Is eating 2 times a day OK?

Quick Answer

Eating just 2 times a day can be perfectly healthy for most people. However, it really depends on the individual, their activity levels, metabolism, and what they eat during those 2 meals. As long as you are getting all the nutrients you need, then eating 2 larger meals instead of 3 smaller ones should not pose any issues. Some possible benefits of eating 2 meals a day include better blood sugar control, weight loss, and reduced inflammation. But it’s not right for everyone, so you have to listen to your body.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Eating just 2 meals a day, with little to no snacking in between, is a type of intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting simply means cycling between periods of fasting and eating. The most popular intermittent fasting schedule is 16:8, where you fast for 16 hours and restrict eating to an 8 hour window. For example, you might skip breakfast and eat your first meal around noon, then have your last meal by 8pm. Eating just 2 meals would fit into this daily 16 hour fast. Other common intermittent fasting approaches include alternate day fasting, 5:2 fasting (eat normally 5 days a week, fast 2 days), and 24 hour fasts once or twice a week. The idea behind intermittent fasting is that it allows your body a prolonged break from digestion to tap into fat stores for energy. It can also help regulate appetite hormones like leptin and ghrelin to reduce hunger.

Benefits of Eating 2 Meals a Day

Here are some of the top evidence-based benefits of eating 2 meals daily:

Enhanced Weight Loss

Eating fewer meals leaves more time for fasting, which can enhance fat burning and make it easier to lose weight. In fact, studies show intermittent fasting leads to similar or greater weight loss compared to daily calorie restriction. Eating 2 meals a day naturally reduces calorie intake which drives weight loss, but the fasting periods also promote fat burning. Your body releases fat stores for energy when insulin levels drop during extended fasting. For optimal weight loss, focus your 2 meals on high protein, fiber and healthy fats.

Improved Blood Sugar Control

Eating just 2 meals spaced apart creates periods of lowered blood sugar and insulin levels between meals. This gives your body a break from insulin and can enhance insulin sensitivity long-term. Multiple studies demonstrate intermittent fasting leads to better blood sugar control. This makes 2 meals a day a good diet approach for those trying to prevent or manage diabetes.

Reduced Inflammation

Inflammation is central to many chronic diseases. The fasting periods associated with eating 2 meals a day help fight inflammation. When your body isn’t digesting and absorbing food, inflammatory markers like c-reactive protein and interleukin-6 decrease. Research confirms intermittent fasting reduces inflammation.

Increased Longevity

Animal studies reveal intermittent fasting extends lifespan by protecting cells from oxidative damage. Though human studies are needed, eating 2 meals daily may support longevity by giving cells a break from food metabolism and spurring cellular repair processes when fasting. This may help slow aging and age-related chronic illness.

Heart Health

Along with lowering inflammation, intermittent fasting improves numerous markers of heart health. Eating 2 meals a day has been shown to decrease LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, blood pressure and resting heart rate. This reduces your risk for heart attack, stroke and metabolic syndrome.

Better Focus and Productivity

Contrary to popular belief, skipping meals can improve concentration, energy and productivity. After adapting to intermittent fasting, many people report feeling more productive and clear headed during the fasted state in between meals. However, benefits for focus seem most pronounced when following more extensive fasts of 20-24 hours. But eating just 2 meals daily may still provide mental clarity during fasting periods for some people.

Easier Digestion

Limiting meals gives your digestive system a break. This can ease digestive issues like acid reflux, bloating and constipation for some people. Research also shows fasting can alleviate irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms. Eating 2 larger meals instead of 3 smaller ones reduces total time spent digesting, allowing the digestive tract to rest.

Hunger Control

One big concern with eating 2 meals daily is that it may increase hunger. But once adapted, research actually shows intermittent fasting leads to reduced appetite. The fasting periods allow leptin and ghrelin to reset so you feel full eating less. Following an evening eating window also syncs with circadian rhythms for optimal hunger control. So eating just 2 meals spaced apart lessens appetite.


Emerging research reveals intermittent fasting may slow aging and extend lifespan. Animal studies show cycles of fasting promote cellular repair processes that protect against oxidative damage and chronic disease. Though human data is limited, time-restricted eating shows benefits for weight, blood sugar, inflammation and heart disease risk – all factors impacting aging. Eating 2 meals a day may support longevity by allowing periods of rest away from food metabolism.

May Protect Brain Health

Intermittent fasting may also shield the brain from age-related cognitive decline. Studies in animals reveal fasting stimulates neuronal growth, enhances learning and memory and alleviates symptoms of neurodegenerative disease. The fasting intervals with eating 2 meals daily could drive similar benefits by reducing oxidative stress on brain cells. More research is underway on how intermittent fasting benefits brain health in humans.

Best Foods to Eat With 2 Meals Per Day

To stay satisfied while eating just 2 meals daily, each meal should be nutrient-dense and balanced. Here are some of the best foods to eat when intermittent fasting with 2 meals a day:

Lean Protein

Choose lean, unprocessed proteins like chicken breast, turkey, fish, tofu, eggs, Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. Protein is satiating and helps preserve muscle mass when fasting. Shoot for around 30 grams of protein per meal.

Non-Starchy Vegetables

Fill half your plate with low-carb veggies like leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, tomato, zucchini, bell peppers and mushrooms. Vegetables supply fiber to control hunger.

