The typical intake of three meals a day isn't good. Since your body can only metabolize a certain amount of protein, it makes no sense at all to eat three large meals a day, because you will be taking in extra fat and carbs, and not using most of the protein that you're taking in.
Five meals a day is more appropriate.
-You should get enough fruits and veggies to keep your organs functioning properly and keep your immune system up. Antioxidants and vitamins that are found in fruits and vegetables are vital to good health, so that is a basic, yet vital element of any diet. You should eat about 10 servings a day of tomatoes, peppers, grapes, broccoli, cabbage, potatoes, apples, bananas, and other nutrition loaded fruits and veggies as these.
-Avoid eating refined sugars, transfats, and excess carbs. Any excess carbohydrates or sugars that are taken in, will be converted into lipids by your body and stored as fat. Carbs are necessary to the body for the production of energy, to get you up and moving around. The average person however, eats far more than necessary.
-Protein is the main reason for spacing out meals. Protein is necessary for building muscle, but the body can only use a certain amount of protein at a time. Excess protein will be converted into fat, and gives the kidneys a hell of time in processing them. Good protein sources are milk (most easily used protein in building muscle), eggs, lean meats (red or white), beans (avoid soy, because it has properties similar to estrogen), and potatoes. I weigh about 165 pounds, and the ideal amount of protein for me to be taking in is roughly 23 grams, 5 times per day, because my body can only use this much based on my weight. This amount of protein spaced out every two and a half hours or so is ideal, it allows my body to constantly build muscle. To get this number, divide your weight in pounds by 7 to get an approximate value. Of course, this is intended for people who are already lean, and are looking to build extra muscle, it needn't be scaled up for someone who is overweight and weighs 300 pounds obviously.
-Stinging nettles have been greatly undervalued as a good source of nutrition. If steamed, they lose their stinging power because the formic acid in them is destroyed by heat. Dried nettles contain an amazing 40% protein, as well as vitamins and minerals, and unique chemical compounds that act as a kidney cleanser, which gives rise to their scientific name uritica. Nettles are an ideal nutritional supplement, and could be ground and added to food as additional protein, cooked into omelets, or put into soups. In their fresh form, they can be used in place of spinach.
-Potatoes are interesting because they provide a fairly high source of protein, but also because they contain some of the best complex carbohydrates, which provide consistant energy over a long period of time, and are slowly digested, leaving a person feeling fuller longer. Baked potatoes are the most filling of all foods. Potatoes are also rich in vitamin C, and have more potassium than bananas.
-Foods like most cereals, pastries, and white bread are virtually useless. they have simple, highly processed carbohydrates that don't really fill you up, and only give you a temporary rush of energy that is quickly exhausted, leaving a person feeling tired and sluggish. Whole grains are better, but personally I think that potatoes are better still.
-Transfats and refined sugar should be avoided. As long as a person is taking in enough protein to build muscle, fruits and veggies for nutrition, and complex carbohydrates to provide necessary aerobic energy, it is nearly impossible that they won't also get enough fat and sugars, but special care must be given in the case of omega fatty acids. Honey is an exception, it is very nutritious, and can be taken in as a supplement in moderate amounts. Omega fatty acids are vital for proper heart and brain function and a myriad of other necessary processes. Specific information about these is given below.
-The health benefits of herbs should not be overlooked, they can be used to speed metabolism, lower heart rate, provide extra energy, or a host of other health applications. They are useful for tweeking the body or mind to fit a specific task. Excess caffeine should be avoided.
-A proper balance of omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids, is highly beneficial to good health. Most diets are gravely deficient of omega 3. They are essential nutrients, meaning that the body must receive these from the diet, as they cannot be synthesized within. In order to balance your proper intake of omega fatty acids, I recommend eating canned salmon or sardines three or four times a week to ensure that you are getting enough, as well as using virgin olive oil in meals. Flax seeds also contain high levels of omega 3 compounds, but almost none of this is received by the body unless the seeds are ground up prior to ingestion.
I have revised this since my last posting, any additional suggestions are very welcome!