A close up of an alarm clock on top of a plate

Is it OK to Skip Meals?

Twigs From the Nest: Our holistic nutritionist answers client’s most common questions.

This is a more complicated question than one might think and really is asking about food timing,which is actually very important and bio-individual. The short answer is IT DEPENDS ON YOUR BODY. The answer needs to be personalized to suit what is going on with you, what your goals are and what your body needs.

Six things to know about skipping meals:

  1. Blood Sugar Stability
    Do you have a roller coaster of energy throughout the day? If you do, you probably need to time your food such that as you start to wane in energy, you DO eat something, so that you don’t go over the cliff into starving with very low energy and eat the whole refrigerator. Eat before you fall off the blood sugar cliff.
  2. Choosing Real vs. Processed
    When you’re building your plate, choose real food. If you’re overly hungry or off the blood sugar cliff, you’re MUCH more likely to grab processed foods (chips, cookies, etc.) Processed foods will promote the roller coaster (which we want to avoid). If you’re a real food eater, it may be you need less feedings, because your plate is filled with delicious, nourishing foods that include lots of fiber and protein helping to keep you fuller longer, as well as healthy fats to keep you nice and satisfied.
  3. Investigating Intermittent Fasting?
    Your meals should be driving your life’s work and activities. You should not run on empty. If it is helpful to do some intermittent fasting to get to your goals, that is COMPLETELY different from restricting food because you’re too busy or to cut calories (which really isn’t helpful in the end because you end up boomerang-ing back and eating more). Then we must consider what your body can handle (what makes you feel good vs. bad and how long can you fast and feel good? The sweet spot seems to be 12-15 hours for women, and a little longer for men.
  4. Intuitive Eating
    It isn’t necessary to eat just because it’s lunchtime. Your body should be hungry/not starving before you eat next. And if you’re eating a whole food diet, it might be ABOUT 3-4ish hours between meals/snacks. Meet your meal or snack need. Eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re just full and not stuffed teddy bear full.
  5. Got Routine?
    If you don’t feed yourself regularly, your body doesn’t know when to anticipate food coming and sometimes will not be hungry on time. The body likes a regular schedule. So, try to keep to a normal schedule, whatever that looks like for you.
  6. Remember the Goal
    Your body should respond to your food schedule and food choices with good energy, feeling full enough and satisfied by meals and snacks.

Hope that helps clarify things around skipping meals!