Hey guys, coach Haley here and today I want to talk all about meal timing. Meal timing is a good thing to be aware of. Looking at when you get hungry and when you actually eat. It can also help with athletic performance and weight loss. Let’s dive in!
My stance as a nutrition specialist
First, I want to share my belief around meal timing. I don’t think it necessarily matters when you eat, as long as you are eating good foods. Different people have different needs and goals especially when it comes to meal timing or eating. For example, I know some people who can’t eat in the morning. It upsets their stomach or they don’t have an appetite. Another example is people who intermittently fast. Whether they’re doing it to lose weight or because they enjoy the lifestyle, it could be working for them. So I’m not going to tell you exactly when you have to eat, because it doesn’t always matter. There are times however, when eating at certain times can be beneficial, but we’ll get into that later.
What is meal timing?
Meal timing is essentially the times of day we choose to eat our meals and snacks. For some people, this is a planned out process. For others, not so much.
Although I said meal timing isn’t super important, I do believe that what you choose to eat when you eat can have major health effects. For example, getting the proper micronutrients and macronutrients should be our main focus. Keeping our blood sugar levels steady and avoiding insulin spikes/drops.
Beneficial times to eat
After a workout, it is beneficial to get protein and sugar into your body at least 30 minutes after finishing. If you don’t eat after a workout you won’t be able to get optimal results. Your muscles need fuel to recover and replenish.
Supplements can be most effective if taken at the proper times. For example, BCAAs can be consumed at any time, but you will get the best results consuming them during or after a workout.
It may also be beneficial to eat before a workout. Everyone is different, but consuming carbs before a workout can provide your body with energy.
Why tracking meal timing/hunger can be helpful
Pay attention to when you get hungry. An important aspect of meal timing is eating around the times that you are hungry. If you aren’t hungry even though it’s “breakfast” or “lunch” time doesn’t mean you have to eat.
This also applies for the times you are hungry even though you just ate an hour ago. It’s okay to eat throughout the day as long as you are eating nutritious foods. Eating throughout the day can actually help with binging, weight loss and energy levels. It does this by maintaining our blood sugar levels, balancing our appetite and improving our metabolism. There hasn’t been any research showing any drastic benefits between eating three large meals a day vs five smaller meals. So find what works best for you!
My challenge for you
Being able to find what works best for your body is a key part in living a healthy lifestyle. My challenge for you is to notice when you are hungry and when you choose to eat. Ultimately you should be eating when you are hungry, not because it’s a designated time to eat. Try eating three bigger meals with small snacks vs eating smaller meals throughout the day. Find what works for your body and remember, it’s not important when you eat, rather what you eat! Eat a balanced nutritious diet!