We all need food to survive and thrive, but did you know that when you eat those tasty foods can make a big impact on whether they help your body or store the energy from those foods as fat? By simply timing your eating, you can still enjoy many of the foods that you thought you might have to cut out to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle!

Carbs Can Create Consternation

Those pesky carbohydrates! They are SO tasty, and our bodies crave them. But did you ever think about why? Because each molecule of carbs is packed with energy: four calories per gram. While it is true that fat is 9 calories per gram, and protein is near the same as carbs, carbohydrates are by far the easiest of the three for the body to break down.

Our bodies need approximately 50 percent carbohydrates to function well. There is a range of plus or minus 10 on that percentage, by the way, so don’t go bonkers trying to hit 50 percent. The morning is pretty much the best time to eat carbs, as your body has been fasting and using up your store of them while you were sleeping. Your body will replenish its needed stores to help you have ready energy throughout the day. Make sure you eat some decent protein with those carbs, though, to keep your body running tip top!

The second and third times to eat your carbs revolve around working out: about an hour before your workout, and up to about 45 minutes afterwards. This is because you will expend a lot of energy when working out, so you need those extra carbs beforehand, and you will replenish what you used when you eat carbs afterwards.

It goes without saying that the higher the intensity of the workout, the more you can eat! Want that pizza? Burn those stores of carbs! Go for some meat on that pizza though, to make sure you have some good protein to go with those carbs! The protein will slow down the digestion process and make sure that some of the protein goes to your muscles.

All Carbs Are Not Created Equal

This isn’t to say that all carbs are great. If you overeat on carbs like those frosting-covered donuts that seem so irresistible, your body could still store them as fat. Some nice fruit or steel cut oats would be a much better choice. That being said, if you want to have a donut, this is the time it will have the least negative impact! Just remember, refined sugars are some of the easiest things for the body to break down, therefore one of the easiest things to put in long term storage for use later.

Fats Are Good Sometimes

There was a crazy trend of low-fat foods in the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s (and it even still continues sometimes today!). Everything was listed as low- or non-fat. This was a problem because your body actually needs fats!

While there is a big difference between saturated and unsaturated fats (you want the unsaturated ones!) you should keep fats in your diet. Having healthy fats at breakfast is a great idea for your body, and have some at lunch as well.

Avoid eating fatty foods at night, though, as your body will tend to store them. Since fats are much harder to break down than carbs, but easier to make, your body will store them straight away if eaten at the wrong time, and excess carbs will be turned into your long-term energy storage, fat.

Protein Is Awesome

Protein is great for you. Slow to digest and needed by all your muscles, it’s a good source of calories while simultaneously breaking down slower than carbs and fats, keeping your feeling full longer.

Proteins are a key component of healthy eating. You should go for proteins throughout the day, and have a bit at dinner, but not too much. Breakfast can include them and, of course, you should have them with your carbs after your workout.

Summing It All Up

So, all three in the morning, heavier on carbs and fats. During the day, fats and proteins are better. Before a workout, carbs. After your workout, carbs and protein. Evening time is best for complex carbs, a bit of fat, and a little bit more protein. Just changing your eating time may make a huge difference!

Of course, if you are eating foods that are terrible for you, the timing won’t help much! But keeping a decent nutrition plan for healthy eating, and modifying your meals to match these timings could make a significant difference to your health—and waistline!