When you're busy at work or running errands, you might find yourself not eating lunch until 3 p.m. or 4 p.m. New research shows that could impact your waistline.
Jamie Brende and her husband are enjoying a meal together, even though it might seem late for lunch.
"Had the day off and decided to run some errands, and errands got running late," Jamie said.
These 3:30 p.m. lunches aren't that unusual, according to Sanford Registered Dietitian Teresa Beach.
"We pack a lot into our days, so it's pretty easy to be like, 'I'll just grab something after this.' The next thing you know, it's 4:00, and you haven't eaten the entire day," Beach said.
Though it may be convenient, research shows a late lunch isn't very appetizing for our waistline.
"Our body's metabolism actually tends to slow down when we have such an inconsistent eating pattern," Beach said.
It's also possible to get overly hungry and make poor food choices or overeat when you do eat.
"Part of that is mental because we think, 'I haven't eaten since 7 a.m. I have to be starving.' And we don't actually listen to our physical hunger," Beach said.
Beach says another reason a late lunch could cause you to gain weight is because it may lead to eating a later supper.
"We want most of our calories where we're most active," Beach said.
If you find yourself eating a 3 p.m., Beach says you can fight back by planning ahead and packing healthy snack options that you can eat on the go.
"Or something you could maybe eat at a meeting depending on where you work or where you are at," Beach said.
But Beach adds you don't have to turn up your nose to a late lunch every once in a while. Just don't make it a habit.
As for their late lunch date, the Brendes says it isn't often on the menu .
"Not very often, unless I'm on vacation days," Jamie said.
The research on late lunch and weight gain was recently published in the International Journal of Obesity.