The Best Time Of Day To Eat Lunch

Lunchtime — a much needed break away from our desks. Lunch gives us the chance to revive ourselves with some sustenance and a change of scenery. You could be brown-bagging last night's leftovers, or be heading out to a swanky new restaurant by your office, but we're not here to focus on what you're eating midday. We're more interested in when you eat it. When is the best time of day to eat lunch? 

"There are many opinions on the ideal amount of time to wait between meals," Sydney Greene, a registered dietitian at Middleberg Nutrition, tells Eat This, Not That!. "Research has looked at meal frequency and its association to weight loss, heart health, and diabetes, and it appears no one has landed on one specific recommendation. In general, I encourage clients to aim for 3-5 hours between meals, as this allows the body ... proper time for digestion," she says.

Snacks were invented for a reason

The best time of day to eat your lunch depends a great deal on when you ate your breakfast. But if you're hungry, you're hungry. Luckily, this is what snacks are for. Northwestern Medicine recommends mixing a blend of protein and carbohydrates to subside your hunger pains until your lunch break arrives. Try snacking on some cottage cheese with an apple or some veggies topped with hummus to keep you full, but not so full that you feel weighed down to your desk.

Perhaps the most important takeaway is to be aware of your hunger cues. "I advise my clients to pay attention to hunger and fullness cues in addition to energy, mood, and other indications of when and how much to eat," shares Cynthia Sass, an LA-based performance nutritionist to Eat This, Not That!. Adding, "I believe it's best to have a mild to moderate level of hunger when you eat—not starving, but some concrete physical signs and symptoms of hunger."

So, what is the best time of day to enjoy your lunch? The answer to that is likely a combination of when your morning breakfast starts to feel like a distant memory, and when your body starts to give you its classic hunger cues that it's time to eat.