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(Christopher Robbins/(c) Christopher Robbins)
(Christopher Robbins/(c) Christopher Robbins)

Ask a health expert

I starve all day and overeat in the evening Add to ...

The question

I start my job around 7 a.m., which means I have to wake up around 5:30 a.m.. My job involves me sitting at my desk throughout the day and I end up skipping meals because I just don't have the time to eat. I starve all day and then eat a heavy meal when I get home - and then something again before bed.

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What type of foods/meals can I eat during the day that are quite quick to make/eat and can keep me from eating heavy at night?

The answer

Eating at regular intervals is important during the day - not only to prevent you from becoming overly hungry and overeating after work, but also to fuel your brain and body. You have to make time to eat during the day. The key is being organized – bringing lunch and snacks with you so you don’t have to leave your office to buy a lunch (that takes time!).

I don’t know what time you arrive home from work, but here is my suggested eating schedule based on what you have told me. Eating at the suggested times will help keep your blood glucose level (e.g. your energy level) steady during the day and will prevent you from becoming ravenous and craving foods in the evening.

  • Breakfast: 6:00 – 6:45 a.m. (Start the day by eating breakfast before you leave for work.)
  • Morning Snack: 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
  • Lunch: 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
  • Afternoon Snack: 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
  • Dinner: 6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Snack suggestions include: 1) fruit and yogurt, 2) dried apricots + small handful of nuts, 3) 1 apple + 1 oz. part skim cheese, 4) whole grain crackers + 1-2 tbsp. almond butter, 5) ½ cup cottage cheese + 1 cup chopped fruit, 6) a healthy energy bar such as Larabar, Elevate Me Bar or Simply Bar.

Consider making extra dinner to serve as leftovers for the next day’s lunch. I often do this – there is nothing to prep in the morning and I have a great tasting lunch!

Sandwiches are also quick to make: try chicken breast or turkey breast on whole grain bread (I cook the chicken or turkey breast in advance and use it for sandwiches and salads during the week). Another time-saver is to cook batches on the weekend. Make a pot of chilli or bean soup and freeze in single serving containers. That way your lunch is ready to pull from the freezer on a busy morning.

Your lunch doesn’t have to be a traditional meal: It might be whole grain crackers and cheese, raw vegetable sticks and a piece of fruit. Or replace the cheese with a small 85 gram tin of tuna – they’re very handy.

I hope some of these ideas help you: The key to not overeating in the evening is to eat during the day.

Send dietitian Leslie Beck your questions at dietitian@globeandmail.com. She will answer select questions, which could appear in The Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail web site. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.

Read more Q&As from Leslie Beck.

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The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Follow on Twitter: @lesliebeckrd

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