Research hasn’t clearly shown that eating three meals a day is any better or worse than five or six smaller meals, but we do know you should avoid eating less than three times a day, as that could make it tougher to control your appetite. How often and at what times you should eat, therefore, come down to personal preference and your work or activity schedule. Just remember that the more often you eat, the less you should eat at a time.
If you’re eating three meals a day and find that you’re often overly hungry at the evening meal, add a mid-afternoon snack to help keep hunger in check. Depending on what time you eat breakfast and lunch, you may or may not need a morning snack.
Although many people do report eating an evening snack, check in with yourself first to determine if you’re truly hungry or just eating mindlessly, perhaps triggered by food commercials on television or the habits of others in your household. On the other hand, if you won’t be able to eat much prior to an early-morning athletic event, eating a nutritious bedtime snack the night before can be a smart move.
To learn more about how eating habits can help your overall fitness and well-being, purchase a copy of Eat Well and Exercise from Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter.