Are three meals a day essential

Three meals are a great basis for a healthy diet and allow most people to meet most of their nutrient requirements. Often people will require snacks too though. If we consider that for optimal muscle growth, we need a dose of protein every 3-4 hours, snacks are crucial to meet this. 

Snacks can also help bridge the long gap between meals and prevent us from overeating at the next meal. Ever find yourself getting home from work and eating the house down while cooking dinner? This is not unusual, when blood sugar levels drop, our primal hunger kicks and tells us we need food ASAP. We tend to reach for whatever is convenient, with the focus often being on carbohydrates. The break between lunch and dinner tends to be the longest for most people, so adding in an afternoon snack is super helpful to prevent overeating in the evening.

But what about intermittent fasting?
Fasting- aka – going for an extended amount of time without eating- has become all the rage. This is most commonly implemented between breakfast and dinner. Proponents of intermittent fasting claim that it will extend longevity, improve blood sugar control, reduce cholesterol and aid in weight loss. While these claims may not be well evidenced, some people find that skipping breakfast fits well in their day and allows them to enjoy a bigger lunch and dinner. For some, though, skipping breakfast leads to overeating later in the day and can lead to poorer food choices- e.g., reaching for a muffin and coffee mid-morning to get through the day. If you are thinking of skipping your breakfast meal, the nutrient density of your lunch and dinner become even more important= no room to skimp on the fruits and vegetables at your other meals.

About the author

Cheyenne Holman

Cheyenne Holman

Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD)
Accredited Sports Dietitian
Certified Personal Trainer
Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher