What Times Should I Eat?

by Genevieve Jackson

About Genevieve Jackson

Genevieve Jackson has written for "10th Life" and "Double A Beauty" since 2005. She is an entrepreneur with experience in risk management. She also engages in motivational speaking for entrepreneurs. Jackson received a bachelor's degree in political science from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

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Eat several small meals throughout the day to stave off hunger. Begin your day with breakfast and eat a small snack between meals to satiate your appetite. Schedule meals approximately four hours apart. Eating five to six times per day increases metabolism and provides you with energy for daily activities. Waiting longer than four hours between meals may cause you to consume more calories and make unhealthy food choices.

Breakfast

The first meal of the day gives your body enough energy to last until your next meal. Skipping breakfast deprives your body of the energy required to function properly in the morning. The time between yesterday's dinner and the next day's lunch may last up to 12 hours. According to registered dietitian Katherine Zeratsky, going long periods of time without food may cause a drop in blood sugar. Low blood sugar leads to a decrease in brain function -- resulting in an overall drop in productivity. Boost your performance levels by eating within an a hour of getting out of bed.

Lunch

Maintain energy levels by consuming an adequate lunch. Schedule lunch to take place approximately four hours after breakfast. Endocrinologist, Dr. Deepak Chopra recommends eating lunch at the same time everyday, preferably between noon and 12:30 p.m. Don't skip lunch and opt for a large dinner -- refueling your body with a midday meal will help you stay at peek performance levels throughout the afternoon. According to a December 2007 study in the medical journal "Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental," skipping meals during the day may lead to a delayed insulin response.

Dinner

Eat dinner in the early evening approximately four hours after lunch. The nutrients consumed at dinner time will carry you throughout the night and into the morning. Not only will eating dinner within four hours of lunch maintain your energy levels, but it also helps you avoid making poor food choices. In "Is Dietary Knowledge Enough" published August 2008, The United States Department of Agriculture notes the quality of food choices degrade with longer stretches between meals. If your schedule does not permit eating dinner within four hours of lunch, eat dinner as soon as possible after the four-hour window passes, or eat a light snack to hold you over until dinner.

Snacks

Let your body be your guide to hunger. If you feel hunger pangs between meals, eat a snack. Consuming a small snack two hours after a meal increases available energy stores between meals. Snacking between meals helps you avoid feeling lethargic. Registered dietitian Samantha Heller suggests eating a snack composed of protein and carbohydrates to keep blood sugar levels in check for optimal brain function.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.