Am I the Only One Who Still Eats Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner?

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I’m a dinosaur. I eat three meals a day at approximately 7 a.m., noon, and 5:30 p.m., just like my parents did. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If any of those meals does not happen, I am not happy. And it drives me nuts that groups I belong to keep scheduling activities at meal times. Clearly I’m out of sync with the rest of the world. 

According to numerous sources, including this article from the New York Post–“Nobody Eats Three Meals a Day Anymore”–my habits are passe. I’m so old, I still want three square meals. Get over it, some might say. But I like my three squares, and I’m old enough to declare that I refuse to give them up. I also thank God I am able to buy all the food I want in a world where that’s not true for everyone. 

Do you know how the term “square meal” came about? It comes from the British and American Navy sailors back in the 1700s and 1800s. They were served their meals on square trays, hence three squares. I’ll bet there was some serious complaining if they didn’t get those meals. 

In my house growing up, you could set your clock by breakfast, lunch and dinner, same time every day, never skipped and always together. In his later years after my mother died, my father spent half his time preparing meals. When I was visiting, he’d look at the clock. “4:30? Aren’t you gonna start dinner?” Later, in the nursing home, meals were the main event of the day. People wheeled up to their tables early.They didn’t have much else to look forward to.

But nowadays, somewhere between half and three-quarters of Americans don’t go by the three-meal plan. Instead they eat one or two big meals at some point and snack the rest of the time.The Post article explains that they’re too busy for extensive meal preparation or to sit down with family and eat. The meal most likely to be skipped is lunch. Instead, people snack in the afternoon. Many eat while running errands, even while driving their car. How is that satisfying? 

Lunch is my favorite thing! I need that break and that boost of calories and caffeine. 

I don’t do snacks. As a compulsive overeater whose snacks can quickly get out of hand, I need to eat my scheduled meals then get away from the kitchen. When people host events that include brunch or eating in the middle of the afternoon, I don’t know how to fit that into my schedule. Is it a late breakfast? An early dinner? I’m confused.

Dieticians tell us it’s best to spread our eating throughout the day. Breakfast is essential, but then if we could do four or five smaller meals, it might be better than three big meals, but those meals can’t be chips or a burrito devoured on the run. 

I’m beginning to understand why so many activities take place at noon or 6 p.m., times I normally reserve for eating. Sometimes I eat during Zoom meetings, but I keep my camera off because watching people chew on Zoom is disgusting. How is everyone else content to meet when it’s time to eat? 

In this, as in many other aspects of life, I think dogs make more sense. I got home a little late on Saturday, delaying dinner, and my Annie followed me around the house barking until she got fed. It’s chow time. No excuses.

How about you? Do you eat three meals a day at approximately the same times? Why or why not? When do you eat? If you used to eat “three squares” and stopped, what caused you to change? If you have grown children, is their eating schedule different from yours? I look forward to some meaty comments. 

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Author: Sue Fagalde Lick

writer/musician California native, Oregon resident Author of Freelancing for Newspapers, Shoes Full of Sand, Azorean Dreams, Stories Grandma Never Told, Childless by Marriage, and Up Beaver Creek. Most recently, I have published two poetry chapbooks, Gravel Road Ahead and The Widow at the Piano: Confessions of a Distracted Catholic. I have published hundreds of articles, plus essays, fiction and poetry. I'm also pretty good at singing and playing guitar and piano.

3 thoughts on “Am I the Only One Who Still Eats Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner?”

  1. Interesting, Sue (and especially how “three square meals” got their name!)! Dh & I eat breakfast (generally between 7:30 & 8:30 a.m., whenever we get up), lunch around noon, & dinner around 5:30, every day — more or less the same times every day. (My parents generally eat dinner late — 7 or 8 p.m. — and there’s a time difference of an hour. We’re always starving by the time we eat dinner whenever we’re there!) Plus we usually have a mid-afternoon coffee/tea & snack (usually a cookie) around 2 & a snack later in the evening around 8 while we watch TV. Of the three main meals, lunch is the least important to me… it’s rarely a huge meal, often a slice of toast with peanut butter or cheese, and yogurt or a piece of fruit, or maybe some soup. I NEED my breakfast. Again, it’s never anything huge — generally a bowl of oatmeal and a small glass of orange juice — but I need it to kickstart my day. I could never understand people who skip breakfast!! — or who didn’t eat at home, but they’d stop to pick up something on their way into the office. I could never wait that long!

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  2. I’ve always had three meals each day plus dessert after dinner and sometimes a snack in the afternoon. I eat breakfast about 7 and lunch about 1 and dinner about 7:30 or 8. If I go too long without eating, I get light-headed, spacey! I love to eat and reward myself three times a day! Wouldn’t have it any other way! Whenever I go anywhere, I take food with me.

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