Should we not be changing our food habits and lifestyle habits? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 10-08-2012, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
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So we always hear that everyone should eat breakfast, lunch should be your main meal and dinner should be light.


but who follows that with typical work days? i am talking about majority here.  


should we not get up early and eat lunch for breakfast, pack a dinner for lunch and come home to a breakfast? (when i have done this, i notice our day goes really well, and dinner time is not so crazy, but its hard to do when we get out of the house at 6:30 am)


shouldnt our main meal be before the time we are truly productive?


isnt our most productive time (in general) from about 8 to 12 or 2?


that means go to bed early and get up early? (i know for some families that is not an option coz their days are LOOOONG).


with life causing so much stress should we not be changing our traditional lifestyle to a new one. where we go to bed early, get up early, do our dinner family thing in the morning (sit around and eat a heavy meal for bfast) and come home to relax or set the crockpot for the next day. so go to bed at 6 am and get up at 4 am? wait?!!! that's going back to the farmers lifestyle?

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#2 of 14 Old 10-08-2012, 01:41 PM
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I always thought the saying was, "Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper," which would follow what you're saying in terms of eating the main meal at the start of the day. 


But yeah, in reality I don't know many people who really do that. Breakfast is often very hurried and lighter than it should be, lunch is usually good-sized, and dinners can be quite large in many cases. For myself, I require a hearty breakfast to function well, so I eat kind of a lot in the mornings and try to taper down throughout the day, but not always, and I might have dessert after a light dinner. 

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#3 of 14 Old 10-08-2012, 07:37 PM
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I actually feel turned off by the idea of food before I have been awake for several hours so I generally eat small amounts or nothing. Mid-morning or lunch might make the most sense for a larger meal for refueling to be more productive but my family is only eating together 1 meal a day and that is the evening so that is the meal where we have the most food. 


I don't know that when we woke up or went to bed would change the size of our meals as much as the social aspect of actually eating together. It would be a significant lifestyle change if everyone sat down together at breakfast or lunch.


Do other people eat smaller amounts of food when they eat alone or is it just me?

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#4 of 14 Old 10-08-2012, 07:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by onlyzombiecat View Post

 It would be a significant lifestyle change if everyone sat down together at breakfast or lunch.

it takes us an hour and a half to get to dd's school which hopefully will change next year. 

i would really like to change to a family sit down big meal at breakfast. if we are used to shooting out the door early now, we should be able to sit down for a meal (dd me and roommate). i have noticed how dd and i do soo much better eating our major meal at breakfast. dd and i have both had to change because we are not early eaters and quite often skip meals. i've changed that for sure. i get up no later than 5 to make a hearty breakfast for dd - like stir fried kale with a fried egg, nori rolls, etc. she eats it on the way.


but yes it would be a significant lifestyle change. however we kinda do it anyways on teh weekends. dd is up bright and early on the weekends eyesroll.gif so we tend to eat a full meal no later than 9 am. i used to prefer sleeping in at least one day a week, but found the mornings are good time now to be with dd as she spends more and more time with her friends. she is doing more with friends than with family. or her friends are here. dd either lives in her friends home or her friends live in ours. 


Do other people eat smaller amounts of food when they eat alone or is it just me?

yes while alone at home. alone i tend to eat less. if at all. sometimes i just snack or not eat at all. 

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#5 of 14 Old 10-08-2012, 08:13 PM
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I don't know much about should. But for me, my natural rhythm is to get up at 7, have coffee or tea, no food. Around 11 or 12 I am hungry, and eat a mid-sized meal. Around 4 or 5, I eat again, same quantity, and go to bed around 9 or 10. Read 2 or 3 hours before sleep. Maybe a midnight snack, about the same as my other meals, really. My work allows me to set my own schedule, so this is the same, work day or holiday.


Whether I work hard or more sedentary, I am not hungry the first few hours I am awake. And I feel lethargic after a big meal. I don't know that there really is a generalization that needs to be made. And even if there was an average, many people would differ from the standard. I really could not force myself to eat a big meal in the morning. My kids are the same as me, but I guess that could be that I influenced them.

