Eat three meals each day. No, eat six small meals each day. When it comes to feeding your body, the leading experts can’t seem to make up their minds about how often one should eat. Does it ever make you just want to throw the towel and eat whatever you want whenever you want?
Personally, I think the hobbits from J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels had the right idea: eat often. Our vertically challenged friends from the beloved series eat around 6 to 7 meals per day. Among such activities as farming, blowing smoke circles, and enjoying a pint at the tavern, eating is a major priority. In fact, when Bilbo or Merry and Pippin get dragged off into an adventure, they lament at the absence of frequent meals.
What one rarely stops to consider is that we humans could perhaps benefit from eating often like the hobbits. It is well-known that hobbits lived to be about 100 years old or older. Could humans reap the same life span by eating like the hobbits? According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, eating more meals throughout the day is associated with reduced or no obesity risk. When you eat regularly during the day, the body is more aware that more food will later be on the way and it has no need to store your recently consumed meal as fat. Instead it is more likely to burn the calories. Eating meals throughout the day could also help stabilize blood sugar and therefore energy level.
There is one catch however. If you were to eat 6 meals per day, you would need to control the portion of your meal. No weight will be lost if you frequently consume a plate piled a mountain high with food. You needn’t meticulously count each and every calorie but here are some guidelines to give you an idea:
Try to avoid processed foods. Hobbits are farming folk who eat fresh vegetables, fruits, and lean meats. Add vegetables and fruits to your meals whenever possible (a bit of good food can’t hurt, right?). Drink tea (green tea is a great healthy option). It isn’t called “Afternoon Tea” for nothing. Hobbits also get outside and do things. They don’t sit inside and gorge themselves the whole day long. Try going for a walk (especially after a large meal) to help digest food and keep your body from storing it as fat. Hobbits quite famously go about without shoes. Humans can do this too; it’s a technique called “grounding.” You can learn more about it here.
Can’t think of any small, healthy meals? Here are some ideas:
- An apple, a slice of cheese, and light popcorn (movie popcorn doesn’t count)
- A grilled chicken sandwich with some vegetables (carrots are my favorite)
- Egg, slice of whole wheat toast and half a grape fruit or other fruit of some kind (a great meal for breakfast or second breakfast)
- Pair a banana with another small snack
If you know of any small meal recipes, I would love to hear about them!
So this is the Hobbit Diet. This diet is not right for everyone. Sometimes there’s not enough time in the day to prepare or even think about eating that many meals. I’m a bored eater so I love this diet because it keeps me from being hungry and unknowingly devouring any sugar filled snacks in my pantry. Go ahead and try this diet. If it doesn’t work, then it doesn’t work. But whatever you do, don’t shut yourself in a hole and ignore the quest for a healthy lifestyle. Get out there. Be adventurous.