it as an early morning snack). Bedtime 9:00 p.m.

  • 8 years ago

    This is interesting to me. Have a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast - I wake up early these days and it's so easy and foolproof in the microwave. Lunch, banana or whatever fruit I've got. Supper, I'm on a little binge of teriyaki chicken thighs smothered in bell peppers, mushrooms, and onion chunks. I'm cutting my coffee consumption way down and have done a pretty good job with no nibbling and snacking.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    On workdays I tend towards four: Breakfast at home (protein-based, usually eggs poached or soft cooked, sometimes leftovers, sometimes in the winter some real oatmeal -- I loathe the instant stuff!), around 6:30, Second breakfast at work (usually a little fruit) around 9 am. Lunch at noon, dinner at 6:30. Very seldom snacks afterwards. My main food groups are veggies, seafood, and meats (not processed).

    I eat very little bread or pasta -- (today is an exception -- first day in about four years that I brought bread into my house! Most of it will be frozen,)

    I had great weight loss success (around 40 pounds) about four years ago by making a couple of decisions: bring my own lunch to work (this cuts out the hidden starches and sugars in most corporate lunchrooms), and eliminate potato chips (my favorite junk food, especially when driving long distances). I've kept 30 pounds off, and can fit back into clothing I feared I was going to have to donate somewhere.

    My goal is to lose 20 pounds -- the ten I'd lost once already, and ten more.

  • 8 years ago

    Main meal of the day is around 1:00, then evening I eat a bowl of oatmeal.

  • 8 years ago

    One meal a day. For breakfast it is a cup of coffee. Sometimes I have a soda around noon Then dinner. I am a very picky eater so most meals it is meat & a potato or a little pasta. Done this most of my life.

  • 8 years ago

    Wow! I only eat one meal a day, when I cook dinner for husband. If I don't feel like cooking, or there are a bunch of leftovers for him to clean up, I don't eat at all.

  • 8 years ago

    Three. For breakfast I have fruit, usually an apple, a banana and a TBS of peanut butter. Lunch can be yogurt, a salad, maybe leftovers. Dinner, a protein and veggies.

    I always snack. I have Hersey's kisses on my desk. I like salty things too, baked cheese doodles. chips. Oh, and ice cream. I don't think I could live without it.


  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I usually start my day with one of my "sludgies", lots of leafy greens, some fruit, yogurt, a few nuts and seeds, protein powder, and water. A few hours after that, I'll have a salad of mixed greens, chopped veggies, hard boiled egg, cheese, and a meat of some sort.

    Suppers are varied, but always without bread, white potatoes, pasta, or desserts. No processed foods, canned soups, or frozen meals. My starchy foods will be brown rice, different grains, buckwheat.

    Snacks are a handful of raw almonds, cheese stick, lettuce wraps with tuna or salmon salad, deviled egg, stuffed celery, or a couple of tablespoons of cottage cheese.

  • 8 years ago

    mary and angela, I have to say that both of your posts worry me terribly. None of my business, absolutely, but it still worries me.

  • 8 years ago

    Living alone, my only reliable meals are breakfast around 9:30 and dinner around 7:30 (with Jeopardy!); the rest of the time I'm likely to graze, unless I go out to lunch with friends.

    But I learned a long time ago that I don't do well on carbs, so while I graze on a variety of things, none of them are sweet. I also learned that a certain amount of fruit is okay, but very often if I crave fruit it simply means I'm thirsty.

  • 8 years ago

    When I am trying to lose weight I stick to grazing which ends up being 5 mini meals a day. I am less hungry that way and I eat less knowing I have another snack/meal coming up in a few hours. The best way for me to lose weight is still by counting food exchanges. It keeps me honest and my daily intake more balanced. I don't believe in eliminating any food from a diet. It's all about calories, portion and a varied diet including all food groups.

  • 8 years ago

    Not pointing out anyone but some really bad eating habits I'm seeing. If I ate like some, I'd have dropped dead years ago. I doubt I've ever skipped a meal in my life...intentionally.

  • 8 years ago

    While it is true that there is a line which if crossed is not sound nutrition, there is certainly a wide latitude in what is normal for each person. Cultural norms, job pressures, and so on, and personal preference, can influence eating habits.

  • 8 years ago

    Usually two meals a day. Late breakfast and then dinner. Sometimes I will do one very large meal a day. I think it's better for your metabolism to eat several small meals a day but I don't like it. I never feel full or satisfied like I do with bigger meals.

    Mary, do you not eat any vegetables or fruits at all? How do you feel?

  • 8 years ago

    I too am a person who generally only eats one meal a day. I have a rule, and I've followed it since I was a teenager.

