Everyone knows that eating a balanced diet is one of the keys to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But when you think about how often you eat during the day, you may start to wonder why eating three meals a day is such a common practice. Is eating breakfast, lunch and dinner really the best option for your health?
Is It Necessary to Eat 3 Meals a Day?
Generally speaking, it’s not exactly necessary to eat three meals per day. However, you’ll find varying research on the topic — in other words, you won’t find solid evidence that eating breakfast, lunch and dinner is strictly good or bad.
While some studies find that eating one or two meals daily is associated with lower body mass index (BMI), others state that eating more snacks throughout the day can lead to less weight gain risk. However, different research mentions that skipping meals like breakfast and dinner could lead to a higher risk of obesity or Type 2 diabetes, making a case for eating three meals per day.
Like many aspects of life, choosing to eat three meals per day depends mostly on personal health and preference.
Why You Should Eat 3 Meals a Day
For some people, eating three meals a day is the easiest choice. There are a few reasons to stick with the standard three-meals-a-day regimen:
- Offers better structure: If you’re like most modern-day humans, you’ve likely eaten three meals a day since you were a child. Most people are used to partaking in such a consistent, familiar eating routine. By pacing your meals with several-hour breaks in between, you can ensure you feel satisfied.
- Reduces hunger and cravings: Those who eat breakfast, lunch and dinner are often less likely to feel hungry throughout the day. When you eat a breakfast with protein, whole grains and healthy fats, you won’t think twice about eating until it’s time for lunch. So long as you enjoy healthy meals three times per day, you may experience less hunger and cravings.
- Lessens overeating: When you skip lunch because you’re busy at work, you might find yourself overindulging at dinner. By eating consistently three times daily, it’s easier to avoid consuming too many calories, which could lead to weight gain. Supplementing light meals with nutritious snacks also helps.
Why You Shouldn’t Eat 3 Meals a Day
Of course, not every person will enjoy or benefit from eating three meals each day. The choice is ultimately up to you. Here are a few downsides of eating three meals a day that may convince you to switch to a new diet routine:
- Provides greater flexibility: In some cases, eating three nutrient-dense meals per day is tough. Maybe you don’t feel hungry in the morning, or you tend to get home from work too late to cook and eat dinner. If you opt for two bigger meals or six smaller meals throughout the day, your eating habits will be a bit more flexible.
- Could increase weight loss: Those who want to lose weight typically find that eating fewer calories helps. If you burn more calories than you consume, you’ll lose weight. Therefore, eating many smaller meals throughout the day can help you stay full while consuming fewer calories.
- More natural biologically: Consider that humans haven’t always eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner as we do today. In fact, breakfast as a concept didn’t exist until recent centuries — the Romans viewed eating one meal a day as the healthiest option. Therefore, you may find that cutting down to two meals a day feels more natural to you.
How to Create an Effective Meal Plan
Whether you love eating breakfast, lunch and dinner or you prefer to snack throughout the day, you should ensure you’re consuming the right nutrients. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends specific dietary guidelines for Americans. These approaches are important to follow — they can help you create a well-balanced, healthy meal plan, no matter when you choose to eat.
- Select from each food group: Be sure to eat a consistent amount of fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy, grains and oil. Every meal or snack you eat should include ingredients from as many of each category as possible. A breakfast of avocado toast with an egg on whole wheat bread and a side of fruit ticks each box.
- Aim for diversity: Everyone has their favorite foods. However, being diverse with your food choices can keep every meal interesting and healthy. A salad with ranch dressing is a good start — but why not add a new topping, like grilled salmon for protein? Having a “curious” palate could help you make more tasty and nutritious meals and snacks.
- Limit added sugars, fats and sodium: A slice of toast with peanut butter can be a delicious and filling snack. However, you should try to keep an eye on what’s inside of your food — bread and peanut butter loaded with excess sugar or sodium is unhealthy. While moderation is key, avoiding foods that contain unhealthy additives is your best bet.
Getting enough sustenance and nutrients from your diet is crucial. If you’re considering switching to eating two meals a day or several snacks instead of meals, you should ensure you structure your meals or snacks so they’re diverse, healthy and filling. The sentiment is simple — a proper meal plan is essential for a healthy life.
How a Dining Program Can Help
As a company, college or university, it’s important to serve employees and students an array of healthy food options throughout the day. Whether your employees like coming in early for breakfast or your students need a filling lunch in between classes, partnering with a dining program can help you meet their needs. There’s a clear relationship between food and productivity, so choosing the right company matters.
American Dining Creations is the privately-owned hospitality service you need to supply delicious, healthy meals. Let us serve your business chef-inspired lunches for your workplace meal plan or your higher learning institution an array of fresh buffet options as part of a college student meal plan. American Dining Creations has you covered no matter your needs.
The professional team of chefs we employ are committed to quality and service. By working with us to provide your workers and scholars with varying bites to eat throughout the day, you can rest assured they have the fuel they need to complete their work and classes. From concepts like Stacked, which serves fresh-pressed hamburgers, to Boost Cafe, which whips up fresh smoothies, we give you numerous options to build a nutritious and satisfying dining environment.
Contact American Dining Creations to Create the Perfect Dining Program
American Dining Creations is here to help you create the best possible dining program. If you’re interested in learning more about what we can offer you, schedule a tasting to sample some of our dining options. No matter when your employees or students need a nutritious meal to munch on, we can help.