Jump to content

Menu

What time do you eat dinner?


Recommended Posts

What time do you eat dinner? Why?

ETA It might be nice if I answered my own question: We never eat before eight. Just because that’s the way it has always been. I’m considering an earlier hour but it feels weird. Maybe when the time changes...

Edited by bibiche
Link to post
Share on other sites

I get off work at 430, home by 5. I start cooking right away, so we eat by 6 most nights. I would prefer to wait an hour, but dd13 pesters me incessantly about dinner once I get home, unless I am cooking. Due to that, I don't even sit down before I start dinner.

Edited by Tap
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Later than typical Americans. Pretty much the earliest would be 7:30, but 8 or 8:30 is common. I greatly dislike the more normal American eating times for a bunch of reasons. One is that I don’t want to start making dinner so early; it cuts my evening in half. Another is that I don’t like hours of “dead” time after dinner and cleanup but before bed. Most nights after dinner, I go to my room and read, watch TV or surf the web until I go to bed. A final reason is, if I have hours and hours in between, I will start munching on something. But if I just had dinner a half hour ago, I won’t. 

Years ago, it grew out of activities and sports mostly. We weren’t home until 8 or later anyway. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Usually sometime between 6;15 and 7:00, mostly, except for the 3 nights I work; then I eat early and my husband eats at about 7 - 7:30. When we are having dinner together, I like to eat earlier than he does, because I need 3-4 hours after eating before I lie down.  And, I like to take a walk after dinner; if we eat too late, we run out of time. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

We’ve always eaten early. When the kids were little, dh kept his work schedule 7a-3:30p so we would eat around 4:30pm and we’ve just always kept close to that. These days it’s usually 5-5:30pm. I don’t like eating later because I usually go to bed around 10 and I sleep much better having those hours of no food. 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, marbel said:

...  And, I like to take a walk after dinner; if we eat too late, we run out of time. 

I do enjoy a postprandial stroll. We usually finish too late for that. Good motivator, thank you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For years my husband got home from work at 5:00. And he wanted to eat immediately. No wind-down time, just changed his clothes, let’s eat. So, 5:00. Which is way too early in my opinion, but he was the one out there making a living, so if he wanted to eat right away, I wanted to make him happy. The kids are almost all out of the house now, and I work too now, but we still eat 5:00-5:30 just out of habit. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

6:30

Growing up, my family ate around 7:30. 

I think much is dependent on one’s time zone and the family work schedule.  I grew up East Coast. My daddy was an MD, and we ate later (after rounds). When we moved to a Central Time Zone, we started eating earlier. 

I have settled on 6:30 as a good time for us to have dinner.  But, it is now just dh and I. 

Edited by Hoggirl
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm busy with evening horse chores until 6:00 and then I start cooking as soon as I'm back in the house. I prep dinner ingredients during the day so cooking goes faster. It's usually on the table around 6:45-7:00. I wish I could fit an earlier dinnertime into my schedule, just so my day's work would be done earlier and I had more relaxation time. I get up early and am always dead tired by evening. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
32 minutes ago, bibiche said:

What time do you eat dinner? Why?

ETA It might be nice if I answered my own question: We never eat before eight. Just because that’s the way it has always been. I’m considering an earlier hour but it feels weird. Maybe when the time changes...

We tend to the very early side, 5 to 5.30, and always have.  Yes, we are bad about having a snack later, lol. 

Sometimes, someone will ask me on the weekend if dinner is nearly ready, and I'm like, it is three o'clock in the afternoon! No, dinner is not ready! 

 

  • Haha 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Joker said:

We’ve always eaten early. When the kids were little, dh kept his work schedule 7a-3:30p so we would eat around 4:30pm and we’ve just always kept close to that. These days it’s usually 5-5:30pm. I don’t like eating later because I usually go to bed around 10 and I sleep much better having those hours of no food. 

This goes for me, too. We eat early and go to bed early. It's better if dinner isn't close to bedtime. (And especially as I get older: indigestion! Yikes!)

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, alisoncooks said:

This goes for me, too. We eat early and go to bed early. It's better if dinner isn't close to bedtime. (And especially as I get older: indigestion! Yikes!)

I’ve been thinking of that. My grandparents ate their big meal early and ate nothing but soup and compote for dinner. We always joked about it but I am starting to get it...

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

We eat whenever dinner is ready. It varies every day depending on what time swim practice is and if I finished cooking dinner before practice or not. 
 

