When is the Best Time to Eat Certain Foods?

There is a best time to eat certain foods. Since your body doesn't burn nutrients at night, for example, it's a good idea to eat a light supper.
When is the Best Time to Eat Certain Foods?
Bernardo Peña

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Bernardo Peña.

Last update: 09 October, 2022

Losing or gaining weight isn’t so much about what you eat. Instead, it’s more about when you eat it. After all, there’s a best time to eat certain foods.

In this article, we’ll see some of the recommendations for the best time to eat different kinds of food during the day.

It’s healthier to eat at least five meals per day.

The times when they taught you to eat three meals per day have officially stayed in the past. Today, all experts unanimously agree that people should eat at least five times per day.

This includes the traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus two snacks between meals.

This approach is complemented by another idea that’s rather a deep-rooted tradition in the medical field. They say that the time between one meal and the next should never be greater than three hours.

Therefore, it’s very likely that going past this time will cause problems like being overweight or not being able to lose extra weight. The reason for this is that when you go past this time, your body will notice it. Then, it’ll think that you’re not getting enough energy supplies and will start to store some.

This will slow down your metabolism and you won’t burn calories as easy.

Breakfast: The most important meal of the day

The first meal of the day needs to restore all of the energy that you used during sleep. This will prepare your body for a day of physical and mental labor at this starting point.

Specialists recommend not skipping any meal. When it comes to breakfast, this is of the utmost importance. You need to start your day by getting the necessary nutrients.

They say that the healthiest breakfast is composed of dairy, fruit, and cereals.

However, this isn’t a set rule. Depending on the time, you should eat breakfast as early as possible. But it should never be after 10.


Specialists maintain that the best time to eat the “third” ( not the “second” ) meal of the day is between 1 pm and 3 pm.
Eating foods with lots of calories after three in the afternoon is particularly counterproductive. This is because of the pounds they can add to your body. After this time, your digestive process becomes more inefficient.

At night you need to prepare yourself to sleep

Breakfast should give you enough energy to start your work day. Your dinner should be much lighter than all of the other meals of the day.

It’s healthier to eat dinner earlier. In addition, it’s recommended that you eat fish or lean meats accompanied with a dairy product (as long as you don’t have a gastric problem).

The only thing that eating food after 10 pm achieves is putting you at risk of gaining a little more weight. Plus, it can also cause nightmares and problems with insomnia.

About sweets, fruits, coffee, and snacks

Desserts are usually in the spotlight when it comes to diets, losing weight, or not getting fat.

There are some people who assure that sweets should be completely removed from the menu so there’s no temptation.

However, there are less radical options. These state that you can eat sweets in moderation. However, you should never eat them after the three main meals.

When talking about pastries, it’s recommended to eat them during the first part of the morning. This is because  your body processes carbohydrates better  before noon .

Another time to eat them is just before starting some physical activity. This will fill your body with energy, but it won’t put too much strain on your stomach.

Nutritionists advice eating a piece of fruit before your meals instead of sweets. This is a good way to reduce the feeling of hunger. Plus, it’ll also give you a filling effect.

Hydrate properly: this is as important as knowing the best time to eat

No diet is healthy if you don’t drink enough water.

Specialists also recommend:

  • Two cups of water just after waking up to cleanse your body.
  • One cup of water half an hour before the main meals, and another one before showering and going to sleep.

In total, you should drink between a quart and a half to two quarts of water per day.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Santos HO., Macedo RCO., Impact of intermittent fasting on the lipid profile: assessment associated with diet and weight loss. Clin Nutr ESPEN, 2018. 24: 14-21.
  • Lopez Minguez J., Gomez Abellan P., Garaulet M., Timing of breakfast, lunch and dinner. Effects on obesity and metabolic risk. Nutrients, 2019.
  • Srour B., Fezeu LK., Kesse Guyot E., Alles B., et al., Ultra processed food intake and risk of cardiovascular disease: prospective cohort study. BMJ, 2019.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.