When is the Right Time to Eat?

Although everything will depend on the availability of each person's schedule, there's a recommended time to eat each meal of the day. Following this schedule will help us to take better advantage of them.
When is the Right Time to Eat?

Last update: 22 May, 2021

In recent years, we’ve been advised to correct some eating behaviors to improve the quality of our diet. Besides making good food choices, they’ve been telling us to eat more consciously. Therefore, we’ve also been given suggestions regarding the right time to eat.

While it’s true that this schedule depends largely on the habits of each person, there are certain “principles” that we should respect. This way, we get the most out of food and, incidentally, promote important functions, such as metabolism. Find out more about this!

The right time to eat

Until a few years ago, people were unaware of how important mealtimes are. However, nowadays, many nutritionists recommend maintaining regular schedules every day as part of good eating behaviors.

In fact, it’s best to eat a greater number of small meals instead of three large ones, as this keeps the metabolism active and reduces the tendency to overeat and undereat. In this regard, a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics pointed out that:

“A larger number of small meals may be associated with improved diet quality and lower BMI. This may have implications for behavioral approaches to controlling the obesity epidemic.”

In the meantime, each of these meals should have a regular schedule, considering the role each has in our nutrition. Let’s see below what the recommendations are regarding the right time to eat.

Breakfast after 7:00

time to eat

In a publication in the journal Circulation, the American Heart Association (AHA) noted that breakfast is the first meal of the day, which we should eat within 2 hours of waking up, usually between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.

However, some suggest that 7 or 8 a.m. is the appropriate time to eat breakfast-related foods.

What should a good breakfast include? As we know, it is the most important meal of the day, so it has to be substantial. It should include fruit, grains, and some food that contains calcium. With these, you’ll have a complete breakfast.

Sometimes, some people aren’t able to have breakfast due to the fact that they don’t have any appetite when they wake up.” In these cases, we recommend taking some time (shower, get ready …) so that your body wakes up and becomes hungry. Drinking a glass of water can help.

A snack between 10:00 and 11:00

Once we have breakfast, we often go to the gym, to work, or to tend to our responsibilities. Then, at 10:00 or 11:00, it’s advisable that we eat something. It’s a perfect time to have some fruit, a cereal bar, or some yogurt with nuts.

It’s best not to skip this snack. If we do, having had breakfast at 8 o’clock, for example, we may be starving by lunchtime. And that’s very likely to cause us to do some unplanned nibbling beforehand and, in general, we end up falling into unhealthy temptations.

Eating something light at this time of the morning will help to stave off hunger until mealtime. In addition, it will also give us some more energy. If you wish, you can have a cup of coffee, too.

Lunch after 13:00

Lunch after 13:00

It’s not recommended that you eat lunch before 1:00, unless you don’t have another option. But how long can you delay lunch? Well, until 3:00 in the afternoon at the latest.

In this meal, you have to include some vegetables, protein, healthy fats, greens, and carbohydrates. It must be a meal that’s filling, but that isn’t too hearty. This could be counterproductive and diminish your energy.

After the meal, we can eat something light for dessert, like another piece of fruit, and accompany it with a cup of tea. Tea helps the body digest and helps the stomach to feel good.

Time to eat a snack!

Having a snack isn’t for children. Just like we should have lunch, adults should also have a snack. This way, we can better hold off until dinner and avoid snacking on any unhealthy food.

A review published in the journal Advances in Nutrition highlights that snacking, but especially making good food choices, has the potential to contribute valuable nutrients to the daily diet. In addition, it increases satiety and contributes to a healthy weight.

The appropriate time to consume food for a snack is between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. If you’ve eaten at 3:00 p.m., you can extend this time until 6:00 p.m. It’s important that you know that all these hours are flexible, and you can always adapt them to your lifestyle.

For a snack, you could eat a handful of nuts. They’ll give a lot of energy. Also, if you haven’t had a yogurt earlier in the day, this would be a good time to have one. If you accompany it with some nuts, it will be a complete snack.

Dinner shouldn’t be later than 9:00 p.m.

Dinner must not be later than 9:00 p.m.

The appropriate time to consume food at dinner is from 7:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. or 10 p.m. It’s not a good idea to dine any later than that unless you go to sleep very late.

Remember that there should be at least two hours after you finish dinner before you go to sleep. If you eat before bed, it’s hard for you to fall asleep, you’ll feel uncomfortable and, most likely, you’ll experience gas. Therefore, it’s important to have dinner as soon as you can to give your body time to digest.

Dinner should be light. Some soup, some fish, a chicken breast, some vegetables…

It should be a dinner that’s rich in vitamins and that does not require a lot of digestion. Some people just have a glass of milk or a small sandwich. This is also adequate. The needs of each person are different.

These are just some recommendations, but everything depends on your needs. In addition, each person has work and responsibilities that may require him or her to have other meal times. When do you eat your meals? Do they match the times we’ve recommended?

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