The Healthiest Choice: Lunch or Dinner for Your Hot Meal?

Written by Henrik Rothen

Mar.04 - 2024 7:49 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
When do you prefer your hot meal? For many, dinner is the prime time for a warm dish. But is this the best approach for our health?

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Traditionally, a hot meal is enjoyed between 5 PM and 8 PM. However, this wasn't always the case. Just half a century ago, it was common to have a warm meal in the afternoon, a practice that still persists in many countries today.

But what's healthier: A hot meal for lunch or dinner?

Eating a hot meal at midday is generally better. Freshly prepared meals often contain less sugar than a sandwich with cold cuts, according to Senest.dk.

More Nutritious and Satisfying

Hot meals usually pack more nutrients, featuring vegetables, meat, fish, or grains. These not only provide essential nutrients but also keep you fuller for longer. Since your stomach takes more time to digest these meals, you're less likely to reach for snacks.

Encourages Mindful Eating

Having a hot meal at noon encourages you to take a break rather than rushing through your meal at your desk. This promotes more mindful eating and reduces the likelihood of overeating.

Benefits for Digestion

Research indicates that consuming a hot meal for lunch rather than dinner is more beneficial for digestion. Your digestive system ramps up after a light, nutritious breakfast and is most efficient around noon, making it the optimal time to handle a warm meal without feeling overly full.

A study from the University of Illinois in Chicago found that people consuming most of their calories in the evening have a poorer metabolism, potentially leading to insulin resistance and weight gain, reports Het Laatste Nieuws.

Timing Matters

It's advisable to have the day's lightest meal when you're least active, typically before bedtime. Eating more than needed can spike blood sugar levels and lead to fat storage. Thus, consuming the bulk of your calories earlier in the day is wiser, making a substantial lunch the preferred option.

Easier Said Than Done

Swapping dinner for a warm lunch and having a sandwich in the evening might not be as impactful. A nutritious and varied meal is essential at both times. Ideally, eating hot meals twice a day is beneficial if they're healthy, suggests Women's Health.

Practical Tips

  • Leftovers for Lunch: Cook extra in the evening to have for lunch the next day, reducing food waste.

  • Avoid Energy Slumps: A large midday meal can lead to fatigue as your body digests. Counter this by taking a short walk post-meal.

While a warm midday meal has its perks, it's crucial to maintain balance and ensure each meal is nutritious and varied.

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