Lose Weight With 6 Small Meals A Day

Did you know that eating more frequently can help you reach your goal weight? Here's how to lose weight by eating six small meals per day.
Senior couple cooking together at home meal preparation

Like many women, I lost most of the weight I had gained in pregnancy after having babies, but those last 20 pounds seemed impossible to tackle. That extra weight stayed with me for years until I didn’t really think about it anymore. It was a slow progression to what I believed was a new normal. I had a “mom bod,” and I thought I was okay with that. However, once my youngest turned five, I thought, “If I really tried hard, could I get back down to my pre-baby weight?” Rather than just going with a loose plan to eat a little less or do some cardio, what would happen if I made a plan? If I followed a structured diet, could I lose enough weight to change my physique?

As I pondered my weight loss goals moving forward (because I was serious this time), I struggled with the idea of being on an organized diet. I didn’t think I needed Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig. This type of thinking had become a roadblock for me because the repeating dialogue in my head was, “I only need to lose 20 pounds.” I thought structured diets were only for people who needed to lose a lot more than I did. It turns out I was wrong.

Structured Diets Are Necessary For Weight Loss Of Any Amount

Even if it’s just a few pounds, having a structured nutrition plan is essential when your goal is to achieve actual fat loss. If you think about it, most people who go on crash diets or start dieting with no plan will be stuck in a cycle of losing and then regaining the same 5 pounds. A diet without a plan never promotes significant weight or fat loss reduction and doesn’t change the physique at all. Once you decide you’re ready for a transformation, that’s when it’s time to get serious about a structured nutrition plan. Otherwise, you’re just spinning your wheels.

Losing Weight With 6 Small Meals A Day

Chicken with rice and vegetables

There are many diet plans in circulation, including everything from skipping meals to eating higher volumes of food. All these options can easily create confusion, and as we know, the confused mind does nothing. Here’s a reassuring fact, science has shown that some people are more successful with weight loss if they eat smaller, more frequent meals. A 6 meal per day plan may help you manage hunger better and maintain energy levels. Both things are crucial to not only experiencing weight loss success but also to maintaining a healthy weight.

While some studies show that there’s no advantage to splitting calories among six meals a day rather than three, part of the success of this idea is that six small meals can help to manage your hunger and maintain your energy levels. While there is no perfect nutrition plan that works for every person, finding the one that is perfect for YOU is the most beneficial. Any diet is only as good as this concept which is, if you’re denying yourself food now, will that lead to eating more food or bad quality food later? With that thought in mind, the success of a diet is directly tied to your ability to feel satiated and energetic.

Example of 6 Meal-a-Day Plan

What does eating six times a day look like? For most of us, when we think of a meal, there are multiple things on the plate. If you’re having eggs, it’s eggs, toast, jam, and probably some coffee with creamer in it. When lunchtime comes, even something as simple as a sandwich can turn into a variety of foods. The sandwich needs some chips or something crunchy, then follow it with something sweet to tide you over until dinner. If your daily nutrition plan looks something like this and you’ve been unable to lose weight, it’s the perfect time to reevaluate a meal plan to get you weight loss results. The idea behind having six small meals a day is that you’re focused on reducing your daily calories and carbohydrates, but that doesn’t mean you need to be left feeling hungry all day.

Eat Every Few Hours

Your first meal should be eaten within an hour of getting up in the morning, and you’ll eat throughout the day, every 2.5 to 3 hours. You’ll never be far from your next small meal, which is an easy way to stay on track and stay motivated!

Redefining The Word “Meal”

It’s easy for most people to get hung up on the word “meal.” There’s this idea that a meal must contain multiple parts and leave you feeling plenty full, if not overly full. You’ll first want to work on your mindset to adopt the “small meal” philosophy and what that means. Here’s an example of what I consider to be a small meal that fits into the six-small-meal-a-day method:

7 am Small Meal

  • ¾ cup oatmeal with a tablespoon of honey
  • 2 oz. almonds
  • 1 cup coffee with 2 tablespoons of half-and-half

Be Careful Of Your Condiments!

An easy mistake at mealtime is to accidentally load up on calories and carbohydrates through condiments. For example, let’s say you have a cup of coffee with your small meal at 7 am, but you pour in a good amount of heavy cream. Heavy cream is heavy on calories, which may inadvertently expand your daily recommended calorie intake by hundreds of calories. Recommended servings of many condiments are typically quite small, often just a tablespoon. A perfect swap for your coffee would be half and half, almond milk, or any low-calorie, low-carb addition.

Fine Tuning The Small Meals That Are Perfect For You

The average adult woman needs between 1,600 and 2,400 calories per day. That’s a wide range and reinforces how different each person is, including how many calories you’ll burn per day vs. how many calories you need to maintain or lose weight. It’s critical for success that you’re able to exhibit self-honesty to determine how far you’ll need to reduce calories to be in a deficit. Using a 2,000-calorie-per-day average, a small meal would be 300 to 350 calories per meal. Remember, your number might be lower, so you must do your own math to get results.

Examples Of Small Meals



Rather than providing you with an exact meal plan, here’s some inspiration for small meal ideas:

  • Green salad with various veggies topped with 4 ounces of chicken
  • Handful of almonds (one serving size) and 2 ounces of dark chocolate
  • Cottage cheese with pear or apple slices
  • 5-ounce steak with salsa and 1 serving of guacamole
  • Vegetable soup or chicken tortilla soup (small bowl)
  • Turkey, tomatoes, and avocado in a lettuce wrap
  • Scrambled eggs or egg bites with fresh veggies and ½ piece sourdough toast

Retraining your brain toward smaller meals takes nothing more than rethinking what your meals have typically been to a new idea of knowing you’ll never have to go too long without food. Your next small meal is always just around the corner.

Read More:

Pros And Cons Of A Diet Cheat Day

7 Surprisingly Unhealthy Diet Foods

What is a Low-Histamine Diet?


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