(Note: I think that people should pick the diet and nutrition plan that works best for their appetite, lifestyle and needs. Some people do best with three squares a day, others are "grazers" who nibble all day long. Like everything else in life, not everything works for every person.)
I mostly started adopting the mini-meal principle the first time I tried the Body for Life Challenge. Bill Phillips suggests eating 6 meals per day. I found that just too difficult, but I can usually manage five.
As I continued reading and learning about fitness, I realized that many bodybuilders, fitness competitors and fitness models also eat mini-meals throughout the day. It's also promoted in different diet books, such as The Ultimate New York Body Plan and The Abs Diet.
Advocates of the mini-meal plan say that it...
- Keeps your metabolism revved
- Prevents hunger and feelings of deprivation
- Keeps your energy levels high
- Fuels your muscles for growth and strength gains
Mini-meals take a lot of preparation. Since I eat so frequently, I have to have easy-to-grab meals on hand--soups, salads, sandwiches. I do a lot of "cooking ahead" so there's always something quick to heat-and-eat in my fridge.
I don't always eat 5 mini-meals. It can be difficult to maintain that diet, especially during weekends, special events or travel. There are times when I'll eat two larger meals and two smaller meals, or perhaps three larger meals and two very small snacks. Life requires flexibility and adjustment. I'm not super-strict about my diet, which is one reason my abs are still like jelly.