Small meals for medical reasons?
My doctor recently recommended that I eat small meals several times per day to control digestive issues and moderate my blood pressure. I eat, for the most part, a vegetarian diet, and I am not sure how to go about getting enough protein with smaller meals. I appreciate any suggestions or guidance. I do not have any dietary restrictions, other than following a low-sodium diet is also recommended. Thank you!
I'm pregnant and unable to eat large meals, so I eat something like 5-7 small meals a day. It is great! I think of them as a series of healthy snacks. Here are some I do eat, and some that I would if they were interesting:
- yogurt topped with fruit compote and walnuts
- devilled eggs
- english muffin with sunflower seed butter
- apple with sunflower seed butter
- tofu banh mi
- kale salad
- hummus with carrots, celery
- small cheese sandwich
- clafouti or egg custard for dessert several hours after dinner
- cabbage, chickpea, parmesan and lemon juice salad with some pita bread
- leftover slice of pizza
Dried edamame has a good amount of protein and very portable. It is usually in the organic/natural/'health-food' aisle of the grocery store... or World Market has it for a cheaper price.. or Amazon has many companies... (even a version with wasabi or goji berries).
On Sundays, I like to make 2 different grain-based salads, cooked in differently flavored broths. Chopped roasted veggies go in one, chopped raw veggies in the other. Different herbs in each. Add grated cheese, if you're not vegan.
Hummus holds up well throughout the week, as do many silken tofu-based dips.
Soba noodles with steamed veggies and any vaguely "Asian" sauce with diced tofu added also keeps well.
If you eat eggs, a poached egg on a slice of whole wheat toast is quick and easy. Hard-boiled eggs on hand in the fridge are good.
Check the many online sites that list the protein content of various foods, and work more of those into your meals. Also check them for how much protein you actually need per day.
Egg/oatmeal/cottage cheese for breakfast; nut butters/cheese on cracker for morning snack; beans, hummus, sardine with salad for lunch; yogurt for afternoon snack; fish/tofu/beans with vegetables and whole grains for supper. Whole grains contain protein, so whole grain muffins, bread, crackers etc are good choices. Plus yogurt and cow/nut/soy milk are protein rich.
Just use smaller portions of regular meals. I routinely eat multiple smaller meals, too. For protein, I fill up with legumes, whole grains and in lesser amounts, nuts and seeds. I am a big fan of leftovers. Red lentil soup and simple curries are a favourite of mine. Stir fried chickpeas and greens, too. Hummus is a great option with a vegetables. I am also fond of roasted squash with avocado and cucumber in a wrap/sandwich.
Remember that in matching vegetarian proteins, you don't have to eat them at the same time. You can eat some brown rice salad at noon, a serving of lentils at 3 pm, or even 10 pm, and still get the benefits of eating a complete protein. So eating a half cup of this or that every few hours is not a problem at all.