Many people like to focus on the small details of nutrition and food, but maybe forget the larger picture. Often times people focus on amount of protein they eat, or how gmany rams of carbohydrates they eat, or how much salt is in their food…. But maybe forget about the bigger picture such as, eating enough fruit and vegetables each day, eating balanced meals and also eating regular meal times.
Before focusing on the smaller details of food and nutrition, you should look at your intake in total.
And one of the best nutrition and health tips I can give is…. Eating regular meal times.
There are many benefits to this which I will mention down below.
Some people skip meals to “save” calories.
Others skip meals just because they aren’t hungry or don’t have time.
But skipping meals can lead to:
- Sweet cravings in the evenings.
- Ending up snacking lots in the evenings or in the following days to “make up” for the lost energy.
- Not having energy, concentration or focus because you have skipped a meal.
- Feeling hangry, i.e hungry and angry… and that may just cause you to lash out or get angry or irritated at those around you.
The best thing is to have a routine with your eating in general, even if somedays may vary from that routine. If you aren’t a huge breakfast person, that is ok…. You can eat brunch or a later breakfast instead. Or if you are someone who prefers an earlier dinner… or maybe someone who prefers a later dinner, that is ok as well. Just that you have some form of routine and regular meal times.
The best of course is to eat between 3-6 meals a day, just to keep yourself energized all day and avoid going far too long without food which can make you feel tired, rely on caffeine or lose concentration.
But some people prefer 3 bigger meals, and that is ok a well… just as long as it doesn’t go 10-12 hours between your meals each time.
Eating every 3-4 hours is recommended for the general population, even if there are some benefits to fasting for some people as well. It is not recommended for everyone. And what I can say is that it is better to just eat all your meals between example 6am and 9pm each day, and not constantly be eating from 6am to 12pm each day.
So why eat regular meal times?
- It will give you energy throughout the day
- It can minimize cravings because you will energize and fuel your body with your main meals and snacks
- Typically your main meals and snacks will be composed of healthy foods, which also helps you get all your vitamins and minerals you need. Whereas spontaneous snacks chosen out of hanger or extreme hunger due to skipping meals are most often not the most nutritious…. Unless you are someone who naturally grabs a fruit or some nuts in those panic-hunger moments.
- Better concentration and focus throughout the day. Also with a regular routine with your meal times your body will adapt to this and you will feel hungry at those times.
- Your body feels “safer”/more balanced if you eat at similar times each day, compared to one day eating 3 meals, another day eating 6 meals. One day eating your first meal at 10 am the next day eating your first meal at 6am
If possible, mealprepping or packing snacks with you is a good idea. Then you will always have nutritious food with you for when you feel hungry and need some more energy.
Often times, as mentioned above, people can skip meals to save calories or because of fear of weight gain… if this is how you think, then now is a good time to combat those fears and thoughts. Because regular meal times is actually one way to help maintain a healthy weight. Often those who skip meals end up overeating or binging, or snacking on less nutritious foods due to extreme hunger and that can lead to weightgain. Or lead to an unhealthy relationship with food and a binge-restrict cycle.
So for overall health, mental and physical, regular meal times is recommended.
As mentioned, when you eat regular meal times you are also more likely to plan your meals and have them prepared and therefore also eat more nutritious meals which is beneficial for overall health.
So… if you are someone who eats irregular meal times or has no routine with eating or mealtimes… then it may be time to structure up your eating and mealtimes and find your routine.
No, you don’t have to eat breakfast at 7am, no you don’t have to eat 6 meals a day. …. Maybe you are someone who wants to eat your first meal at 10am and only eats breakfast, lunch and dinner. That is ok… just try to stick to that routine everyday. (Of course… if you are on holiday or away from your regular routines, there may be a difference in how, what and how much you eat… that is ok. As mentioned in the beginning, focusing on the bigger picture and what you do the majority of times matters more than what you do/eat/how you eat from time to time!)
Of course, eating breakfast does set you up for the day and gives you the right fuel when you need it the most. But I will save that for another post, talking all about the pro’s of eating breakfast!
If you like this type of nutrition post, let me know in the comments down below or let me know if there are any other nutrition related posts you want me to write about or talk about on my Youtube Channel (follow me there ;))