Right from childhood, we are constantly tutored on the importance of developing healthy eating habits. Eating right to keep physically and mentally fit is not only about a balanced diet. It is also about keeping regular meal times. According to an article in News-Medical, new research suggests that eating at the wrong time can trigger learning and memory problems.
The key to good eating habits is to set a systematic timetable for the day including what to eat and when to eat. This can prevent overeating and under-eating. When have irregular mealtimes, it’s difficult to keep track about what you ate altogether at the end of the day – whether you got your nutritional requirements or whether you ate something that you shouldn’t have. Sticking to regular mealtimes can resolve such issues.
If you are looking to shed some pounds, a regular lower energy (calorie) intake per day is essential and this is possible only through regular eating. Eating regular low fat meals also helps to reduce the total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Other benefits of regular eating:
- Helps prevent missed meals and delayed eating
- Prevents binge eating
- Maintains steady blood sugar levels
- Minimizes feelings of irritability and tiredness
- Steadies metabolism
Regular mealtimes also improve mental alertness. According to News-Medical report, eating at times normally reserved for sleep has a negative impact on the brain’s physiology. Even when their findings have not been confirmed in humans, the researchers say that shift workers have been shown to do less well on cognitive tests.
So how do you go about keeping regular mealtimes? Here are some useful tips:
- Plan your meals in advance so that you know exactly when you should have your next meal. Importantly, stick to the plan.
- Next, no matter how busy you are, free yourself during mealtimes and practice prioritizing it over other activities.
- Don’t skip a meal or snack unnecessarily
- As far as possible, maintain a gap of three hours between meals/snacks.
- If you are hungry in between, reach for a healthy filling snack like fruit, a small portion of nuts, a glass of skimmed milk, and so on
- Keep healthy snacks handy so that you don’t end up eating unhealthy, processed stuff
Consistency in eating habits can go a long way towards optimizing health.