Meal Timing: Is when you eat more important than what you eat?

Eating regularly scheduled meals is just as important as eating healthy foods.

Eating regularly scheduled meals is just as important as eating healthy foods.

Countless trips to your doctor have probably ingrained the food pyramid and the five major food groups into your mind. So you know what you should be eating in order to be healthy, but did you know that when you eat is just as important as what you eat? Here's everything you need to know about incorporating meal timing into your daily routine.

What is meal timing?
Meal timing is planning when you eat certain meals in order to help your body absorb all of the nutrients it needs from your diet. It can be especially helpful if you're trying to reach a healthy weight but eating at regularly scheduled intervals also benefits you beyond weight loss. According to a recent study from the American Heart Association, during a time when people eat more irregularly than ever, eating at consistent times is crucial for maintaining cardiovascular health and a healthy weight. So how can you be more intentional about the timing of your meals? Two simple ways include eating breakfast and eating within a particular window of time.

1. Eat breakfast
You've probably been told to eat breakfast a million times by either your doctor or your parents. Believe it or not, breakfast is truly one of the most important meals of the day. By eating a balanced, calorie-dense breakfast in the morning, you're more likely to burn off all of the calories from that meal throughout the day and you're giving your body the jumpstart it needs after a night of fasting. By skipping breakfast, you run the risk of overeating later on in the day, which can make it harder for you to sleep through the night. In a study published in The Obesity Society Journal, researchers found that people who eat a heavy breakfast as opposed to a larger dinner should be more likely to lose weight. In terms of timing your meals, this means you should plan to eat breakfast in addition to making it one of your denser meals of the day.

2. Eat during a particular window of time
If you really don't like eating breakfast right when you wake up, then try to limit how much you eat throughout the day. For example, if you wake up at 8 a.m. but you don't eat your first meal until 10 a.m., try to eat the rest of your meals within the next eight to 10 hours. By limiting the window of time that you're eating, you'll train your body to eat at certain times and you'll get used to not eating a few hours before you go to bed. 

Healthy eating is key to helping you maintain the energy to do what you love on a daily basis. Although what you eat is important, being mindful of when you eat is important as well. Adding these two simple tips to your routine can take your nutrition and overall health to the next level.