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Scheduled Eating- Why It’s Beneficial and How to Start

Scheduled Eating- Why It’s Beneficial and How to Start

Imagine running a marathon. If you ran hard at the start, you might reach exhaustion too quickly. Likewise, if you try to store all your energy until the very end, you may never make any progress (think of a turtle here, people). The key is setting an even pace that you can maintain throughout the entirety of the race. Now, imagine this same strategy for your caloric intake.

Instead of eating meals in huge chunks, think about the benefits of maintaining your energy levels at a consistent rate across the day. By scheduling your meals and snacks, and building a healthy diet, you can maximize your digestive health while preventing the development of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Let’s take a look at what a healthy eating schedule looks like for the day.

  • Within one hour of waking up, your body has processed all the nutrients during your sleep and is ready to build energy. Choose high protein and low sugar and carb options to provide long-lasting energy without crashing mid-morning.
  • About 3 hours later, a light, low-calorie snack should keep you energized until lunch.
  • Around 12pm, about 5 hours after your breakfast, your body will need a bigger boost to keep your metabolism engaged. Here you should focus on lean proteins like chicken or fish combined with complex carbs, healthy fats, and fiber.
  • When you start to feel those afternoon grumbles kicking in, about 3 hours after lunch, again head for a light and low-calorie snack.
  • Finally, no less than 3 hours before bed, your meal should include protein, complex carbs, fruits, and vegetables.

The goal is to eat every 3 to 4 hours in order to keep your blood sugar consistent and for your stomach to optimally digest. Setting this schedule consistently across days can also help curb overeating which can lead to bloating or indigestion. In general, scheduling what and when you eat will help you maintain a balanced diet and create a more stable energy source, as your metabolism will be engaged at optimal levels all day long.

The goal is to eat every 3 to 4 hours in order to keep your blood sugar consistent and for your stomach to optimally digest. Setting this schedule consistently across days can also help curb overeating which can lead to bloating or indigestion. In general, scheduling what and when you eat will help you maintain a balanced diet and create a more stable energy source, as your metabolism will be engaged at optimal levels all day long. 

Here is what a great meal plan might look like scheduled out for the day! Please note that the timing is based on a 6am wake up time and that you can adapt this timing to better meet your personal schedule.

TimeMeal TypeFood
7amBreakfastOatmeal with fresh fruit or an Omelet with spinach
9:30amSnackSliced apple or low-fat yogurt (unsweetened)
12pmLunchSalmon with brown rice and broccoli
3pmSnackUnsalted nuts
6pmDinnerChicken breast with whole grain noodles, diced tomato, and spinach

For recipe ideas visit us on social media:

https://www.facebook.com/CHEAR.UCSD/

CHEAR, based at UC San Diego, is dedicated to developing and providing evidence-based treatments for San Diego residents who struggle with weight and eating, including binge eating, overeating, and obesity. No-Cost Treatment Studies provided by CHEAR include:
  • FRESH-DOSE & ReFRESH for children ages 7-12 and a qualifying parent
  • FRESH TEEN for adolescents ages 13-16 and a qualifying parent
  • PACIFIC-FIT for adults ages 18-65
  • CHARGE for US military veterans ages 18-65

In addition, the CHEAR Clinic offers outpatient therapy for children, adolescents, and adults. We provide services on a sliding scale and accept many insurances. CHEAR clinic also offers an intensive daily binge eating and weight loss program.

If you are interested in exploring your weight loss treatment options, or to determine your eligibility to participate in our no-cost programs, please visit chear.ucsd.edu or contact us at 855.827.3498 or chear@ucsd.edu.

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