Generally when I see clients I can see that they know what healthy eating is in terms of the ‘what foods to eat’. Yes, there may be slight confusion about some foods, but generally we all know that the carbs we choose should be the less processed, higher fibre ones; proteins should be the lean sources and fish and chicken should be consumed mostly; and fats are good, but we should choose the plant fats.
However, too often I find that clients slip up, not because they have any food addictions, but because they are setting themselves up for failure (without even knowing it). The timing of meals is important as we need to eat according to how our body can handle the energy and nutrients best.
Let’s take a look at a study done in 2013 by Jakubowicz D, et al. Overweight and obese women with metabolic syndrome were put into one of two groups: a breakfast group (700kcal breakfast, 500kcal lunch and 200kcal dinner); and a dinner group (200kcal breakfast, 500kcal lunch and 700kcal dinner). The breakfast group had greater, weight loss, waist circumference loss, better glucose control, insulin functioning as well as lower triglyceride levels.
The average satiety scores were also better in the breakfast group.
What does this all mean?
Our bodies function best during the early part of the day as opposed to the later part of the day.
So when you are setting up your meal plans, remember the following guidelines:
ü Have a good breakfast early in the day (ideally within an hour of getting up).
ü Have a morning snack (especially if breakfast was very early and there are more than 4-5 hours between breakfast and lunch).
ü Make lunch a decent meal.
ü Carbohydrates should be incorporated into the first half of the day, but slow down with them as you get to the later part of the day. This doesn’t mean you cannot have carbs at dinner but the portion must be small.
ü Have a small afternoon snack if dinner is quite late or if the time between lunch and dinner is more than 4-5 hours.
ü Have a small supper.
When you eat more in the morning, eating less in the later part of the day will become easy. Give it a try!