    I don't eat unless I'm hungry. That generally only happens once a day in late afternoon/early evening. Sometimes I feel hungry earlier in the day and I'll have a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts but on a day to day basis, I only eat dinner. I have a cup of coffee with cream and sugar in the morning so there are a few calories there, but I drink water the rest of the day. Usually 100-150 oz of water a day. My doctor always comments that he normally has to tell patients to drink more water but I'm one of the few he never has to say that to.

    My husband has to eat 3 meals a day or he feels sick. My kids eat 3 meals and at least one, sometimes 2 snacks a day.

    Everyone is different. If I tried to eat like my husband does (I have on occasion actually had 3 meals in one day) I feel sick and bloated and if I do it for too long, I gain weight.

    My body, metabolism and natural circadian rhythm doesn't work like his.

    I also have a very low natural body temp (96-97) and low blood pressure (50/100).

    I have no studies to back this up but my guess is that some people run "hot" with a higher metabolism, basal body temp, blood pressure, etc. and they need more calories on a more frequent basis to keep going and some run "cool" like I do.


  • 8 years ago

    texas, do yourself a favor and take the same number of calories and spread them out over a few "meals" through the day. Some of that can be nibbling on cut-up raw veggies and fruit too. I think that's probably better for you than one meal.

  • 8 years ago

    Snidely- I do appreciate the comment but none of my doctors have ever expressed any concern over my eating habits, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels etc. What I'm doing (essentially intermittant fasting) works for me.

    I would encourage everyone to research fasting vs. grazing. Doctors and researchers have been studying it for years to determine which is "healthier", " better for weight loss", "better for type 2 diabetes". It might offer a new perspective.

  • 8 years ago

    Texas-Gem - I know people like you. They do fine and feel much better with one meal a day and a small amount of food in between. Not sure how you do it. I know I can't but the people I know that eat like you, say they feel much better. I guess this is one of those things where one size does not fit all.


  • 8 years ago

    I eat 3 meals a day, unless I am out on a long bike tour. On tour I am known to eat a second breakfast, and a second lunch, besides snacking all day long.


    This past weekend I was on the last hurrah of the local bike club, which is a camp out and two days of riding. Besides breakfast, second breakfast, lunch and dinner I had 5 slices of home made banana nut bread. I wasn't hungry when I went to bed, but was when I got up. I eat a lot of "fuel" for those bike rides. :)

    pictures from that ride are here: http://smg.photobucket.com/…/tahl…/library/2015/Fall%20Fling

  • 8 years ago

    I usually eat 5 times a day. My meals are never big. I prefer to eat a smaller amount several times a day than overeat in a lesser number of meals.

  • 8 years ago

    Generally two, breakfast & a big late lunch around 2 or 3. Have a snack later on.

  • 8 years ago

    Everyone is different. If folks have found eating once a day is fine for them, great. Also the 5 times a dayers. If I'm not working, I will make bacon and eggs for breakfast. I cook the bacon slowly first, then use the bacon fat to make my omelet, usually with a little cheese or maybe some spinach sauteed in there. Then I will have a huge salad with an olive oil based home made dressing for dinner. Usually put a hard boiled egg on there, or some protein. I avoid processed carbs and my only carbs come from vegetables.

  • 8 years ago

    I usually eat one regular meal a day and I "graze" on a bite here and there the rest of the day....so I may eat a salad or some fruit or some crackers and salami. Or ice cream. Or whatever is left from the night before. I eat anything I want or what I am hungry for at the moment. I don't watch my weight or restrict what I eat. I could stand to lose a few pounds but I am comfortable with what I weigh and I am busy all day, so I don't worry about it.

  • 8 years ago

    When I bother to eat five small meals, I lose weight.

    As it stands, I eat one true meal a day. I am being bad! Yesterday, I had a cup of coffee, came home and went straight to work, only stopping for water on several occasions until 4PM. Had two glasses of milk and a baked potato with sour cream just because I was too worn out to make a real meal. The boy got home and wanted pizza, so I ordered that and I think I had either one or two pieces of a medium pizza. Not a good day at all. Today, I had "lunch" at 10:30. A bowl of chicken and rice soup, a pint of milk, and a serving of yogurt for dessert. Not awful, but not great. I'm still trying to figure out how we'll stop long enough to eat dinner! Everyone is coming to our house for cake and I don't even have it, or made plans for dinner. Thinking of sweet cake is nauseating with no meal before it. ugh

  • 8 years ago

    Rob you sound like you have a very busy life.

    Ten years from now, they will remember your good company and your personality, they won't remember that you got the cake (and the dinner) from a store :)

  • 8 years ago

    you make me smile! I doubt they'll even notice any cake. They're all coming to eyeball the boy and the new house.

  • 8 years ago

    the 'Poison Aisle', I like that !!

