The truth about daily meals

Posted in Nutrition

The universally acknowledged rule that you should eat 4-5 meals a day is constantly being touted by nutritionists and diet experts. In fact, we hear it so often that it has become background noise to many. Most people have heard of it, and they try to obey this rule and make it a part of their daily routine. It may cause some challenges as far as the organization of one’s day is concerned, because the meals should be eaten at regular intervals, which means that you somehow have to plan your other activities around the meals (and not the other way round). Regularity is very important, but few of us would like to live our lives as obsessive clock-watchers, or set up alerts on our mobile phones in three hours intervals. The fast pace of modern life makes it challenging, if not impossible, at least without some psychological damage.

So the truth is you shouldn’t become obsessive-compulsive about your mealtimes all of a sudden. It is all about the golden mean – do not let the breaks between meals to be as long as 6 hours, and do not snack just 2 hours after a meal. Try to introduce flexible meal-times and eat every 3-4 hours. This is important –only regular (though still flexible) mealtimes will allow for regular digestion, combustion and distribution of nutrients inside your body.

And yes, one apple does make a meal. Anything that constitutes energy intake (kcal) is in fact a meal. Even a glass of milk counts as a meal, and not as a drink, as many people think. So all in all, your daily routine should involve eating 4 to 5 meals, and drinking only water or unsweetened leaf tea/herbal infusion between meals (think about detoxifying nettle leaves or calming linden flowers).


Planning your meals, you should follow the rules below:

  • BREAKFAST: oatmeal with honey, wholemeal bread, fresh fruit and vegetables, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, 70% cocoa or egg-based dishes such as an omelette with vegetables, or wholemeal flour pancakes with cottage cheese.
  • LUNCH: there is a lot of freedom here, your approach to lunch will depend on when this meal is eaten and how much time you have. It can be a light meal, e.g. just yoghurt with cereal, dried fruit, cottage cheese with vegetables and some bread, or a dip/spread made of avocado, lentils, or fish and cottage cheese. A salad with fish or chicken breast, or a sandwich or a wrap also remain popular options. But if you tend to have business meetings scheduled during lunch, you will probably go for a bigger, hot dish.
  • DINNER: soups based on vegetable stock, and groats (e.g. millet) or brown rice. You can also add a serving of grilled chicken or lean beef. To introduce more variety, think about braising or boiling meat, and explore different options of groats, rice, wholemeal pasta, boiled potatoes, and fresh vegetables (without sugar or sour cream), as well as boiled vegetables. When you don’t feel like a full dinner you can settle for just a soup and a salad.
  • SNACKS: smaller meals eaten between the three main meals. They can consist of small helpings of nuts and dried fruit (choose sulphur-free fruit), fresh fruit or fruit and veg smoothies with the addition of fibres such as flax seeds, Chia seeds or brans (e.g. oat, millet, rye). A vegetable salad is also always a good snack option.

Most of us have dinner late in the afternoon. In the end, there is only one method to eat regularly and prevent skipping meals (which is a cause of slowed down metabolism). You should use the two snacks during the day to keep the spaces between meals even. Snacking should prevent you from experiencing too much hunger, should help you to maintain your body’s metabolism and stable energy levels, and should keep your body supplied with vitamins and minerals. For this reason you should use snacks that are quick to prepare and to eat, but that still fulfil the requirements described above.

If you would like to know more about daily meals just get in contact with our Nutrition Coaches.

Milena Nosek
Nutrition Coach
Holmes Place Poland

Posted in Nutrition