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Which is the most important meal of the day? I’ve heard breakfast, but it seems like dinner, or whatever you call the last meal of the day, would be crucial too.

That’s a good question and one that isn’t easily answered. Truthfully, I feel that both meals are vitally important to one’s health, as are the ones in between. I say “ones” – plural – because I believe in eating at least five meals per day, each slightly smaller than the traditional three-a-day meal.

Eating more frequent, smaller meals ensures better nutrient absorption throughout the day and reduces insulin spikes, which occur when the body is faced with processing sugars. A lessening of insulin spikes means a smaller likelihood of storing fat and steadier energy throughout the day, as opposed to peaks and valleys.      

But back to your question: I would say that breakfast is indeed the #1 meal in terms of the impact it has on the rest of your day. By getting in a solid breakfast full of protein, complex carbs and healthy fats you set the tone for the next 16 hours or so. I recommend a slow-burning carb like oatmeal, a piece of fruit, eggs for protein, and plenty of fluids to make up for the state of dehydration we enter during sleep.

Nevertheless, your last meal is also greatly important. It should provide enough protein so that your body doesn’t cannibalize your muscles overnight, along with fats for long-term energy. For this meal, 2-3 hours before bedtime, I recommend cottage cheese (casein, its main protein, is digested slowly) and some nuts or peanut butter spread on whole grain bread. A meal like this will be easy to digest, but long-lasting in your system.