What exactly is the Fourth Meal?

The Fourth Meal is the best thing since brunch was invented. Basically, it celebrates the art of snacking. So if you’re gymming after work, why not have an energy booster before your workout sesh? Or if you were absolutely starving when you got home, why not have an early dinner AND a slice of cheese on toast before bed?

Just because our parents taught us that our day should consist of breakfast, lunch and dinner, doesn’t mean we have to stick to those rules. Most schools have two break times — and if you were truly lucky, mom would have lunch ready when you got home after school — so we learnt to eat a bit more often during the day in our formative years. Why stop now?

Studies have shown that 9 out of 10 millennials consider healthy eating to be a key to wellness, and they are at the forefront of the Fourth Meal trend. Eating less and more often seems to be the way forward, and I’m totally on board!

Nutritionists say that eating smaller meals regularly keeps your blood sugar and energy levels at a more consistent level, so say goodbye to that 3pm energy crash at work! Obviously this won’t hold true if you snack on sugary, greasy or salty foods — try to keep it healthy. Nuts, fruit, seeds or a sandwich will keep you fuelled for longer. But if you just have to have a chocolate or a packet of crisps, go right ahead, it won’t hurt to treat yourself once in a while.

Studies have shown that most people who eat three square meals a day tend to rely on the same six or seven foodstuffs, while grazers tend to eat a wider variety of foods. Doctors say we should aim to eat about 16 different types of food over two to three days, which is easier to do if you’re having more regular and smaller meals and a variety of snacks.

So, how can I make sure my snacks are healthy? The easiest way is to not eat out of wrappers — go for homemade or freshly prepared foods instead. I’ve been living the Fourth Meal life for a while now; and it’s great! Obviously, I’m not perfect and reach for the crisps or a chocolate a bit too often, but our office always has healthy snacks, which makes it much easier to rather go for an apple or a breakfast bar instead of toast or a bought lunch.

Have you tried this approach? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear your experiences!

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