Stop The Hanger: A Food Tale

May 3, 2021

By Meghan Greenwood

Listen to this blog: https://anchor.fm/meghan-greenwood/episodes/Stop-The-Hanger-A-Food-Tale-e105hb3

I am a grazer. I like little snacks throughout my entire day. For a long time, I questioned this approach, figuring either a) I’m not eating enough at one meal or b) what I am putting in my mouth is not sustaining.

Lo and behold, both were true. And even more importantly, I hadn’t figured out my best times to eat.

Each and every one of us has their own food window. Not to be confused with the metabolic or anabolic windows that are often discussed in strength training and post-exercise, our food window is how often we need to eat based on our basal metabolism.

For example, when I wake up in the morning, I am usually more thirsty than hungry. My food window is overshadowed by my need to rehydrate…which makes sense considering I haven’t drank anything in over 7 hours. Once I’ve gulped some H2O, I tend to get hungry approximately 30 minutes later. Finishing breakfast around 7:30am, I’ve noticed that I’m ready to eat again closer to 9:30am. Only 2 hours later!

Sure, metabolism is a bit faster in the morning, but then I took a look at what I was eating for breakfast. If I only eat from 1 food group, such as my bagel, I’m usually needing a snack in 2 hours. However, if I increase my breakfast to incorporate 3 food groups, bagel, fruit, AND protein, I don’t need to eat until 11:30am. By that point, it’s lunch time!

The same trend applies after lunch. With a substantial midday meal, I am satiated until around 4:30. Since we don’t eat dinner until 6, I feel ok having a reasonable snack at that late afternoon time point – enough to curb my hunger so I don’t pig out at dinner but also small enough that I don’t spoil my dinner.

What I’ve determined is that my food window ranges from around 4 to 4.5 hours. If I stay aware of this window during the day, I can make sure the snacking justifies my hunger and that my meals are considerable enough to carry me through. Overall, better planning, less guilt, and hanger prevention.

Try it out. What is your food window?

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