Is "Grazing" Healthier Than Eating Three Big Meals?

Are you better off, if instead of eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you “graze” continuously (on small amounts of food)?
I find myself very hungrat at dinner tome, which leads me to overeat. yet, if I snack all day long, Idon’t feel all that hungry, and can get by with a small dinner.
What is your experience?
“Grazing” was a term used in the 1980’s-I’m hoping to revive it.:wink:

I haven’t heard much of the grazing technique - usually the advice is to have 5 smaller meals instead of 3 big ones.

Some sources have recently suggested that the 5 meals approach is without evidence and not necessary. Most doctors, nutritionists etc still recommend it. The German Cancer society recommends One Handful of Fruit or Veggies 5 times a day. That means a glass of fruit juice for breakfast, an apple for a snack, a handful of steamed veggies for lunch, a tomato sandwich for snack, a salad with dinner for example.

The best advice I think is always to listen to your body and follow your individual needs. Though it may take some time to develop that voice if you have previously eaten to schedule or out of frustration, as is so very common.

I suggest you keep a diary for a week or so and note down what exactly you are eating in grazing mode, convert to calories and compare to a different eating method. You are already aware that one method makes you overeat, so it’s good to try and work and change that. However, I wonder if you are eating less calories or only think so.
It also depends on what kind of things you are eating. If your big meal is ladden with fat and simple carbs to make it a real meal, but grazing, you snack an apple and a lean cheese sandwich, you are good. If your grazing is potatoe chips and snickers, then not good. (I know you know that probably, I just wanted to spell it out).

I don’t think the way you eat (grazing vs. three squares) matters so much as what you eat. If you graze on junk, it doesn’t really matter if that keeps you from eating a lot at dinner.

Simple solution: Can you eat normal through the day, but eat your dinner two hours earlier, or does your schedule make that impossible? Normal eating, but a big sandwich at 4 pm, and normal dinner at 8 pm at home?

A nutrionist I once heard claimed that people who work in the office all day use their essential amino acids and thus in the evening crave a sausage sandwich to replenish them, but often don’t know what they are craving, so they eat too much of other food.

It’s calories, not when. Now sure, if eating more often causes you to eat less overall, then it will work.

They crave a sausage sandwich???

Not the type of hot dog sausage that you boil in water, or the sausage that you grill on a Barbeque, but the type that you slice onto your bread, called Wurst in German. Similar to Salami but without the spice.

What do you put on your sandwich when you have an appetite for meat - only ham?

It was shown twenty years ago that “nibbling” leads to a healthier metabolic profile than “gorging” (for otherwise identical calories and composition of diet).

Are we assuming you eat the same amount of calories while “grazing”, as you do while “gorging?”

I think this has to vary by individual. I tend to prefer two big meals a day. If I try to graze through the day, I wind up both constantly eating and constantly hungry. It’s like I have to hit a certain level on the fullness-meter before my brain will turn off the hungry light.

There are some advantages to smaller, evenly spaced meals in terms of regulating blood sugar and the like.

I’d like to hear more on this debate. I’ve always heard that “grazing” (nice word) was best. It sort of makes sense, being less stress on the body and with nutrients constantly freshly floating in your bloodstream.

In any of the discussions of grazing, the elephant in the room is “graze on what?”.

If your normal diet was what the gatherer-hunters used to eat, then grazing makes a lot of sense, as **Alex **says. Note I said gatherer-hunters, not hunter-gatherers, since the vast majority of their food was gathered, with the hunting successes being a nice supplement from time to time.

Anyone advocating “grazing” in the context of 21st century Americans needs to understand the grazing will be on HFCS, salt, and simple carbs. It won’t be 1/4 apple, 1 peanut, and an ounce of fresh raw spinach every hour.

At which point the public health folks throw up their hands aad say that 3 meals a day is best, admitting that 3 meals a day at least affords the possibility that some part of some of them will be at least a little bit healthy.

You have hit a major nail smack dab on the head with this statment. Everyone is different. This is a major problem with diets, because you can’t apply it evenly to everyone.

Whether you eat one meal a day or 50 it’s the amount of calories you consume that is going to matter.

I have worked in hotels most of my life, and I had nothing starting out, so by working in hotels I would get one free meal per day. I made darn well sure I ate a day’s worth of food in one sitting.

Now 30 years later I still eat one meal and it hasn’t hurt me at all. It’s what you get used to and what works for you that will, in the long run, work for you.