  • 8 years ago

    rhizo_1, please don't worry about me. I will be 71 this year & none of my Doctors think how I eat has ever caused any of my health problems, which I do have a lot of. I have eaten like this since the day I got married & that was 50 years ago. Thanks though for being worried.

  • 8 years ago

    No offense, Mary, but I think you need new doctors. Nutrition is probably the largest component of good health, and if your doctors tell you it doesn't matter, then they are seriously misinformed to the point where I would no longer trust their judgement.

    Do you think it's just a coincidence that you have many health issues and poor nutrition? I'm not trying to be rude but I'm honestly curious and also very concerned. It sounds like your body doesn't know any better if you've been eating like this your whole life. There's a big difference between surviving and thriving.

  • 8 years ago

    I realize this won't make a dent in your eating habits, Mary, but the food-health connection is a meaningful topic to me, and I'm unwilling to scroll by your post.

    I agree with Chi83: If your doctors know how you eat and tell you it has no impact on your health, there's a serious gap in their knowledge. They're not alone. We had a discussion at the KT recently about how little attention most physicians pay to nutrition:

    Do your doctors ask what you eat?

    At this point in your life, I don't know if you could bring yourself to start eating healthier foods. Maybe you could juice your vegetables, as I and some others at the KT do. Or make Rhizo's "sludgies." Drinking is often easier than eating. I hope you at least take vitamins. And minerals. I wish you the best.

  • 8 years ago

    "Drinking" your meal/food can also increase the amount of carbs and total calories you consume - which may, or may not, be good. And it could be of great concern if you have a blood glucose issue.

    Drinking your meals also disrupts digestion, which begins in the mouth when you masticate food and saliva mixes with your food while chewing. Salivary amylase (an enzyme) starts the digestion of starch in the food. Saliva also contains mucus which lubricates the food, and hydrogen carbonate which provides the ideal conditions of pH for amylase to work. The suggestion is to "chew" your liquid meal before swallowing, not just sip or gulp it, so you get saliva incorporated in the liquid to improve digestion.

    Liquid meals can also lack a balance of protein, fat, and fiber, but you can compensate for that with add-ins. You need the fat for fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients, which is why I add a 50/50 mixture of ground chia seeds and flax seeds, sometimes I'll add MCT Oil or avocado for additional fat.

    I have a friend who has never liked, nor willingly/knowingly consumed fruit, even as a child, but it was probably a natural reaction due to Hereditary Fructose Intolerance, which wasn't diagnosed until she was in her 70's. As we age, we can also encounter fructose intolerance, so be aware of the symptoms if you switch to high amounts of liquids from fruit and vegetables. Even a small amount of fructose may cause malabsorption or intestinal discomfort - aka fructose intolerance.

    -Grainlady

  • 8 years ago

    I wasn't suggesting a liquid meal, Grainlady, although that has worked for some. My thought was that it might be relatively painless for Mary to consume some vegetables in this way. I juice greens and other vegetables every day, but don't treat the juice as a meal. I had blood sugar issues all my life (diagnosed as pre-diabetic at age 22), but have learned to deal with them successfully.

    Juicing fruit, except for an occasional apple in my vegetable juice during this current fabulous apple season, doesn't appeal to me. Much better to eat the entire fruit, I think. But juicing vegetables is one of the best things I do for myself.

  • 8 years ago

    I, like Texas Gem, prefer two meals a day. I have gotten into three meals a day with a couple of snacks but find that I consume too much and want to keep eating even beyond that. I don't have a weight issue but don't like loading my system like that. I do find I have to be as mindful with two meals as with three and snacks. I want them to be quality with essential foods that my body needs. I am working to get back on intermittent fasting but that first week is hard. I will have a piece of fruit in between my two meals as a snack.


  • 8 years ago

    Two meals: Breakfast late, then supper early. I seldom snack. If I get that weak, shaky feeling, I know my body needs something, so will have something sweet like a brownie or some candy or possibly some cheese. I wish they made meals in a pill....it would be so much easier. LOL I do take a lot of vitamins. I'm 76 yrs of age and weigh 89 pounds. I am tiny.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I usually eat two meals a day. For breakfast I usually just have coffee and a protein drink but if I'm cooking for my husband I might have bacon and eggs or sausage and eggs. For lunch some kind of meat in a lettuce wrap or a chef salad and dinner will be a meat (wings, steak, chops, etc) and a vegetable with a bit of butter and probably a side salad with avocado. Sometimes, a hearty creamed soup instead of meat, but it'll have chicken in it. We eat low-carb so we don't have bread or rice or potatoes or desserts. Eating like this keeps us from having cravings or getting shaky, it's very good for keeping a steady blood sugar. I get some excellent recipes off of Facebook and we are probably eating better now than we ever have.

