Expert advice, Nutrition
Guide To A Six-Meals-A-Day Plan On A Budget!

Charmaine D Souza

PG in Applied Nutrition and Dietetics

5 min read

 

Six meals a day might sound a lot in terms of weight management and maintaining energy levels, but when done right and within a budget (now that’s a bonus), it will benefit you in the long run!

According to a study shown in 2017 at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, a six-meal diet plan showed effectiveness in controlling blood sugar levels in the obese that had prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes.

According to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for 2015-2020, the average adult woman needs between 1,600 and 2,400 calories per day and the average man 2,000 to 3,000. We Indians are used to eating three or maximum four meals every day. But what if we divide these in six small but effective meals, that is not only affordable, but is easy to cook with readily available ingredients? Here is the plan that will do you wonders. Thank us later!

To cater to your palate, we’ve also made the plan on the MWF (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) and TTS (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) basis to offer you some variety!

Pre-breakfast

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays you should have warm water with turmeric and honey. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties whereas honey is a superfood that helps to boost your immune system. This natural healing substance also has antibacterial and antiviral properties. For Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, replace turmeric with lemon and get their uncountable benefits!

Breakfast

For MWF, eat idlis, tea or coffee and jaggery. Idlis are very light to eat. They are low in calories and high in nutrition. This steamed breakfast food is packed with carbohydrates, protein and fibre and contains no fats or cholesterol. When combined with vegetables, idlis not only tastes better but also becomes healthier! To make vegetable idli all you have to do is add some finely chopped seasoned vegetables to your regular idli batter.
Vegetable oats upma is another super-healthy breakfast food. This dish packs a powerful punch of vitamins and antioxidants. To make this enjoyable dish just add rolled oats to chopped vegetables that are seasoned with spices, add water and cook for a few minutes. Opt for jaggery in your TTS mornings as it is healthier than sugar and contains more minerals and lesser calories. All of these ingredients are very affordable and easily available in every Indian household!

Mid-morning snack

Even on a healthy diet, it is easy to sneak in a bunch of calories through mid-morning snacking. This short interval between your breakfast and lunch could cost your health and weight loss plans. Here is how you can snack without worrying. First, let’s answer your question about why ABC smoothie and muskmelon smoothie?

For a smoothie that is around 250ml, all you need is half an apple, beetroot, a whole carrot, and a cup of water and a tbsp. of honey. Blend them all and your smoothie is ready! The same goes for yoghurt, muskmelon and sabja seeds smoothie. If all these ingredients are bought in bulk, it will cost you less than approximately seven hundred rupees for an entire month as these are abundantly available. The benefits include detoxing of the kidneys, liver and pancreas, nourished skin and better immunity to name a few.

Lunch

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays you need to eat millets bisebelibath, a traditional Karnataka recipe, with khakhra. These superfoods and their ingredients are loaded with proteins, fibre and complex carbs that are needed to maintain our energy levels on an everyday basis. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, what you need to go for is raagi sangati (again a staple food in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh), mixed vegetable curry and raita. These foods contain minerals, nutrients and antioxidants that are known to make us stronger. What’s really interesting is that all the ingredients of these meals are readily available in markets all around, they are budget-friendly and most of all, they are packed with vital nutrients that keep us going!

Evening snacks

Healthy snacking is more important for UR well-being. Many people avoid snacks as they are afraid that they will gain more weight. Nevertheless, a healthy snack can offer a lot of health benefits. Evening snacks can also be included in a weight loss plan. There is a trick to choose a snack with about 100 calories and a mix of all the essential nutrients, carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. Strive to eat your snack between UR meals and dinner, to keep UR energy levels consistent. A healthy snack keeps UR hunger at bay and allows you to stick on to a fair amount of food.

Try out this superb evening snack of 2 rotis and a cup of chana dal, as it is loaded with vitamins and minerals. It is rich in B-complex, which plays a major role in glucose and extracts energy from the food. Paneer is another good option for an evening snack as it is rich in protein. The high protein component of paneer also helps in the slow release of sugars into the blood and prevents abrupt hikes and drops in blood sugar levels. All these are easily available at UR home and are very affordable.

Dinner

We are all familiar with the adage, ‘eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.’ It’s time we follow this advice with some responsibility to see our targets being met with ease! To hit the bull’s eye, go for one bowl of cauliflower rice with yogurt on MFWs. With high fibre, B-vitamins, proteins and calcium content for dinner, it will keep you full for the night so that you can avoid midnight snacking! On TTS, indulge in a bowl of aviyal, which is made of drumsticks, fansi (beans), red pumpkin, carrots, brinjal, coconut and spices. From vital vitamins to nutrients and from antioxidants to minerals, a bowl of aviyal carries disease-defying ingredients that we eat on an everyday basis.

Six-Meals-A-Day Plan On A Budget!
M/W/F

Breakfast: Overnight soaked oats or 2 vegetable idlis coconut chutney
Lunch: Khichdi with onion chutney or ragi sangati mixed veg curry and raita
Dinner: Vegetable stew with multigrain bread toast or 1 bowl aviyal

Tue/Thu/Fri

Breakfast: Vegetable upma with lemon pickle or ragi dosa with tomato chutney
Lunch: Mint and onion brown rice pulav or millet bisebelibath with khakra
Dinner: Lauki soup/pumpkin soup with multigrain bread toast or cauliflower rice with 1 bowl yoghurt

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