The best time to dine out, according to experts

For Resy enthusiasts or those who stay up late, the best time to dine out is whenever you can make the reservation of your dreams or work the meal into your busy schedule. But is it the healthiest choice? When should you really eat your last meal of the day? Turns out the answer to this problem isn’t as simple as you might think.

For starters, there is no set time that works for everyone; it really depends on you and your specific health needs. So before you cancel plans or reconsider when to have dinner with your daughter, see what the experts have to say about figuring out the best time to have dinner below.

When is the best time to have dinner?

The short answer to this question is that it depends on the person. Vanessa Rissetto, RD, registered dietitian and CEO of Culina Health, explains that different factors such as age and lifestyle all play a part in deciding when to eat your last meal of the day. “For example, if you are a shift worker and work while everyone else is sleeping, then your time [to eat] other. As a general rule, I recommend eating within two hours of waking up and eating something every three to four hours,” says Risetto. While studies show that eating between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. is beneficial for overall health, if that doesn’t fit your schedule, she recommends trying to stop eating for at least three hours. hours before bed to avoid problems such as acid reflux.

“What’s more important is [eating] consistently at regular times throughout the day,” says Perri Halperin, MS, RD, CDN, clinical nutrition coordinator at Mount Sinai Health System. “You should feel gradually hungry and gradually full in a cycle that repeats every three to four hours or so.”

How to find the right dinner schedule for you

As mentioned above, there are a number of different factors to consider when trying to create an eating schedule that you can stick to. Halperin says your job, hunger level, medications, daily activities, and other lifestyle habits should all be considered when determining when to eat any given meal. “Calculate the time as a general outline; Ideally, you should eat every three to four hours, two to three hours before bedtime,” she says. “But more important than time is making healthy choices. Having a healthy dinner involved [many] benefits, including stable blood sugar levels, weight maintenance and improved sleep.”

Eating dinner earlier may be beneficial for people struggling with certain digestive and health issues. McKenzie Caldwell, RD, a registered dietitian and PCOS nutritionist, says that people with acid reflux or chronic heartburn should consider eating dinner earlier so their food is fully digested. Before go to bed. People with diabetes may notice better blood sugar results if they eat three to four hours before bed. But Caldwell stresses that it still depends on the person. Many cultures eat dinner late and other lifestyle factors can interfere with eating dinner early, so be sure to consult your primary physician to ensure you get a full meal in. the time that best suits you.

Also, listen to your body – it will tell you when it needs food. “If you eat full meals and snacks earlier in the day, your body is usually quite effective at telling you when it’s time for dinner,” Caldwell adds. “Hungerfulness cues can also help individuals decide when to eat a filling meal that will make their body feel good in the evening.”

Foods to avoid before going to bed

No matter when you eat dinner, there are some foods that are best to avoid if you want to sleep well and take care of your overall health. Halperin says fatty foods take longer to digest and can make you feel heavy if eaten too late. This will cause indigestion and insomnia. Caldwell adds that foods high in caffeine can also disrupt your sleep (for obvious reasons), and people who are sensitive to caffeine may find that they can’t tolerate it well before bed. Sleep.

Late dinner isn’t always bad

So do you have to go through that trouble to make a dinner reservation or say no to a friend’s birthday if it’s past 7 p.m.? Unnecessary. “Your body can digest and metabolize food at any time, day or night. Although each individual’s experience may vary,” Caldwell said. “I’m someone who likes to eat when you’re hungry, even when it’s late.”

Halperin agrees, adding that your overall health will determine the best time for you to eat at night. “Some people may be more sensitive to meal timing than others,” she says. “Therefore the gains are even more remarkable.” She lists managing low blood sugar and eating certain foods containing amino acids to help you sleep as times when a later dinner may be beneficial.

Snacking at night – with healthy foods – is also completely allowed. “If you are hungry, you should respect that hunger and definitely eat,” Rissetto said. “But we want to think about what we’re eating. If we eat sweets close to bedtime, our bodies will do the work of digestion during sleep and this can wake us up and disrupt your sleep cycle.”

Finally, you shouldn’t worry if you can’t stick to a strict eating schedule. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the best time to eat dinner, and it’s important that you get the food and nutrients you need for your overall daily health. me. “If you miss the ‘ideal time’ to eat, it’s better to eat late than not eat at all,” says Halperin.

This article first appeared on

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