  • 8 years ago

    chi83 & others. I know what you are saying is true about food but for me there will not be a change in diet. I don't need new Doctors because the problems I have are not caused or helped by what I eat. There is no way my eating habits caused my lung cancer & have to loose 1/2 of my right lung & NO I was never a smoker. My body is full of arthritis which again for me has nothing to do with how I eat. I have worked my whole life doing landscaping 40-50 hours a week with my husband which I had to give up 2 years ago because of the arthritis. My Doctors over the years all knew how I ate & wished I did eat better but none of them could tell me that if I ate better I would not have gotten cancer or arthritis. I never said that the Doctors told me good nutrition "did not matter", they did. It is not time for new Doctors, I have always had very good Doctors who always took their time with me, I am shocked at how easily people can say what is or is not good for you when you don't know about me or my health.

  • 8 years ago

    I don't think anyone intended to hurt your feelings, Mary. I don't mean to come off as preachy, but I think a lot of people, myself included, were just concerned. I don't agree with your assessments but I think at this point you are firm in your beliefs, and of course it is your right to live how you want to, and I don't want to upset you further by arguing.

    I wish you the best of luck. My mom had lung cancer so I know how difficult it can be.

  • 8 years ago

    Mary, please forgive me for mentioning my worry for you. Clearly, this is what your body can handle at this time; I'm so sorry that you are dealing with such illnesses.

  • 8 years ago

    I'm another one that usually eats only one meal a day. J/S

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    "My body is full of arthritis which again for me has nothing to do with how I eat."

    Mary - you're terribly misguided to believe this. And I question your doctors fostering this belief. Just Google "diet" and "arthritis." There are many, many reputable sites (arthritis.org for one) who list specific foods for reducing inflammation. Who knows - maybe your landscaping work caused your arthritis. But I would bet your diet also played a factor. Eating properly could reduce the inflammation that causes the arthritic pain. But to each their own. It's just a shame that your poor eating habits contribute to your arthritis, when the arthritic pain can be alleviated by eating nutritious food.

    Sample diet


  • 8 years ago

    I was not upset that people were worried or concerned about how I eat but when someone says it is time for new Doctors that is what made me mad. I am not stupid & the Doctors I go to are all very good & do ask all the right questions. I am not misguided by any means. I do not eat any processed foods, my heart is great, bp where it should be, I am 5'4" & weigh 125 lbs. I went to a nutrition Dr a few years ago & there was not one blood test or any other test that came back with something wrong with me because of the way I eat, all the tests were in the range they were suppose to be. I am sure landscaping did not help my body but that is what we did. My poor eating habits is not the cause of my arthritis, if I had rheumatoid arthritis it might be different but mine is osteoarthritis. Bad knees, elbows, hips, shoulders, back & hands I don't think can be helped by food. It is funny all I wanted to do was answer a question not start a war. 2 years ago the same thing happened here when I said I was going in for a TKR & would be home the next day & everyone told me that was not possible & I should get another Doctor. By the way 2 months ago I had my 2nd TKR & was home the next day. After that I stopped answering any questions on here, guess I should have just kept looking at the questions & not answer anything.

  • 8 years ago

    I eat one meal a day, and an occasional snack during the day but that is maybe once a week. That is what my body "likes" and is natural for me. I think people may do best to listen to their bodies and if that body says eat one, two, or three meals a day then this is normal. If weight loss is an issue, than perhaps just change what is consumed. Just my opinion.

  • 8 years ago

    1. I start at 6:30 AM and it's over by 10 PM.

  • 8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    On days I work I try to eat 4 snack/meals a day. I usually eat an egg or small portion of leftovers for breakfast with coffee. I wake up between 5 and 5:30. Around 10:00 I have Greek Yogurt and sometimes a few nuts. Some days I don't get to do this, especially if I have a busy group of patients. Lunch is usually a frozen dinner. I'm so sick of frozen meals. I keep changing brands but they are all bad for you and don't taste good. I have been buying mostly organic stuff lately but most of it doesn't taste any better. I buy them for convenience. Sometimes I freeze meals I make at home and take them instead. My dinner/snack in the evenings has been those P3 snack packs with meat, cheese and nuts. Fast and easy and are good source of protein. I do sometimes bring another meal but sometimes I don't get a chance to eat it because we're too busy, one reason I started taking the P3 snacks instead. I just stated getting meals from Hello Fresh. I'm alone at home now and find myself eating out a lot because I'm tired of cooking the same old things and then having tons of leftovers that get frozen or thrown out.

    On days I don't work I usually eat 3 meals but sometimes I forget to eat a 3rd and may just snack on cheese and a little fruit or nuts. I do sometimes eat things not good for me. Like bagels and cream cheese but usually only eat half a bagel at a time. I also like Skinny Pop popcorn.