How many times a day do you eat? (including snacks yes, all of them 🙂 ). Do you eat 3 square meals a day, graze all day, do you skip breakfast, eat a big dinner, crave late night snacks, what are your eating habits?
There are many schools of thought on the issue of eating (as well as how much & how often). You may have heard that eating 3 square meals a day is the best or that ‘grazing’ with smaller meals is better for you. There are so many ways to Look at it, to Calculate, to Consider. There are different Body builds, Activity Levels, BMI, Calories, Portion sizes, & more. But who’s right? Is anyone? And why?
Here’s how I see your choices…..
3 Square Meals
Eating 3 square meals a day is a great idea for many people out there. Many people think it’s kind of an ‘old school’ way of thinking about eating, (a ‘meat & potatoes’ way of thinking) but there is nothing wrong with a lot of old school thinking! Eating 3 main meals a day give people a set schedule & a set time to eat. A schedule like this would work very well for someone who’s work & life schedule is similarly set.
Breakfast & Lunches should generally be larger as that is when our bodies need Nourishment & Energy, Dinners smaller (especially if they are after 6pm). It’s not a good idea to eat 2 hours before Bedtime as your body needs it’s energy to finish digesting the food you’ve already eaten as well as Repair, Restore & Heal your body while you rest. One reason 3 Square Meals a day works so well for people is that it gives your body plenty of time to not only Digest, but Rest in-between Meals (or as your body sees it, Working by Digesting & Absorbing Nutrients). If our bodies are constantly working at Digesting foods & moving them through our system, it won’t have time to do much of anything else productive that we need done. A Major reason why this way of eating does not work for many people comes down to Serving Sizes especially the in~between meal Snacks sizes. When you have a Large meal paired with Snacks too close together (& too large), there is no time for your body to Rest!
Grazing is a relatively newer way of thinking about eating for most people. This new way of eating can work for many different types of people. Grazing means you may never really have a ‘sit down’ meal, & you may not ever feel real hunger. Individuals with dropping blood sugars, diabetes, or hyperthyroidism may do much better eating 6~8 times a day.
The most important thing to remember when grazing is the Serving size of food eaten. These are not meals, but closer to snacks. A handful of nuts, an Apple, a Smoothie or Salad are all considered ‘meals’ here. Don’t be fooled tho, your body still needs time in between these mini~meals to digest & rest! Keep a Basic rule of thumb to be approximately 2~3 handfuls of food every 2 hours. This should be enough to keep you satisfied & topped up with Energy, but not so much that it’s hard for your body to rest.
Eating many smaller meals a day will keep your body full of fresh nutrients & energy, so you won’t experience the up & down rollercoaster of blood sugar dips & hunger pains. But it’s so important to keep serving sizes small, that is the major difference here!
And remember to keep it Healthy no matter which option you choose. Just because you aren’t eating a big sit~down meal doesn’t mean you can munch on Cookies or Sweets all day, & if you are sticking with 3 meals a day, don’t continue to snack in between!
How do you feel most comfortable eating? What do you find yourself leaning towards more? Do your choices change with moods, meals or the seasons?