How meals you should eat depends on your goals, what is happening in your life, and what will ulitmately feel the best for you.
People get really divided over this. It almost becomes a religion at a certain point. What kind of world are we building when we shame someone for eating breakfast? You might have a friend who loves fasting, and feels superior because they fast. Unforunately, this becomes an issue for all lifestyles. Many people will develop this superior, holier than though attitude, about their eating pattern. EVERYTHING WORKS! One, two, three, four, five, six, and even seven meals a day works! It depends. Asking questions to people who are coming off strong will allow you to really understand their perspective without creating tension. And if you are the one posturing yourself as better, well you are not and that’s ok. It is important to celebrate your success, but understand that EVERYTHING WORKS. It depends on you, your schedule, life, and level of physical activity. There are even more factors than that, but I do not want to make this post too long.
So now that we have generally established that all of these eating patterns work, it is time for you to troubleshoot to see what you need to do. Calories do matter, so please be mindful of your total caloric needs according to what you would like to do, be that build muscle, burn fat, or maintain. Also, be sure to not just eat garbage, but eat a variety of whole foods. Then, I personally feel it is easiest for most people to start with three meals a day and modify accordingly. If you have the time and preparation, you could try 4-5 meals a day. You would want to shoot for 25 grams of protein each meal to trigger protein syntheis. Throw in some veggies and a moderate amount of carboydrates. Try to add a little fats for your hormones and fat soluble vitamins. If you are looking to gain muscle, keep the fats low and try to choose clean sources of carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, organic varieties of other potatoes, organic whole grains and breads and pastas, organic black, brown, or red rice also. It can be hard to control our intake of carbs without going over board, so make sure to prioritize protein. Getting plenty of protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber from veggies with a splash of fat will help to create satiety. If you want to go lower carb and reduce or eliminate your starch intake, you could increase the protein and veggie amount, and add a variety of plant and animal fats to get plenty of energy. Going farther on this route would need to include strategies and a well thought out plan to go keto. If that floats your boat, develop a plan before starting. Do not just leap.
One meal a day does work for some people, but note it is often not literally one meal, but it is getting 2000-3000 calories in a two to four hour window. It involves careful planning in order to meet all your nutritional needs. I do not recommend jumping straight into this. Carefully consider your options, do your research, and consider individuals who have succeeded and failed as compared to current evidence and research on this protocol as well as your individual goals. If you are maintaining or trying to loose weight this might be ok. If you are trying to gain muscle, I think it would be very hard to do so with this protocol.
As you try different eating patterns, consider your energy levels, digestion, mood, sleep, progress or lack thereof in the gym and physical activity, and other symptoms popping up. You want to optimize your lifestyle. You want to adjust the amount of feedings you have to improve your life, so do not just do something because someone said so, including me. The more you are willing to try, change, and do things differently, the more you will learn about yourself and your body. You will discover what your body loves! Remember, if something does not work, that is great! You know what does not great, but think about under what conditions it might work if you needed to change!