When should I eat breakfast, lunch and dinner? When should I take a snack break? Knowing when to time your meals and snacks is a popular question among many, and for good reason. There’s definitely a strategy when it comes to food and time!
Food Timing – Why Does it Matter?
Although your body isn’t actually a watch, it acts like one at times. In fact, all of us have an internal clock (circadian rhythm) that keeps our body functioning on schedule.
So what does this really mean? Well, when you eat affects a number of different bodily processes – ranging from your metabolism to your sleep cycle. If you want to control your weight and ultimately your overall health, knowing when to eat can help.
Generally speaking, we tend to feel hunger every three to five hours. However, this number is also dependent on our routine schedule. In order to achieve satiety and fight the urge to eat more than we need, eating healthy meals/snacks throughout the day according to this schedule can be of benefit. High-satiety foods are key to this strategy.
Healthy Tips for Food Timing
So, we know that food timing matters. But what do we do now? Consider these tips for timing your meals and snacks for optimal weight management:
Try to do this before 10:00 am so that you have energy to burn and sustain you in the morning. For some, eating breakfast can help jump-start their metabolism and prevent them from over-indulging on calories later in the day.
Have an Early Dinner
For most people, time spent after dinner is usually idle and does not require as much energy. So, this meal can be smaller than others. However, eating earlier on in the evening may help your body reach a state of ketosis a lot sooner – thus indicating your body is using fat for energy.
Snack throughout the Day
Choosing lean, low-calorie and healthy snacks throughout the day can help regulate your metabolism and control your hunger. With high-satiety snacks on-hand, you may be less likely to indulge on food later on.
Give Yourself Time to Sleep
Try not to eat any large meals too soon before bed. Also, try to give yourself ample time for uninterrupted sleep. Research suggests that disruptions can confuse your body’s hunger signals and affect your hormones.
Eat When You Feel Hungry
Is your stomach rumbling? If it’s about time for your regular breakfast, lunch or dinner, go ahead and eat that meal. If it’s not one of those times, don’t be afraid to have a healthy low-calorie snack. The trick here is to avoid extreme hunger. If you’re starving, you’re more likely to reach for an unhealthy food item.
When you eat is almost as important as what you eat. Although the same general rules apply to most of us, make sure you take into account your body’s unique needs and patterns. Just make sure you stay satiated from healthy foods throughout the day!