Choosing the right meals for the OMAD diet is important because it can help you stay fuller for longer. In this article, I will explain what is a good meal for OMAD.
In general, a good meal for OMAD contains a lot of protein, soluble fiber, and water because they all increase satiety, lower hunger, and deliver essential nutrients. Choosing meals that have a high satiety score will help you maintain your energy and stay consistent.
However, you also need to take into consideration personal preferences, if you plan to do it in the long term.
One Meal A Day Meal Plan
Choose meals that can satisfy your personal preferences One of the tried-and-true components of any diet is a meal plan. More specifically, a meal plan that doesn’t suck, is enjoyable to do, and meets all our nutritional needs.
After working with hundreds of people I came to quite a simple yet profound conclusion.
People don’t eat “nutrients”.
They eat real food. They eat meals (usually with other people) that align with their culture and background. And they don’t like to measure stuff. They also don’t feel confident with following some ready-made templates of food that say:
- 1 cup of oats
- 2 oz of tuna
- 10 raisins
- 1 coffee (no sugar)
Not many people think about food in this way. Because people are people. Not a spreadsheets. They look at food in the terms of dishes and meals like:
Those are down-to-earth, real meals eaten by real people.
TIP: If someone doesn’t feel confident to surgically dissect skin from chicken breast, drink kale shakes, or removing egg whites every day, sooner or later they will abandon whatever diet they do, and come back to their favorite foods.
In other words, start where you’re right now. Instead of changing your entire menu to “follow the rules” simply do one simple change and do what “feels right” today.
Let me show you what I mean.
Here are some of the examples doing one step at the time:
|Old way||New way|
|Pasta with meatballs and cheese||Whole wheat pasta with homemade sauce|
|Zero vegetables||Canned or frozen veggies (already chopped)|
|Overeating with pizza and ice cream 3 x week||Having a small treat everyday|
|Burger and chips||Burger (no bun) with oven-baked potatoes|
|Cafe late with croissant||Whole grain muffin with tea or black coffee|
You get it?
One step at a time. Until you feel you could try something more challenging. Here is how the next step would look like.
|New way||The “new” new way|
|Whole wheat pasta with homemade sauce||Spaghetti squash with homemade sauce|
|Canned or frozen veggies (already chopped)||Fruit and veggie with every meal|
|Having a small treat everyday||Sharing a dark chocolate 70% 2-3 x week|
|Burger (no bun) with oven-baked potatoes||Grilled steak with cauliflower mash|
|Whole grain muffin with tea or black coffee||Muesli with cottage cheese with coffee and water|
Keep it real. What happens if we dive straight into the deep water? How long can that last?
Use the rest of this article as a guide to see what you could add to your already existing meals. You don’t have to be perfect. Just a little bit better than before.
Studies show that people who restrain themselves from the food they love for a long time usually come back to their old habits of overeating. What’s more interesting, people who don’t deprive themselves of foods they like don’t seem to overeat (source).
OMAD Meals: Choose what is the most filling
Filling foods are nothing else than foods that keep you full and suppress the appetite to eat more. You don’t think of an extra serving or another piece. You’re done.
Filling foods usually have either high on protein, high on fiber, or both. Proteins and fiber seem to positively impact our hunger and satiety hormones. Researchers study satiety for decades, and there are several explanations why proteins play such a huge role in satiety. Here are the most common theories:
- High protein diets increase thermogenesis. This means the body has to use more energy and burn extra calories to break down, digest, and absorb amino acids while eliminating unnecessary by-products that’s been created during the process (source).
- A high protein diet elevates amino acid concentrations. There is a theory that once the “amino acid pool” reaches a certain level, it triggers satiety hormones to kick in (source).
- It takes 10-15 minutes for the brain to register that you have food in your gut. Proteins and high-fiber foods take longer to digest and extract nutrients. This stretch in time allows your gut to fully communicate with your brain and send signals that indeed, you’re full.
- High protein diet increases “hepatic gluconeogenesis” (manufacture of glucose in the liver from non-glucose elements). This process within itself participates in the appetite regulation mechanism (source).
All of the above contribute in one way or another to keep you full after the meal.
