When Should You Eat?

In my recent blog “Timing Is Everything” I discussed the importance of eating regularly throughout the day to help manage your weight, energy levels, cravings, blood sugar levels and mood.

Ideally, you should eat about every 2 to 5 hours. And you should eat the majority of your calories earlier in the day when you’re typically more active.

But beyond that, there are no hard rules as to exactly when you should eat.

Some believe that it is best to eat small frequent meals and snacks throughout the day because it helps speed up your metabolism. However, it is not so easy to significantly change your metabolic rate.

So whether you eat small frequent meals and snacks throughout the day, or you eat three larger meals without snacking, is simply a matter of preference and what works best for your body.

Some people prefer to eat small frequent meals and snacks to help prevent them from getting over-hungry which can often lead to overeating. However, some people feel that they are always hungry and never feel satisfied if they eat small frequent meals and snacks. For these people, this eating pattern could lead to overeating.

Some people prefer to eat three larger meals with no snacking between meals. They prefer the feeling of fullness from a larger meal. For these people, this eating pattern helps control appetite and keeps them from overeating; whereas, others may become over-hungry waiting so long between meals.

The best eating pattern is the one that works for you. Pay close attention to your hunger patterns to help develop your own eating plan.

As an example, the following is my eating plan based on what works for my body.

Breakfast: I am hungry in the mornings and I always have breakfast soon after waking – between 630 and 8 AM depending on the day).

Snack: I always have a snack about 2-3 hours after breakfast. I get extremely hungry midmorning and will experience symptoms of low blood sugar without a midmorning snack.

Lunch: Between noon and 1 PM, I am definitely hungry and ready for lunch.

Snack: My hunger is not as intense in the afternoon. I’ll eat a small afternoon snack, if I feel hungry.

Dinner: I usually have dinner between 530-6:30 PM.

Snack: Depending on the heaviness of my dinner (I tend to eat light) and what time I ate, I may need a small snack later in the evening – I can’t sleep if I’m hungry and I may wake up with a migraine.

If you need help figuring out and eating pattern that works for you, I’d be happy to help.


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