What to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to be at our healthiest

Published July 13, 2021, 11:02 AM

by Dr. Kaycee Reyes

Top food choices to fight against aging and inflammation

EATING TIME Chrononutrition answers the questions how much, when, and what to eat

We all know that health is wealth, but in these busy, hectic, and often stressful times, our health usually takes a back seat in favor of meeting deadlines or extending work hours. Poor nutrition, sleeping late, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle all contribute to metabolic syndrome that can raise the risk for other diseases. In addition, did you know that what you eat, how much you eat, and when you eat may affect your health too? Called chrononutrition, this method is important as it helps the body be at its peak to fight free radicals and oxidative stress that contribute to inflammation and disease, especially as the body’s antioxidant levels decline with age.

This time, let’s focus on our health and find out how we can be at our healthiest with chrononutrition.

Dr. Alain Delabos

Professor Jean Robert Rapin

Chrononutrition is not a new concept. It is a way of eating developed by French doctor Dr. Alain Delabos and Professor Jean-Robert Rapin in 1986. They explain that some things are best eaten at certain times of the day, and how much you eat during the day matters too. And if one does so, this could result to weight loss and better health. Some studies have backed this correlation too, like study by Pot et. al. (2016), in which a five-day dietary intake of British participants were recorded in three periods—at 36 years, 43 years, and 53 years.

It has been observed that those who ate at irregular times at lunch and in between meals had a higher risk for metabolic syndrome 17 years later, and those who had irregular breakfast intake at 43 years had a higher risk of metabolic syndrome, higher BMI, a larger waist circumference, and diastolic blood pressure 10 years later. There is another study by Gonnisen et. al. (2012), where 13 participants were subjected to a randomized crossover study during which sleep/wake times were set at different phases compared to a regular 24-hr cycle. It was found that there was not much effect in appetite and sleep. Eating at irregular intervals, however, has an effect on metabolic processes that may increase the risk for health problems. This is why it is important to note what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat.

Here are the top 15 superfoods you can add to your meals and the best times these can be consumed for optimal nutrient absorption.

Morning superfoods—oranges and blueberries for vitamin C and antioxidants, yogurt or kefir for healthy intestinal flora, salmon for protein and Omega 3s, and oat bran to lower bad cholesterol

Lunch and dinner superfoods—beans that help control blood sugar, turkey breast for protein and to lower cholesterol levels, spinach that has vitamins A, C, folic acid, and iron, tofu and soy that is anti-inflammatory, broccoli that also contains vitamins A, B, C, E, K minerals, carrots and sweet potatoes (for lunch only) that are a rich source of vitamins C, K, and potassium, antioxidant-rich walnuts (for dinner only) and wine (for dinner only)

Whole day superfoods—green tea or black tea that have a lot of antioxidants, tomatoes that are rich in lycopene that has vitaminc C, K, and can help with heart health

Alongside adding these superfoods to your meals, it also important to:

  • Have a regular eating and sleeping schedule. Our metabolic processes are affected negatively when we eat at irregular intervals. This is why it is best to eat the same time in the morning for breakfast, fast for four to five hours between lunch and dinner, and take at least a 12-hour fast before the next day’s meal.
  • Eat most at breakfast and the least at dinner. Chrononutrition teaches one to “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper,” as the saying goes. This is because one gets the optimal nutrients when the right food is consumed at the right amount and at the right time.

Some of us have set our meals around our schedules. But we have learned how important it is to set our schedule around our meals instead. Knowing what, when, and how much to eat could impact our health in many years to come. The benefits of chrononutrition include better digestion and nutrient absorption, a stronger immune system, lower risk for high cholesterol, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, and fat loss. With chrononutrition and these superfoods, you could be on your way to super health.