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#6 of 14 Old 10-08-2012, 09:49 PM
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yes! we should. but only if you want to lose weight and be totally productive during the day. yes, we should stop eating by the time it gets dark. this is the "natural" rhythm of our biological history. yes, eat a high quality, high calorie, high protein breakfast. followed by a good lunch. then eat increasingly lighter portions during the afternoon, and consume your final calories before 6 pm (or earlier in the winter). go to bed when it gets dark and sleep many hours. 


good ideas, i like eating like a king for breakfast and like a pauper for dinner.

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#7 of 14 Old 10-09-2012, 06:28 AM
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My family does the evening meal pretty weird.  I think it is important to sit for a family meal (even though dp isn't there for it since she travels all week for work) and the kids have afternoon/evening sports, clubs, etc.  Several days a week we eat our evening meal at 4pm when the kids are all home.  The middle kid gets off the bus at 4 and comes right in to the big meal.  Then it is off to extra curricula activities.  Then at 7 or 8 (or 9 or 10!) when evening events are over they have a bowl of cereal, bagel, yogurt or something for a second dinner.   Otherwise we'd be eating at 9 pm and the two youngest are typically asleep by 7:30. 


I've noticed I eat less when we have the big meal at 4 since I don't have the second meal at 9. 

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#8 of 14 Old 10-09-2012, 11:49 AM
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I'll tend to have only a small nibble of whatever I'm feeding the kids when we're up and getting ready at 7-8, and then I'll do a bunch of stuff and end up having a more rounded or 'big' meal around 10:30-11.  Then we'll do an early dinner around 4:30-5, and an evening snack later (around 8-9 for me, a bit earlier for the kids).    


I do favor my first meal being biggest, but that's partly because I favor breakfast foods and less related to anything else.  I do end up snacking a lot more throughout the day if I end up trying to cut down on how much I eat that first meal.  I also love having dinner painfully early (hate when we make plans with other people, and end up having to wait until 5:30, or 6 - it makes a huge difference in the kids getting to bed at a reasonable time and I'm much less likely to overeat at all if I push dinner to be early, even with small snacks after dinner).   

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#9 of 14 Old 10-09-2012, 12:26 PM
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I'd like to change not just food habits but a lot of other habits, t.v., bed time, socializing etc but there's only so many hours in a day and with many of us being worked to the bone and without much help, paid or otherwise, it just becomes impossible. I go one step forward and two steps back.

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#10 of 14 Old 10-26-2012, 06:51 AM
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Here's what we do...


We have a light breakfast at about 7-8 in the morning.  DH doesn't eat, just has coffee.  Kids usually eat cereal, yogurt, fruit, a milkshake, crackers with nut butter or jam... not all of the above.  One at a time.  ;)


We all have brunch at around 11.  This is a hot meal that I guess corresponds most with American breakfast.  Often French Toast with bacon or sausage or ham, or an omlette, breakfast potatoes.


In the afternoon the kids have a snack of fruit.


Around 3-4 pm we have the main meal of the day.  It varies but it's either a hearty soup with bread, or meat and potatoes and salad, or some sort of pasta... that sort of thing.  Sometimes we have a light dessert of ice cream or yogurt.  DH almost always passes, I most often do too.  Sometimes DH doesn't feel hungry at this point since we ate only a few hours beforehand, so he'll save his portion for later.


Kids go to bed around 5-6.


DH and I have a second snacky sort of a dinner at aruond 7-8.  Leftovers from the previous meal or some junky food we don't want to encourage in the kids.  Like nachos for example, or hot dogs.  I sometimes indulge my sweet tooth here and have some sort of single-serving baked good with a cup of milk.  We then have a cup of herbal tea at around 9, and then I take a bath and go to bed.  DH stays up later, often until after midnight, and he usually has a snack before going to bed.  Something like a few cubes of cheese and cold sausage, for example.


That's what works for our family...


