One of the main reasons I recommend having two meals, one of which being a small meal such as an appetizer, is to help avoid overeating. This may sound counter intuitive, but with busy schedules we can tend to eat late or not have much time and therefore end up gobbling up as much food as we can in one sitting. Shortly thereafter we are left having over consumed calories, feeling stuffed and lethargic.
It can take up to 15 minutes for your brain to register with your stomach that food is in your system, a large proponent for overeating. Many times we will keep eating the food that is on our plate waiting for that “feeling of full,” only to have completely surpassed it. Eating a snack or appetizer prior to eating your main meal will help start that communication between your stomach and your brain, so by the time you go to eat your main course you will only need to eat a portion of it to fulfill your bodies’ needs.
While having an appetizer or snack can help with overeating and the communication between the brain and your stomach, it is important to keep the calories and fat in check. Having fried calamari or chicken wings to start will not provide the weight loss and health benefits that having a good healthy start to your meal will offer. I suggest having a light salad or soup to start. One of my personal favorites is a spinach salad with tomatoes, cucumber, cranberries, nuts and a balsamic vinaigrette. A quick toss to kick off your meal. For a soup example I typically like clear broths like miso soup with some tofu and spinach.
Think about options in which you can incorporate a smaller, healthier meal into your dining routine.