Did you skip breakfast this morning? If you did, you’re not alone—busy schedules mean many of us have to eat on the go or skip meals altogether. But new research suggests that it’s important to take time to eat regular meals, as structured mealtimes may be the key to maintaining a healthy diet. The study, published in the journal Public Health Nutrition, surveyed 1,013 college students on their eating habits (food preparation, meal regularity, eating on the run, etc.). Researchers also looked at the types of foods the students were eating and categorized them as either healthy (i.e., fruits and vegetables) or unhealthy (i.e., fast foods and sugar-sweetened sodas). Here is what they found:
Students who prepared food at home and routinely ate breakfast and dinner, ate healthier foods than students who practiced other eating habits.
Students who ate on the run, used technology while eating, and purchased food while out and about, ate unhealthier foods than students who practiced other eating habits.
The study’s researchers suggest that the importance of structure and routine in a healthy diet could be a meaningful consideration in the development of future dietary guidelines and messaging. However, it’s important to note that the study was observational, so more research is needed to confirm the findings. In the end, although this study can’t magically add extra hours to your day, it does provide another reason to be sure you’re fitting in breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Source: Public Health Nutrition