Healthy Fats

Include plant-based fats like avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut and nut butters. Healthy fats enhance satiety between meals on a reduced meal frequency plan.


Incorporate beans, lentils, chickpeas and peas for plant-based protein and fiber. Legumes provide key nutrients to fuel the body when intermittent fasting.

Whole Grains

Opt for intact whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, oats and 100% whole grain bread which digest slower to prevent energy crashes. Limit to 1 cup per meal.


Add fiber-, vitamin- and antioxidant-rich blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries to meals. The natural sugars and fiber in fruit aid satiety.

Sample 1 Day 2 Meal Diet Plan

Here is an example of what eating just 2 meals per day could look like:

First Meal – 12pm

– 3 eggs scrambled with 1 cup spinach, 1 oz cheese and salsa
– 1 slice 100% whole wheat toast with 2 tbsp peanut butter
– 1 cup mixed berries
– Water, unsweetened tea or coffee

Second Meal – 6pm

– 85g (3oz) salmon baked with lemon and dill
– 1 cup quinoa
– 1 cup roasted broccoli and cauliflower
– Large mixed salad with 2 tbsp oil-based dressing
– 1 oz dark chocolate (85% cacao)
– Herbal tea

This provides around 2000 calories and an equal balance of protein, carbs and fat. The fiber keeps you feeling full while the protein and healthy fats curb appetite between meals.

Who Shouldn’t Eat Just 2 Meals Per Day?

While eating 2 meals daily can be healthy for many, it’s not ideal for everyone. The following groups may do better with 3 regular, spaced-out meals:

Teens & Young Adults

Youth need frequent meals and snacks to support growth and development. Limiting intake to just 2 meals risks nutrient deficiencies for teens and young adults.

Over 65 Years Old

Studies show the elderly may need to eat smaller meals more frequently to maximize nutrient absorption. Older adults should talk to their doctor before restricting intake to 2 meals.

Type 1 Diabetics

Those with type 1 diabetes depend on regular doses of insulin. Meal timing is key to coordinate with insulin action and prevent blood sugar crashes. Work with your doctor on the best meal frequency.

Pregnant or Breastfeeding Women

Pregnancy and breastfeeding increase calorie and nutrient needs. Sticking to just 2 meals may not provide enough nutrition for mom or baby. Focus on 3 healthy meals if pregnant or nursing.


People who are underweight need more frequent meals to gain weight healthily. Work on spacing 3-5 small meals throughout the day to manage weight.

History of Eating Disorders

Individuals with a history of eating disorders should avoid restrictive diets that may trigger relapse. Stick to regular meal patterns with professional support.

Tips to Adjust to 2 Meals Per Day

It can take some time to adapt to eating just 2 meals daily. Here are tips to transition smoothly:

– Stay hydrated between meals by sipping water or unsweetened teas.

– Manage hunger with black coffee, green tea or sparkling water.

– Include protein and fiber at each meal – this prevents energy crashes.

– Choose satisfying high volume foods like soups and big salads.

– Manage stress and get enough sleep, key to preventing overeating.

– Exercise to take your mind off hunger and elevate energy.

– Listen to your body. Eat snacks if needed to curb excessive hunger.

– Transition slowly – start with 12-14 hour overnight fasts.

– Pick an eating window that fits your schedule and hunger levels.

– Give it 2-4 weeks for your body to adapt to a 2 meal frequency.

Common Concerns

Here are answers to some common concerns about eating just two meals daily:

Won’t I be starving all day?

Once adapted, research shows eating 2 meals reduces appetite and hunger hormone levels. The fasting periods allow ghrelin to reset so you feel satiated while eating less. Make meals nutritious and drink water between meals to manage hunger.

Is eating 1 big meal better?

One large meal makes it hard to meet nutrient needs and may exceed daily calorie needs. This can lead to weight gain long-term. Two meals spaced apart better fuels the body throughout the day without overeating.

Can I exercise fasting?

You can exercise during fasting periods. Just stay hydrated and limit high intensity workouts to 1 hour. Pay attention to signs of low energy like dizziness. Eating a small snack beforehand may help if needing longer/harder workouts.

Don’t you need breakfast?

Despite old claims that breakfast is the most important meal, newer research shows breakfast isn’t essential for health or weight loss. As long as you eat nutrient-rich foods throughout the day, you can absolutely skip breakfast. Listen to your body’s hunger signals.

Should I take supplements?

It’s preferable to meet nutrient needs from whole foods. But supplements can fill gaps if needed. Multivitamin, calcium, vitamin D, omega-3, protein powder and magnesium are useful when fasting with just 2 meals.

How can I gain muscle?

To build muscle with 2 meals per day, make sure both meals have around 30 grams of protein. Spread your mealtimes apart, allowing a post-workout meal. Time one meal shortly after strength training when your muscles need protein and carbs. Shoot for at least 0.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight daily.


Eating just two meals per day can provide powerful health benefits for many people but it’s not right for everyone. Teens, older adults, underweight individuals and those with certain medical conditions may do better with more frequent meals. The benefits of eating 2 meals a day can include enhanced fat burning, improved blood sugar control, reduced inflammation, increased longevity and heart health – but only if you choose nutrient-dense foods. It’s important to listen to your body, be aware of signs of over-restriction and eat more meals if needed. Have patience adjusting to the 2 meal frequency and stick with it for at least a few weeks to see if you feel better eating this way. But don’t force it if it’s making you feel weak or exhausted.

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