Small Meals: The Way of The Future

small meals | woman drinking coffee at a cafe | Girlfriend is Better

The time of eating three meals a day has long since past. Eating small meals throughout your day is the way of the future. An already common habit in places like Italy and Paris, it’s time to adopt it here in the US. Not only is it healthier, but it’s also pretty fun, an unusual descriptor when it comes to eating healthy.

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Photo courtesy: Emilie Iggiotti

Eat Small, Get Healthy

The benefits of the European method of eating throughout the day are not to be ignored. By eating healthy small meals whenever you’re hungry, and not when the clock says it’s time to eat, you’ll notice amazing benefits in no time. By grazing throughout the day, your metabolism will ramp up significantly, you’ll actually feel happier, and be more energized both physically and mentally. This isn’t just “my experience” either, nutrition studies have been made proving this very thing.

small meals | sweet potato ham hash poblano pepper kale | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Womans day

A Good Morning Indeed

This roasted poblano potato and ham hash is just the thing to perk you up first thing in the morning. This small meal is the perfect start to anyone’s morning, no matter how rough the wakeup. Thanks to the inclusion of kale, poblano peppers, and sweet potatoes, it’s filled with all the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants you need to face the day. Savory and filling, this is sure to keep you going. It’s also the perfect use of last night’s veggies!

Ingredients

1 medium red onion
2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. of olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 large sweet potato (about 12 oz)
1 large Yukon gold potato (about 8 oz.)
1 large poblano pepper
4 large cloves garlic (in skins)
4 oz. sliced leftover or deli ham
2 c. baby kale
2 oz. extra-sharp cheddar
4 large eggs
lime wedges and warm tortillas, for serving

Click here for full recipe and instructions. Salsa or hot sauce compliments this dish perfectly. Add some chopped green onions to take this hash to the next level!

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Photo courtesy: My recipes

Five-Minute Quiche

Most people don’t have an hour-and-a-half to make a quiche. However, these mini quiches hit the spot and take no time at all, the perfect small meal. The inclusion of eggs gets you both extremely high-quality protein and almost every vitamin and mineral you need. Easy to make and a great brunch snack, it’s hard to think of a reason not to make these things.

Ingredients

6 hard-cooked eggs
6 pre-baked puff-pastry shells
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves
1/3 cup grated fontina cheese
Crumbled bacon

Click here for full recipe and instructions. These are great alone, but don’t be afraid to get creative! Try eating these with chopped tomatoes on top, the acidity they provide really fills out their flavor profile. One or two is quite filling, so same some for later or share with friends or roommates.

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Photo courtesy: Who what wear

Bigger Isn’t Always Better

As an American, I know the “bigger is better” mentality all too well. However, when it comes to eating, a small meal is always the better choice. The idea of “three square meals a day” is fundamentally flawed. With so much food in front of us at once, you often eat more than you need (and sometimes even more than you want). Eating a day’s worth of calories in 3 sittings and going without for the rest of the day makes your blood sugar take a dive and leaves you feeling drained. These recipes will satisfy your hunger pangs and leave you feeling lightweight when you’re done.

small meals | grilled squash garlic bread | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Woman’s day

Finally, A Healthy Garlic Bread

When you think of garlic bread, healthy is not the first thing that comes to mind. This grilled squash garlic bread, however, is both a super tasty and super healthy small meal. Packed with nutrients, the squash and zucchini turn those empty carbs into a robust meal. Perfect after a day in the sun, it’s a real crowd pleaser at any bbq or any other outdoor get-together.

Ingredients

3 small zucchini
2 summer squash
3 tbsp. plus 1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 bunch scallions
1 large ciabatta bread (10 in. by 7 in.)
1 large clove garlic
1/2 c. ricotta
1/2 lemon

Click here for full recipe and instructions. Easy to make and tasty as can be, make sure to share! Cooking for your friends, especially with something as tasty as this, is always nice.

small meals | low-fat mini ice-cream cakes maraschino cherries | Girlfriend is Better
Photo courtesy: Health.com

Sweet Treat That Can’t Be Beat

We’ve showcased plenty of savory meals this article, it’s time for a sweet one. These mini ice-cream cakes may be a small meal, but what they lack in size, they make up for in flavor. By choosing the low-fat options, you’re getting more nutrients than you would regularly. Both sweet and delicate, if you eat one or two it still won’t kill you.

Ingredients

Cooking spray
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups low-fat strawberry ice cream, softened
1 1/2 cups fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 tablespoon red maraschino cherry juice (optional)
12 red maraschino cherries with stems, drained

Click here for full recipe and instructions. These are great as part of an afternoon tea ritual, or if you just want to treat yourself. The almond extract perfectly harmonizes with the supremely sweet maraschino cherries, neither one overwhelming the other; a match made in heaven.

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Photo courtesy: The trickle up theory

Be Smart, Eat Smart

When eating small meals, make sure what you’re eating is actually healthy. Use these recipes as a starting point for your small meal lifestyle, and don’t just spend the day eating junk food. Choosing an unhealthy option as a “small snack” completely defeats the purpose of eating small meals in the first place. It’s both extremely tempting and extremely hard to get yourself back on track. Stick with this eating style, and enjoy the results.

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