Maintainers - how many meals a day?

I go between 3 and 5, but mostly 4. I wonder long term maintainers - what do you prefer? 3 bigger meals? 3 meals plus 1 or two snacks? what and why do you prefer this



  • kommodevaran
    kommodevaran Posts: 17,890 Member
    edited June 2017
    I've reduced number of meals from 7(!) at some point in weight loss (not to mention grazing through weight gain), to 4, and now 3. My intake is split into roughly 1/4, 1/4, 1/2. 4 meals was nice (I had a lot of cheese and nuts and fruit and smoothies), but 3 is more tidy and need less planning. I feel more free - no stress with timing of meals, but most days I end up eating within a 6-8 hour window. And if I need/want additional food, I eat.
  • deannalfisher
    deannalfisher Posts: 5,601 Member
    I pretty much MFP food log is set to time ranges rather than meals because my work schedule is very fluid and I find it easier that way
  • Tnangaley
    Tnangaley Posts: 18 Member
    I eat 5 meals per day and very healthy. Meal #1 is usually oatmeal with nut/ honey/ cinnamon, or overnight Banana-P.B. oats; sometimes egg scramble with spinach, onion & DAves Powe seed bread as toast. For Meal 2..usually fruit or small fruit/protein smoothie. Meal #3 is usually large salad, or tuna on toast. For Meal 4 usually a high fiber almonds or popcorn popped in coconut oil, or a Kind Bar. My supper is light...meat and lots of veges or homemade soup with tons of veges. I've cut out sugar and alcohol... & only use pure organic honey as a sweetner. (I eat salmon 2 x a week) I am maintaining wt. Loss easily eating 5 x a day and practice yoga every day, cardiovascular 20 min. 3 days a week.....ride my bike or kayak, swim on wk.ends.
  • jjpptt2
    jjpptt2 Posts: 5,617 Member
    I prefer to eat all the food all the time... but what actually works for me is something small mid-afternoon, then a big dinner, then possibly a small snack before bed.

    So a big snack/small meal around 2pm
    A big dinner around 6
    A snack around 10
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,736 Member
    My preference would be 3 meals and about 3 snacks - but that would typically put me in a slight calorie surplus.
    So for the working week I usually make "breakfast" one of my snacks (often a protein shake) and that works out as a rough calorie balance over the course of a week without calorie counting.

    My higher weekend exercise/activity levels means that 3 meals / 3 snacks is about right.
  • TangledThread
    TangledThread Posts: 312 Member
    It varies by the day but I keep returning to 2 meals a day.

    I have coffee when I wake up then wait until I'm hungry to eat. 10am-11am I have lunch and it's my largest meal of the day. I'm so full I usually last until a light supper at 7:30pm.

    I might have yogurt or 2 egg about 4pm if hungry, bringing me to 2.5 meals that day.

    A treat food is usually eaten outside of that schedule. So a day or two a week I'm eating 4 times.
  • kimny72
    kimny72 Posts: 16,027 Member
    I do 2 meals lunch and dinner, a snack in the afternoon and a snack in the evening. And a cup of coffee in the morning.
  • L1zardQueen
    L1zardQueen Posts: 8,756 Member
    Usually I drink bunch of coffee in the morning, I eat a small lunch and a big dinner.
  • Lillymoo01
    Lillymoo01 Posts: 2,868 Member
    It varies from day to day. I walk a lot and on days with long walks (4+ hours) it can be up to 7 times. A normal day with just an hour or 2 of walking is 4 times.
  • rybo
    rybo Posts: 5,430 Member
    2 meals & the occasional after dinner snack.
  • Kullerva
    Kullerva Posts: 1,114 Member
    Breakfast is huge (5-600 kCal), but if I don't have it I'm crabby. I don't really have "lunch" but snack throughout the day, every 2-3 hours (which accounts for roughly half my calories). Dinner is adjusted based on the day's intake, and then I usually have a small snack an hour before bed. So, three "meals" technically, but I can eat seven or eight times. It feels like I'm eating constantly, some days, but at least I'm not hungry...
  • alias1001
    alias1001 Posts: 634 Member
    Ideally, 3 meals but I find I usually need a mid-afternoon snack. I struggle because my fiance gets home at unpredictable times and a 8-hour break between lunch and dinner is nearly impossible.
  • RaeBeeBaby
    RaeBeeBaby Posts: 4,323 Member
    Normally 4 meals and 1 snack. Shown below with examples:

    Breakfast (oatmeal with fruit & yogurt or cottage cheese/fruit)
    2nd Breakfast (boiled egg, fruit or veggies, string cheese)
    Lunchish (big salad with protein)
    Snack (rice crackers with PB or veggies & hummus)
    Dinner (protein/carb/veg or tacos)

    I'm not obsessive meal schedules or timing and I don't always have the 2nd breakfast (which is probably more like a snack anyway). I pretty much just eat when I'm hungry. Since we eat dinner quite late, I very rarely snack after dinnertime.
  • cqbkaju
    cqbkaju Posts: 1,011 Member
    As many as it takes
  • msdemeanor70
    msdemeanor70 Posts: 66 Member
    I have three "meals" and three or four snacks. I have coffee immediately and eat breakfast at work. My breakfast is usually more (decaf) coffee and Greek yogurt with granola around 0930. Fruits or veggies is my typical mid-morning and mid-afternoon work snacks with the rare salty snack (usually 100-calorie bag of popcorn) replacing the second work snack. I eat lunch late (around 1300) and it's usually 200-400 calories - sometimes a frozen meal, other times leftovers from dinner. I run or hit the gym after work and come home hungry most days. My usual snack when I get home is pretzel sticks and hummus. Dinner can be just about anything from a salad to pizza, wings and breadsticks. :smiley: Then a snack of chocolate chips and mini marshmallows before bed. Usually this is about 200 calories, but some days (like last night) I need a little more. :blush: But, after a couple years in maintenance, all my days are flexible.
  • Gisel2015
    Gisel2015 Posts: 4,026 Member
    Breakfast, lunch and dinner. If breakfast is less than 200 cals. I will have a little mid morning snack, usually V8 and turkey Jerky. But with about 6 hours between lunch and dinner, and working out in between, I need a snack with my mid afternoon coffee and a protein drink after the gym.

    I am done with dinner between 7:30 and 8PM (including desert) and I don't eat anything else until the next day breakfast.
  • born_of_fire74
    born_of_fire74 Posts: 776 Member
    Usually about 600cal at breakfast, 200-300cal at lunch and 400'ish for dinner with about 300cal in snacks, depending on what's left after lunch and dinner. I almost always try to get a small piece of cheese (90cal) in right before I go to bed as it really tides me over well for the night--trying to sleep with a rumbly tummy is a recipe for no sleep and a miserable next day.
  • xmichaelyx
    xmichaelyx Posts: 883 Member
    Cutting, gaining, or maintaining, I eat the same number of meals every day (which is 2, unless you consider my morning 1/3-cup of almonds a meal). The only thing that changes is the size of those meals, and potential snack choices.

    I should add that I only count calories on weekdays; on weekends I eat whatever I want whether my goal is to lose weight or not.