Growing up, I think it was even better.  Much simpler.  Woke up at 5, walked to the store for the day's food.  Had breakfast of tea and eggs, or cold cuts, or a breakfast pastry from the bakery, at around 7.  10 AM - kids had snacks, grown-ups had tea.  Lunch at 12 - a good, full lunch.  Usually soup, then main course, bread.  If you got hungry you could pick at leftovers in the afternoon.  In the early evening we would have a very light lunch.  Eggs again, or a hot dog without a bun, or some leftovers, or some sort of pastry.  Then bed around 10 PM.  I wish we had that sort of set-up now.

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#11 of 14 Old 10-26-2012, 07:10 PM
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Personally, I think what we need to get rid of is that *should*.

You should eat X portions of fruits / vegetables / whole grains. You shouldn't eat carbs. You shouldn't eat red meat. You shouldn't eat too many eggs. Wait, they've just discovered that eggs are in fact good so you should eat them. You should drink your milk. (Alternatively here, on MDC, milk has a bad reputation so you shouldn't drink it.)


What I've been doing lately is just follow one simple rule: feed myself faithfully. Enjoy food. Eat what I crave. It made a huge difference.


Also, I made peace with the fact that I need a late evening snack. So instead of gorging on dinner because you're not *supposed to* eat after that, I just eat a light dinner and have a snack just before bed.

A calorie is a calorie is a calorie. It doesn't matter if you eat it in the morning or at night. I believe we *should* listen to our bodies.


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#12 of 14 Old 11-07-2012, 03:27 PM
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I think , the idea of full breakfast , warm lunch and light dinner is a very western one .

As a matter of fact , if you look at the way , meals are handled for example in southern european countries , it is pretty much the opposite . 

I have friends , who are greek and they usually have some coffee and MAYBE a bit of toast for breakfast , a quick lunch and a big , warm dinner .

Which is coincidentally the way , we eat in our family , as well ! 

None of us are breakfast people and we all have to get up crazy early , so for me a big mug with black tea , milk and sugar is my staple , but other than that ... blah

And my kids are the same way , plus they get a warm meal at school quite early ( around 10 : 30 , so they really don´t crave anything . I have tried to make different breakfast options for and setting the table in the morning , but they are just not interested  .

Lunch , I will have some fruit , maybe a sandwich and then for dinner , we have a full meal and it works well for us !

Funny thing , when we were visiting my family , we had a big lunch one day and we all got tired afterwards , maybe out inner clock , thought , it´s time for us to go to bed , since we just had ( a really early ) dinner eyesroll.gif

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#13 of 14 Old 11-07-2012, 09:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tonttu View Post

I think , the idea of full breakfast , warm lunch and light dinner is a very western one .

actually i think its a farming one. which is kinda same worldwide. 


i was raised in asia. there are lots of different systems there within the whole system. for instance those who went to work late - that is had to be at their offices at 9 am, they kept to the farming timing. they ate their lunch for breakfast, packed a light lunch and ate a light dinner too. their main meal of the day was breakfast.


in school i did a light bfast, came home for a regular big lunch and i couldnt handle another big dinner so our family chose to do a small one.


but when i started college and my classes started late - usually between 9 and 10 am, i ate my lunch at bfast, snack for lunch and early biggish dinner. 


our neighbor did it opposite - like the spanish side of europe, and as you pointed out greek an probably italian too. big late dinners. 


dd and i were never early eaters. but seeing how we were dying for lunch, i changed that. it took a while but dd and i eat bfast either before we leave home or in the car.  sometimes if its a big bfast, dd snacks at lunch, eats a smallish meal after coming home adn another smallish meal for dinner. 

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#14 of 14 Old 11-16-2012, 01:19 AM
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Everyone is different.  I'm sure I read a research somewhere saying it doesn't matter too much when you eat, mostly just the calories.


As for me, I don't eat breakfast because I don't get up in the morning. :)  I eat lunch, dinner, second dinner, sometimes third dinner.  Every meal thus contain meat, veggies and a small serving of grains.  My mom eats light breakfast, medium lunch, big afternoon snack and very light dinner.  That's what works for her.  Our weight and energy level are stable (no coffee needed) so I guess it worked OK.

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