8 Unexpected Effects Of Having 4 Meals A Day

RossHelen/Shutterstock

When you think about your daily meals, you probably envision breakfast, lunch, and dinner — or the standard "three square meals" a day. And this plan can work for many people. But if you're constantly dealing with dips in energy, "hangry" moments, or simply want to feel better, you may want to switch to four meals a day, and see how you feel.

You'll want to start by adjusting when you eat. "Depending on your work schedule and personal life, the ideal timing of four meals per day may differ," registered dietician Sabrina Russo tells Bustle. "I would suggest aiming for 8 a.m., 12 p.m., 3 p.m., and 7 p.m. The idea is each meal should be three to five hours apart and not too close to bedtime."

And then think about what you eat. "Meals should likely be smaller than normal and contain satiating ingredients, such as a source of protein and fiber," registered dietician Ysabel Montemayor, tells Bustle. You might go for a standard breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but add in a healthy afternoon snack. Or maybe a lighter breakfast, bigger lunch, light dinner, and a snack before bed. Basically, do whatever feels right for you. And then sit back and reap the benefits.

"Eating more often keeps your metabolism working, and prevents it from slowing down," Russo says. "Eating four meals a day can also improve your energy levels. [And it] may also prevent excessive hunger, which may make it difficult to concentrate, or make you tired and irritable."

If that sounds good and you'd like to give it a try, you may notice some of the health benefits below, according to experts.