When to eat carbs, fats and proteins? Nutrient timing is important for your fitness goals. It determines when to consume carbs, fats, and proteins to help improve your overall body performance. Nutrient timing also helps you achieve the physical results you want. I personally do not believe in strictly avoiding certain things at certain times, however, there are benefits to nutrient timing. As a busy mom, nutrient timing could also help in your nutrition plan, i have a post on some effective and healthy diet tips
One of these benefits is Insulin use, taking carbs at optimal times helps insulin to be under control and your body utilizes it properly. Read on to find out more about when to eat carbs, fats and proteins.
When to eat carbs, fats and proteins
Carbs have gotten such a bad name which is not necessarily true. It’s not carb consumption that makes people fat, its the excess of it especially excess of simple carbs which are bad for you when over consumed. Carbs are our energy source but people eat so much sugar and wrong carbs that it leads to weight gain and then they blame carbs for it.
Here are some healthy carbs you should eat: Quinoa, brown rice, sweet potato, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, lentils, oatmeal and some others.
Those to minimize are white bread, white pasta, candies, sugary stuff, white flour and others. Unlike the healthy complex carbs, these ones spike your insulin levels so fast and then drop them fast. Thus leaving you feeling hungry fast. Have you noticed after eating sugary cereal for breakfast that you are hungry not too long afterward? its cause of this.
It’s advisable that you have something like oatmeal with fruits or eggs for breakfast. In other words, some complex carbs, protein, and healthy fats should make up your breakfast.
When to eat carbs?
It’s best to consume most of your carbs in the morning since you are just waking up from a night of fasting that’s why its called BREAKFAST lol. Your body has a higher tolerance for glucose at this time too so that helps. Eating most of your carbs before and after a workout helps reduce carbs stores in your body. The body tolerates them better during these times.
You can have some carbs for lunch of course but less than breakfast and then dinner will be less. So Breakfast > Lunch > Dinner carbs!
Eat some healthy complex carbs right before a workout to give your body the necessary energy to fuel your muscles before a workout. Some people may workout later in the day or at night, so this will also change your carb consumption ratio. There have been theories about avoiding late-night carbs unless you are working out at night because your body could end up storing it as fat, however, these have not been 100% scientifically proven.
Next, you have post workout, you again need carbs and proteins to refuel your muscles, recovery, and energy. Post workout is also when you can preferably (if you must) consume those simple carbs like sodas, desserts etc since they can give you that quick energy. However, this is not an excuse to go overboard. Also ensure, you are not consuming “products” that claim to be healthy but are high in sugar.
One point to remember with the carbs is portion control, just because you can take carbs pre or post doesn’t mean its a reason to forget portion control.
Also, just because these are the best times to eat carbs doesn’t mean eating carbs at other times of the day will kill your whole progress. For instance, maybe you were unable to eat pre and post workout due to the time crunch, you won’t go on and starve yourself of carbs all day.
Finally, your carb ratio will be higher or lower depending on your fitness levels, physical activities on those days, active or sedentary lifestyles and level of body fat.
Again, it’s best to study your body and know what works best for you. Some people are able to eat carbs at any time of the day and get their desired results. Thus its not for everyone
Protein is essential for growth and the building of new tissue and the repair of broken down tissue. Proteins help build your muscle and keep you fuller for a long period of time. Protein sources include chicken breast, ground turkey, eggs, cottage cheese, salmon, beef, greek yogurt. Check out this post HERE and HERE to see how proteins can help in belly fat loss
Depending on your level of activity, your protein intake should be about 0.8-1g of protein per your body weight in pounds.
When to eat Proteins
Unlike Carbs, proteins do not have as many timing rules to pay attention to. Thus you can eat them any time of the day. However, one important time to consume them is right after workout within an hour. Your muscles need protein to repair them thus you need a protein source like whey protein powder.
Whey protein is great for post workout because it is fast digesting. For vegetarians, there is Plant-based like soy protein, hemp or rice powder. It also provides provide antioxidant benefits and heart health benefits. This type of protein can be used both pre and post workout or anytime throughout the day
Another time to consume proteins will be at night. Its great to have some protein before going to bed because your body also repairs itself while sleeping thus we need some protein and also fat to slow down the protein digestion. Since it keeps you fuller longer, it would help with LATE NIGHT SNACKING.
Casein protein is a slow digesting protein thus you can use it as a meal or before bedtime. It keeps you fuller longer and keeps a constant supply of protein in your body to supply the muscles with proper nutrition for hours after drinking it. There is also Egg protein which is slow digesting so you feel full longer and ideal at night to keep yourself full and fueled during sleep.
At night you can also consume lean protein sources such as eggs, chicken breast, greek yogurt or any other forms of slow digesting protein. In general, consume proteins every 3-4 hours which can include meals and snacks
Include healthy fats like Nuts – unsalted and raw walnuts, almonds, cashews, oils like grapeseed, coconut, olive, flaxseed, sesame oil, seeds, and avocado. Try to limit mayonnaise, butter, yellow cheeses, creams, whole milk, corn and canola oils and partially hydrogenated oils. You could implement the good fats in salads too.
Healthy Fat consumption will keep you fuller longer, prevent you from binge eating thus help to manage your weight and also increase your good cholesterol HDL levels
When to eat Fats
Fats are slow digesting and keep you fuller longer. This is a good thing, however, it also makes them wrong to be consumed after a workout because they will slow the protein digestion. You want the protein to digest fast after working out to feed your muscles. They are however great at night with proteins since you want to slow the protein digestion while you sleep.
It’s usually best to also avoid taking them when consuming a lot of carbs so the carbs are digested fast enough too. This means, at night you can consume meals high in healthy fat and lean protein
Again, listen to your body and understand how it works, these are suggestions and do not work for everyone. For instance, some people have a hard time digesting protein and fats at night. For such people, complex carbs will be better to consume at night rather than follow this rule and struggle to stay comfortable or sleep.
It would also be best to stick to simple foods at night for people that have a hard time with digestion. It also depends on your fitness goals. If you are trying to lose weight, maintain, or gain weight, the rules will differ here and there for you.
Anyway peeps, those are just a few things to watch out for when thinking carbs, proteins, and fats. If you need some tips on MEAL PREP, click HERE
When do you tend to eat your carbs, proteins and fast cause everyone is different!!