Food timing is something that I get asked about all the time and can mean different things for different people. My first piece of advice is never skip food because it does not fit into your daily regime but if you are clever a bit of pre-planning can go a long way.
Gym pre and post training
This has been debated and I am sure will continue to be debated until the end of life itself. However, the general consensus here is to be sure that what you ate the day before sees you with enough energy to get out of bed and exercise. If not, having a simple carbohydrate snack like a date or a banana can be a great boost.
Again, post training you need to refuel your carbs for spent energy but you may also like to include some protein for muscle recovery.
Work hours and lunch breaks
Whilst it is always advised to eat only when you are hungry this can be a whole lot more trouble than it’s worth when it comes to scheduling your day. The meaning behind this advice is to be sure to not emotionally eat or eat out of boredom and does not cover eating out of work plan necessity.
Some people can experience digestive upset when they are not ready to receive food and feel bloated and sluggish afterwards. It can be helpful to include foods like apple cider vinegar with your meals or sip ginger tea to spark your digestive fire a little earlier.
Eating after dark
In an ideal world we would all be sitting around in grassy paradise in the mountains picking berries and sleeping when the sun goes down. The unfortunate reality is that most of us do not get home until after dark and thus we would loose our dinner is we adhere to this rule. Many people also suggest banning carbs after dark but as a vegan this does not make sense and unnecessarily takes away a great portion of your calorie content.
It is a good idea to make dinner your smallest meal of the day as you are preparing to wind down and you do not need so much energy for sleep BUT you do need energy for the next day. When you are setting up your meal plan for a smaller dinner be sure to make lunch big enough that it allows for adequate nutrition overall.
Snacks are often seen as the enemy and a whole lot of information flies around about 3 main meals or 5 small meals throughout the day. Depending on your metabolism (this is not a psychic reading just try it out and see if you feel good doing this or it works in your daily schedule) either plans can work effectively. If you are eating 5 small meals you must consider 2 points.
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner must actually be smaller and your snacks must be of reasonable size.
- If your breakfast, lunch and dinner are a normal size you must make your snacks smaller, think 80-100 calories.
If you are thinking of annihilating an entire box of bliss balls for afternoon tea skip the shame session and just make sure that your breakfast, morning tea and lunch have all been adequate. Your body’s cry for an eye watering binge session mid-afternoon is nothing more than an energy crash coming from a calorie deficit earlier on in the day.
I will not harp on about this one but the bottom line is to eat it. If you wake up like a baby pterodactyl in the morning make yourself a smoothie the night before and run screaming out the door in the morning sipping your drink in traffic.
Skipping breakfast will ruin your metabolism and set you up for a whole days worth of blood sugar irregularities which lead to binge eating and poor nutrition.
Food timing can work for anyone with a little bit of forward planning and preparation. Always look ahead at your weekly schedule and plan appropriate lunches, meals and snacks. Keep assessing what works for you and what doesn’t and adapt appropriately. It can be useful to check in with a professional to cast an unbiased eye over your meal plan and provide additional suggestions. Always remember that the body loves consistency and routine. We are not as cool as we think we are and if you treat your body with the respect that it deserves it will shine for you.
Holly George is a Bachelor qualified Naturopath in Brisbane, Australia. Specialising in Vegetarian, Vegan and Raw food diets, Holly draws upon 15 years personal experience in the field of natural therapies. Combining her extensive experience, passion for health and high level qualification, you are in good hands.
- Published: 24 February 2015
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