If you have been work from home for a year, banality could reach you. Some days lunch and snack time can be what you expect the most. But is there an optimal time to eat that will allow you to be more productive?
“That’s the million dollar question,” said Gerard Mullin, gastroenterologist and associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and author of “The intestinal balance revolution. “
The best time to eat meals varies from person to person, depending on calorie needs, appetite, and the amount of movement you typically move, he said. Your home work habits and schedules also play a role.
By working from home, you are probably more seated, your schedule may be out of order, and you are probably feeling extra stress from the pandemic. All of this affects your overall health and digestion, Mullin said. It can also cause you to eat more than you should, making you feel tired, uncomfortable, and unable to concentrate.
That’s why spacing out your meals is essential to maintain your energy and focus when working from home. To know exactly when to eat, you need to understand your own hunger cues, eating habits, and digestion.
Get to know your hunger signals
Many factors influence how often and when you need to eat, such as life stages, pregnancy, activity levels, gender, health goals, and chronic health issues, said Rahaf Al Bochi, dietitian nutritionist, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and owner of Nutrition of the olive tree.
“It’s important to have a meal structure. However, this needs to be combined with listening to your body’s hunger signals, ”she said. “Hunger signals can be different for each person and can include lower energy levels, headaches, stomach growls, mood swings, or a feeling of empty stomach.”
To assess your hunger signals, try using a hunger scale – where 1 is very hungry and 10 is stuffed – before and after meals to identify when, how often, and how much to eat, suggested Alyssa Pike, dietitian and nutritional communications manager at the International Food Information Council.
“It’s ideal to aim to eat when you’re around 4 (slightly hungry) and stop at around 6 (satisfied),” she says.
So when should you have lunch?
Your first meal of the day should be within 30 to 60 minutes of waking up, Al Bochi said, to help fuel and nourish your body.
Next, consider how long it takes to digest a meal before you eat it again. Mullin said that when the stomach is half full, digestion of a solid meal takes about four hours.
Therefore, try to eat lunch (or a snack) three to five hours after breakfast. “However, this is only a guide, and this is where getting in tune with your body and its hunger signals is very important,” Al Bochi added.
Also consider what you ate for breakfast and your activity level afterward.
“If your breakfast was too small, you might be thinking about food or feeling your stomach growl as early as an hour or two later,” said Pike. “If you’ve had breakfast with multiple food groups, including protein and fiber, the three to four hour range is more likely to make sense.”
Protein and fiber help with satiety, so meals containing these food groups help you feel fuller for longer.
What you eat also affects the brain-gut connection, which influences your mood, mental health and brain activity. AT improve gut bacteriaAl Bochi suggested incorporating foods rich in probiotics, such as yogurt and sauerkraut, and prebiotics, such as whole grains, vegetables, and nuts.
Don’t wait too long between meals
Intermittent fasting, or going long hours without eating, is a popular diet. But Mullin said the evidence for its benefits is mixed and highly individualized. Most people need to eat regularly throughout the day to conserve energy.
“The frequency of meals should be based on keeping the brain nourished and even blood sugar constant,” he said.
The body converts most of what you eat into glucose, which fuels your energy levels and helps you stay alert, according to the harvard business review. So when you spend too much time without eating or skipping meals, your glucose levels drop, along with your energy and focus.
Then when you do eat again, you could be very hungry and overeat, Al Bochi said. “If you are extremely hungry, you are also less likely to make healthy food choices, because by that time you will likely eat whatever is in front of you, which for many people is heavier carbohydrate choices. in the pantry, ”she said.
Feeling too full can also be uncomfortable, Pike said. It could also cause indigestion and gastric reflux. When you’re not feeling well, doing work can be difficult.
The best and worst types of foods to eat for breakfast
To avoid high carbohydrate foods, which quickly release glucose into the body, giving you an energy jerk followed by a crash.
High fat meals may offer more sustained energy, but your digestive system has to work a little harder to process them, which lowers oxygen levels and can make you sluggish.
Instead, to maintain energy levels, you should eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and a moderate amount of healthy fats for improve brain power.
There is usually room for a snack
About two hours after a meal, you may have a insulin surge and be hungry, says Mullin. Having a snack helps maintain your energy level, but the type of snack matters.
“Choose a snack that contains protein and healthy fats to balance blood sugar levels and keep you full and full,” said Al Bochi. Apple and nut butter, cheese and crackers, hummus and vegetables, nuts and dried fruits are some examples.
Don’t mindlessly snack, which Al Bochi says could affect your health over time, interfere with meal structure and appetite, cause indigestion, and contribute to weight gain.
Base your snack on your schedule and preferences, Pike suggested. Some days you may want to have a snack between breakfast and lunch, or other days between lunch and dinner. And there’s nothing wrong with sometimes having a snack that just makes you happy and breaks the monotony of a long day at home.
“Sometimes your snack can seem nicer,” she says. “I am fine too.”