What Type of Eater Are You?
So many of us are on a mission to live healthier lives. We aim to sleep more soundly, reduce our time in front of our many screens, and increase our daily movement. Truly living a healthy lifestyle, though, often starts with what we put into our bodies, but to improve our diets, it's first important to understand how we, as individuals, prefer to consume food. There are many types of eaters—some of us like to graze, while others enjoy three square meals a day—and working with these inclinations often helps us stay satisfied for longer. Ahead, we tapped Bridgette Becker, a functional nutritionist, holistic health practitioner, and yoga instructor at The Ranch, to break down different eating types—and share which foods and snacks best suit each group.
If you're someone who begins their day the moment your eyes fly open in the morning, there's a good chance you're an on-the-go type of eater. According to Becker, this type of person doesn't eat for wellness or enjoyment—it's all about convenience. To meet your needs, have healthy, balanced meals prepped at the start of the week, so you really can grab and go.
Grazers are often a cross between mindful eaters and those who nosh when food is readily available. They eat little bits here and there, as opposed to opting for three main meals, shares Becker. Ultimately, grazers don't feel satisfied after eating, but they aren't hungry enough to make a full meal, either. If you fall into this category, control snack portions; pre-measured nuts, fruits, and vegetables eaten more frequently will result in longer-lasting satisfaction.
Three Meals a Day
This person enjoys eating a balanced breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This method is best in terms of stabilizes blood sugar, notes Becker. While little to no snacking is done in between meals, teas, water, and broths can be consumed in-between. "This allows the digestive system time to finish its work, and usually pushes someone to make sure their meals are balanced and will sustain them until the next ones," she says. "There is less arbitrary eating here."
Staying Full and Healthy
Many worry about what to eat based on weight, but when you prioritize happiness, true progress can be made. While you eat, says Becker, relax and focus on your meal rather than pay attention to some other task. "Our digestive system only activates when we are in a parasympathetic state. In order to have HCL production or pancreatic enzyme production (the chemical part of digestion), we have to be relaxed," says Becker. "Know you are worth it and carve out the time." Hydration and good-for-you foods are paramount, she adds: "Eat foods that are nutrient champions—sprouts, microgreens, seeds, sea vegetables, sardines, berries, cultured foods, deeply pigmented vegetables, and slow simmered broths," says Becker. A diet rich in protein, fiber, good fats, and greens, with fewer sugars, no processed foods, and light alcohol consumption, are the ingredients to a wholesome, happier lifestyle, whatever your eating style.
Never Skip Breakfast
While intermittent fasting is currently popular, Becker notes that eating the first 90 minutes of being awake stabilizes your body (and mood) so you don't crash ahead of lunch. In fact, eating breakfast and staying full may be intertwined, so if you're a frequently-hungry grazer who skips this meal, it may be time to rethink things. Ultimately, satiety is attainable with blood sugar stability, hydration, mindful, slow eating, and consuming protein, fat, and fiber with every meal.