Why is it important? When you feel satisfied and can get on with your day., without thinking about food. When you’re choosing foods that aren’t filling, most likely you will crave for more, or overeat later.
Foods that aren’t filling or satisfying usually are highly palatable. This means they trigger the opposite hormones to make you eat more and feel hungry again. They usually stimulate appetite, delay satiety, and promote excessive eating.
According to studies, we consume up to 44% more food if it’s highly palatable (source).
What Are Palatable Foods?
In general, palatable foods and ingredients influence us to eat more. Those are the foods that are rich in fat, salt, simple sugars, enriched with artificial flavors and additives. Palatability can be also influenced by other sensory mechanisms like the smell, texture, and even names of the food.
Those are the foods you want to stay away from when you’re doing OMAD because they simply trigger you to eat more. And the more you add highly palatable foods to your menu, you will crave more food.
In fact, palatability can influence us to eat, regardless if we are hungry or not. I want you to digest that for a moment.
Here are some of the factors that influence what we eat:
|Salt||Salt is been used over the centuries to improve the taste of food. The more salt we use in cooking, the more desirable meal will be.|
|Monosodium glutamate||This is a well-known flavor enhancer that increases palatability. It is often used as a salt substitute|
|Fat||Dietary fats have the least impact on satiety and because they are the most energy-dense, they seem to be highly palatable.|
|Simple sugar||Sugar is highly palatable and rewarding. Adding simple sugar to the diet (without any fiber) enhances the neural and chemical systems in the brain to consume more. Adding fiber seems to reduce this signaling (source)|
|Variety||Increased variety and less monotony increase palatability can lead to short-term overconsumption. With more types of foods at once, we eat more and have fewer breaks to stop.|
|Convenience foods||Foods available in the supermarkets are engineered for maximum palatability. Those types of foods will likely have less fiber, partially hydrogenated fats, and more artificial flavors to trigger us to eat more.|
|Names||Reading or listening to descriptions like “rich delicious flavor” or “double black forest chocolate brownie” has more impact than reading messages like “boiled vegetable water”.|
TIP: Some experts suggest that going on a diet that eliminates certain groups of foods (like carbs, meats, plants) leads to a temporary decrease in variety and therefore, leads to lower food intake.
But you don’t have to eliminate any of the macronutrients. More on that later. So what are the foods that aren’t palatable and high in satiety? Everything has a substantial amount of fiber and proteins.
Choose Meals That Are Nutritious
What are nutritious foods? Those are all the foods that are nutrient-dense. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and other health-promoting compounds.
Once you build up your plate with a big chunk of proteins and soluble fiber, now is the time to leave some room for the rest of the colorful fruits and veggies.
Why nutritious foods are important on OMAD? A variety of foods in your one meal a day diet ensures you are getting all the essential micro and macronutrients. This will help you stay away from trouble.
It all comes down to the duration of your diet.
TIP: Some vitamins can be stored in the body, where others cannot, so they need to be delivered on the daily basis.
Here is the list of vitamins which our body either can or cannot store.
|Vitamin||Can it be stored?|
One meal a day doesn’t give you much room to spread your nutrition. That’s why it is easy to fall into the trap of eating the same foods over and over again, and totally disregard the fact that we need some vitamins more often than others.
Here is the list of foods that you should consume more often to meet all your vitamins needs.
|vitamin C||citrus fruits, oranges, grapefruits, peppers, broccoli, potatoes|
|vitamin B1||peas, bananas, oranges, nuts, whole grains, fortified breakfast cereals, liver|
|vitamin B2||milk, eggs, mushrooms, yogurt|
|vitamin B3||meat, fish, eggs, wheat flour, coffee|
|vitamin B5||chicken, beef, liver, kidneys, eggs, avocado|
|folic acid||broccoli, brussels sprouts, leafy greens, peas, chickpeas,|
This may help you look at your current menu and decide whether or not you’re on point, and monitor what you need and what you already eat.
Go Further with OMAD
This article is part of the OMAD: What To Eat
In the following articles, I show you all the related aspects necessary to get started with OMAD and knowing what to eat for the best results.
Learn More: Click here to read the guide on how much should I eat on omad