According to new research the UK population no longer follows the three meals a day routine. Breakfast, lunch and dinner have been replaced with coffee shop muffins, energy drinks, biscuits, pre-bought sandwiches and alcohol.
A survey conducted by the UK association for medicines and food supplements found that 22% of people skip breakfast and 53% regularly skip lunch. This results in a desperate urge to snack on sweet treats and gulp down caffeinated energy drinks to keep our brains buzzing.
Plus, skipping meals makes it more difficult to ensure you body is getting an adequate level of nutrients. Water soluble vitamins like B and C are not naturally stored in the body so they get depleted very quickly making us feel weak, tired and lacking in concentration.
Leading dietician Helen Bond, told us: “Often the urge to snack will catch you unawares which means you are more likely to grab the first thing available. Although there are plenty of healthy and nutritious snacks out there, when blood sugar levels drop, you are more likely to reach for high fat, high sugar and high salt products that provide a quick fix.”
But with 83% admitting to grazing between meals it’s not going to be easy changing the nation’s skewed eating habits.
One option is to introduce a multi-vitamin supplement into your daily routine, but this shouldn’t be seen as a cop-out for creating a healthy balanced diet. Easy foods like cereals, dairy, eggs and leafy greens are packed full of B vitamins and a glass of fresh orange juice will help your vitamin C levels.
Here are our top tips to help you stabilise your eating regime and stay on the top of your game...
1. Eat breakfast at work: Sometimes when you get up in the morning the last thing you want to do is eat, but this is no excuse not to have breakfast. Keep a box of cereal and some milk at work and have your most important meal of the day at a time that suits you.
2. If you don’t buy it, you won’t eat it: Make a pact with your colleagues that you won’t buy junk food for a whole week. If it’s not in sight you’ll be far less tempted. If they don’t agree, research shows that if junk food is kept out of your eye line in a non-see-through container you won’t be as tempted to dig in.
3. Have your main meal at lunch time: If you feel famished by 1pm try having a hot main meal instead of a sandwich, then stick to a smaller meal at dinner time. Not only will this help with digestion, but it should help boost your energy levels in the early afternoon (one of the key snacking times). Just don’t eat too much or you’ll feel sluggish.
4. Start a routine: It may sound predictable but your body will love a set eating routine. Have breakfast, lunch and dinner at a set time each day so your system can learn how to balance and moderate your sugar levels without the need for snacks.
5. Take a supplement: These aren’t designed to replace a balanced diet but that can help if you have a very busy lifestyle. Visit www.hsis.org for the A-Z of food supplements and for more information on which ones are right for you.
What do you think?