With 90 degree weather in full swing, eating small meals during summer is a good habit to form. With hot weather and longer days and nights, the body is put through turmoil trying to stay cool and digest foods simultaneously.
To start off, Utah summers are HOT, HOT, HOT. When it’s hot outside, our body recognizes the change in temperature. It works to keep our internal body temperature steady, beginning processes like sweating to do so. Have you ever noticed how you aren’t as hungry during the summer months? That’s because it’s your body’s way of keeping the the internal temperature cool. When you eat, especially large meals, the body must work to digest the food, which raises the body’s core temperature.
When your body begins to sweat to keep cool, you need to stay hydrated. You are more likely to become dehydrated if you are eating three large meals rather than several small meals. This is because smaller meals need to be high in nutrients in order to make you feel full. Most people who choose to have several small meals eat water-rich fruits and vegetables throughout the day, which adds to your fluid intake and decreases chances of dehydration.
Longer Days and Nights
In Utah it’s true that summertime means longer days and nights. A lot of people have the tendency to skip meals during summer time, making it really easy to overeat at the next mealtime – especially if you are eating only three large meals instead of several smaller ones. Skipping meals, in turn, interferes with weight loss. We lose sight of when we’re full. We eat too much, too fast.
That brings us to the next problem, that is, choosing the wrong foods. When we go too long without eating during these longer days and nights, we tend to have energy crashes. The bigger the meal, the bigger the crash because of the body’s natural digestion processes. The body has to work to digest the bigger meals, having an influx of energy. When it’s done, however, there is a crash in energy. This, then, leads to wanting sugary snacks so you can refuel your energy. The problem with that? Muscles need protein, not sugar.
“The regular influx of food with a little-and-often approach keeps your energy level stable and makes it easier for you to cope with everything you have to do in a day,” says nutritionist Natalie Savona.
As Natalie Savona puts it, smaller meals are better for the body year-round, not just during the summer.
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