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Consuming five small meals daily instead of three square ones can keep you fit and trim, nutrition experts say. But what exactly is a small meal?
"Four hundred calories every three hours or so throughout the day," says Connie Diekman, RD, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis. (That translates into 2,000 calories, the number an average active woman needs daily to maintain her weight. If you're looking to lose, aim for 1,600 calories and eat only four of the meals below. Space them every four hours instead of three.)
"Eating this way helps prevent your blood sugar from crashing and keeps you satisfied." Since you won't be starving, you'll be able to make smarter food choices and stick to your diet. Kick-start your meal makeover with this 2,000-calorie menu from Au Bon Pain executive chef Thomas John, who recently created the low-cal Portions line for the chain.