How Healthy Is Eating One Meal A Day?

how healthy is eating one meal a day

Dieting to lose weight often includes eating one meal daily; however, this strategy may pose certain drawbacks and should only be undertaken with proper guidance and knowledge of its safety and potential advantages for health reasons. In this guide we discuss how eating such a diet safely can benefit you in many ways.

The One Meal A Day diet (OMAD) works by restricting your caloric intake to one meal each day – usually dinner; you can still snack between meals if necessary.


Consuming one meal daily may not be sufficient to meet all of your nutrient needs, particularly protein. Ensuring you get enough protein is vital for many reasons including tissue repair and maintenance, mood improvement and building strong bones and muscles.

Animal products like chicken, fish and meat provide ample sources of protein while plant sources like legumes and nut butters also boast abundant amounts.

At an optimal level, aim to consume 10-35% of your daily caloric intake from protein. This would roughly translate to three ounces of meat at each meal or their plant-based equivalents.

Proteins are constructed of long chains of amino acids joined together by chemical bonds; then folded into their specific shapes in a process known as synthesis.

Amino acids can also be broken down into smaller molecules called peptides, often linked with non-peptide groups known as cofactors which aid proteins in performing their duties.

Multiple proteins perform various functions and can be combined together to form complex new ones with various applications in mind, including tissue repair, temperature regulation and hormone regulation, hormone control and other tasks within the body. Thus, different kinds of proteins can be utilized for building and repairing tissues as well as controlling hormones or performing other duties within our bodies.


Carbs are one of the three primary macronutrients found in a diet. Carbs provide energy necessary for bodily processes and weight management as well as weight loss/maintenance.

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference (opens in new tab), carbohydrates can be found in fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, whole grains, milk and dairy products as well as processed foods. A diet rich in healthy carbohydrates can help you meet your daily caloric requirements and achieve weight maintenance.

Your daily carb needs depend on several factors, including age, gender, height, body type and level of activity. A moderately active woman under 50 requires between 225-325 grams of carbohydrates each day.

People living with diabetes or obesity may require more. On average, 45-66% of daily calories come from carbohydrates; keep this figure in mind when planning your diet.

At its core, proper nutrition means getting sufficient complex carbs from whole grains, fruit, vegetables and legumes – especially as sources of fiber – known to offer many health advantages that reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. You should limit refined flour and sugar containing processed foods such as cookies, pastries, candy bars and soft drinks.


Eating vegetables can be one of the best ways to enhance your health. They provide essential vitamins and nutrients like potassium, dietary fiber, folate and vitamin A. Vegetables also play a vital role in keeping blood pressure within a healthy range.

Vegetables offer anti-inflammatory benefits and antioxidants that fight disease. Plus, they’re low in calories and high in fiber!

Consuming vegetables has been linked with decreased risks of heart disease, stroke and some forms of cancer. Furthermore, they may help prevent eye problems as well as digestive disorders, including IBS.

Studies have demonstrated that eating more vegetables can aid weight loss or prevent its regain. This may be attributed to their low caloric density and presence of viscous fiber, which helps curb appetite while making you feel fuller for longer.

Vegetables may help lower blood sugar and curb hunger, not to mention providing essential vitamins and minerals essential for good health.

If you want to maximize the nutritional benefits of vegetables, eating them in different forms is key. Try including them in soups, stews or stir-fries; adding low-cal or low-fat dressings; using herbs and spices as needed to add an extra kick of flavor; or trying using low-calorie or low-fat dressings when seasoning your dishes.


If you’re having difficulty keeping your blood sugar stable or feeling often hungry and experiencing “hangry” moments, it could be beneficial to add four meals per day instead of the traditional three as this will help avoid energy dips and mood swings, according to Friedman. Eating four meals instead can also help combat energy dips that result from hunger pangs – something three meals don’t offer enough protection against.

Making time for multiple meals daily makes it easier to select healthy snacks. A snack such as nuts or fruit may help control hunger and stave off late-night snack cravings for junk food.

Fruits are an abundant source of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that offer numerous health benefits – from better heart and digestive health to weight management.

Fruits may help lower the risk of cancer and diabetes. Vitamin C-rich fruits like kiwis and strawberries may lower esophageal, stomach and lung cancer risks while potassium-rich ones like bananas, apples, melons, plums, apricots and mangoes may reduce hypertension risks.

Fruits packed with fiber can help your body use insulin more efficiently and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, while at the same time helping you feel full and consume fewer calories, leading to weight loss.

For optimal fruit intake, it is best to eat fresh, whole fruits rather than processed or frozen or canned versions. In addition, be sure to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds prior to handling any fruits or vegetables.


Eating only one meal daily is an enormous change from the traditional American diet of three meals plus snacks throughout the day, but this change may make people feel fuller more quickly than when they consume smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.

Make sure to review the label of all dairy products to make sure that they provide enough essential proteins, calcium and vitamins A & D.

There is a variety of dairy foods, such as milk, cheese and yogurt. Each has different levels of fat and sodium content; therefore it’s essential to check nutritional labels in order to select products which best meet your health objectives.

Your daily dairy requirements depend on your age, sex and height as well as physical activity level.

Dairy foods provide essential protein, calcium and vitamin D while simultaneously being an abundant source of saturated fats and high sodium intake. Therefore, to limit their impact on health and fitness levels it’s advisable to select low-fat or fat-free versions when eating dairy foods in order to limit saturated fat intake as well as sodium consumption.

Dairy can often cause some debate among health enthusiasts, yet it can still be beneficial as long as it’s consumed responsibly and in moderation. The key is eating a variety of nutritious foods while staying aware of your intake.


Drinking alcohol is an integral part of life for many people, yet it doesn’t need to be unhealthy. The key is drinking in moderation – one drink per day for women and two for men should suffice.

If your patients drink, encourage them to follow the most up-to-date recommendations from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 which state that health benefits outweigh risks. When asking them how much alcohol they consume, displaying a standard drink chart may also help them estimate this figure more accurately.

Reducing sugary drinks that contain excessively high kilojoule counts when eating out will also be important – check menus for labels with this information, and order smaller sizes if applicable.

Picking healthier beverages as alternatives can make it easier to cut back on sugary drinks altogether, such as water, low-fat milk and herbal teas. Or give sea buckthorn juice a try as an antioxidant-packed source with phytonutrients and omega 7 fatty acids!

While drinking alcohol increases your risk of certain cancers and heart disease, moderate consumption could actually benefit your overall health by raising HDL levels, which in turn lower your heart disease risk. Furthermore, enjoying wine, beer or hard cider on a daily basis might even help to decrease breast cancer risks as well!

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