My days start early. At least three mornings a week, I'm out of the house by 5:10AM. On many days, my evenings end at 8PM. I usually return home during the day, but the schedule doesn't jive with a normal breakfast, lunch, dinner schedule.
I'm sure those of you that exercise before work or have long commutes understand. If I eat at 5, I want lunch at 10, then dinner at 3, and I'm starving again by 8.
At first, I tried to make it work. I ate a normal breakfast--or at least as normal as it gets when breakfast occurs between 5:00 and 5:05AM. After morning practice, I would stave off hunger as long as possible--usually until 11AM.
Sometimes, lunchtime would also require coordination with a workout, which either pushed it forward to 10AM or back to noon.
With this strategy, I was so hungry during afternoon practices, I'd basically eat another meal.. except that meal would consist of snacks I could shove in my bag on the way out the door. By 8PM, I was no longer ravenous, so I skimped on dinner--one of the healthiest meals of my day. End result: I was hungry again by bedtime, an hour later.
The whole affair was just too complicated, and involved eating the wrong foods and the wrong times, in the wrong quantities.
I've tried several different variations since then, but the one I've settled on seems to work best: it minimizes grumpiness but lets me eat just the right amount of food.
5AM: big breakfast--usually cereal with a little bit of fruit
8AM: small snack, like a piece of fruit, or a piece of chocolate (like I said--it minimizes grumpiness)
10:30 or 11AM: small, healthy lunch, with a focus on fruits and vegetables--usually a veggie sandwich with fruit and veggie sticks on the side
2PM: small snack
4-5PM: snacks during practice--usually fruit, crackers or a PB&J on whole wheat
8PM: dinner + dessert (yes, dessert is a daily requirement)
My work schedule isn't constant, so there are numerous variations on this plan. Still, I'm happy to have a plan that works most of the time.
How do you juggle meals with work commitments?
Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or emailing me at piquantprose [at] gmail [dot] com.
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