When You Forget To Eat, Here's What Happens To Your Body, According To A Nutritionist

Do you ever get so busy during your work day that you just forget to eat? Yeah, this can happen to all of us. There never does seem to be any time for breakfast, even if you're working from home — especially if you repeatedly hit the snooze button until it's time to roll out of bed, fire up the coffee maker, and get to work. Then comes lunchtime, and you're in the zone, so you just keep right on rolling. While such dedication to duty is admirable, you're not doing your body much good by skipping your daytime meals.

Dr. Brooke Scheller, DCN, CNS and the Director of Nutrition at Freshly, warns: "When we forget to eat during the day, we almost always end up overindulging in the evening on the wrong types of foods." She goes on to explain: "Waiting too long to eat results in low blood glucose, which reduces our self-control, making it harder to say no to those more indulgent foods."

The right way to eat throughout the day

Scheller recommends that you aim to consume some sort of protein and/or healthy fat at every meal, meaning that if you snack on fruit, you should also be adding in some nut or nut butter or perhaps a piece of cheese -– think slices of Granny Smith paired with a nice sharp cheddar or strawberries dipped in almond butter. If you have a salad for lunch, toss in some chicken or salmon or maybe some black beans (this last option would go great with a homemade dressing). The addition of protein to each meal, Scheller says, "helps to taper our body's blood sugar response, keeping us full and focused for longer."

As a general rule of thumb, Scheller suggests eating every three to four hours in order to maintain your blood sugar levels. A regular lunchtime also helps to decrease your body's stress levels — she thinks that aiming for something between noon and 1 p.m. is appropriate. Post-lunchtime snacks (healthy ones, of course) are good, too, since they "can be helpful to stave off decreases in energy and productivity to power through the afternoon."

More reasons it's important to take a break

Whether or not you're hungry, you should still schedule in some time for a short break during the latter part of the work day every day –- and no, not just a "break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar" kind of break. According to Scheller, "without scheduled breaks we may stop to snack, even when we're not hungry ... just to take a minute away from the computer."

As an alternative to overindulging in candy and other non-dietician-approved snack foods, Scheller suggests taking a quick walk, just not to the vending machines. She says that it's best to get outdoors for a few moments if you can (and it's not, like, 30 below zero or pouring rain), since "exposure to the outdoors increases positivity and improves well-being and even can increase job satisfaction." (Plus there's bound to be a Starbucks on the corner, just in case you do succumb to temptation –- and they do have a few healthy items on the menu.)