We get up at different times each day. We eat dinner at different times each day. But one thing that doesn’t change is that kids brush teeth at 9:00 each night and get in bed at 9:30 every night. So long as that is set in stone, I can be flexible about everything else. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, Amethyst said:

For years my husband got home from work at 5:00. And he wanted to eat immediately. No wind-down time, just changed his clothes, let’s eat. So, 5:00. Which is way too early in my opinion, but he was the one out there making a living, so if he wanted to eat right away, I wanted to make him happy. The kids are almost all out of the house now, and I work too now, but we still eat 5:00-5:30 just out of habit. 

This is how my dad was, except he got home just before 4:00.  We ate dinner at 4:00 every night.  So early!  (But, that's what he wanted so that's what we did.)  He would get home at 3:45, hop in the shower for 10 minutes, and we'd be eating at 4:00.

One evening (when my sister and I were both home from college) we watched an episode of Seinfeld in which Jerry goes off about his parents insisting on going out to eat early to get the Early Bird Special.  (I just looked it up.  Jerry's parents wanted to eat at 4:30.)  "Four thirty!  Who eats dinner at four thirty?!"  My sister and I laughed so hard!

Edited by Junie
  • Like 2
  • Haha 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

We have always eaten early, because Mr. Ellie's job required him to get up at o'dark hundred, and by 5 p.m. he was famished. For many years we ate at 4:30, when he walked in the door.  We are now used to eating early and having the whole evening to enjoy.

Edited by Ellie
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was a child we ate at 6.30 as my dad finished milking around 6.  I have always aimed for 6 to 6.30 but now the kids are older activities are later.  Do some nights it is after 7 and some nights it is 5.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

We used to eat fairly late, but have moved quite a bit earlier. Now that we are older, I think it’s healthier to finish eating earlier in the day. I like to eat early enough that we can still walk or bike after dinner while it is still light outside. So as early as five some days if we’re just having leftovers. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

4 because that is when dh's hour break is.  He works from noon to nine. With his new position his schedule will change every 3 or 4 months and as long as he's working from home our big meal of the day will coincide with his break.  Once he's back in the office, if his schedule is such that he's home during a normal meal time that will be our big meal and then the traditional dinner time will be a lighter meal.  It is this way because I enjoy sitting down to our big meal together

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I like a 6pm dinner, but we’re anywhere between 5 and 7ish. Sometimes we have reasons for being closer to 5 or even later than 7:30, but the variations are often because I have a secret that’s not really a secret.  Though I’m a fairly decent cook, I can’t time cooking for the life of me.  I don’t know what my problem is, but I cannot plan multiple elements to all be ready at a specific time. I must be missing that part of my brain.  Holidays get pretty wild, lol.

I don’t do housekeeping tasks past 8 unless there’s a serious hazard involved, and most of us are ready or getting ready for bed by 9 on a normal night, so a later meal wouldn’t work for us. Now and then it does happen, and I have to eat Tums half asleep, lol.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Usually around 5:30-6:00. Right now the determiner is when DS21 gets home from work. I definitely prefer to start eating by 6:00. Otherwise even a light meal makes my digestive system feel unwell overnight and into the next morning. Plus I like to get everything cleaned up and have a little time to enjoy the evening.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

6pm, plus or minus 15 minutes. The kids and I are on a pretty consistent routine: breakfast around 8, lunch at noon, snack at 3, dinner at 6, dessert at 7. I find this keeps us fueled through the day so that we make nutritious choices and don’t get impulsive or hangry. Dessert is something that has only become routine in the past couple of years, but we also eliminated most snacky food so it’s our one indulgence. For snacks we have fruit, veg, nuts, crackers, etc.
 

I recently read a really interesting book about the evolution of meals in America. In a nutshell, our standard meal components and times have a lot to do with work patterns, social pressure, bunk science, advertising, and morality. Three Squares: The Invention of the American Meal https://www.amazon.com/dp/0465025528/  
 

One thing I have noticed is that if I go to bed on an empty stomach I wake up early due to hunger. So sometimes I have a bedtime snack which helps me sleep so much better. It’s funny how others have the opposite issue. 

Edited by ondreeuh
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, bibiche said:

I’ve been thinking of that. My grandparents ate their big meal early and ate nothing but soup and compote for dinner. We always joked about it but I am starting to get it...

Yep. It's been a few years now since I noticed my evening digestion wasn't what it used to be. It used to be that I could eat a hearty dinner at 6:00 and still need at least a small snack before bed in order to sleep well. And slowly that morphed to where anything more than a light, early dinner caused a problem. And one day it dawned on me why restaurants have early bird specials, and why it's almost always older people taking advantage of them. And that I'd become one of those people. Sigh.

(But it's not a universal thing. I have a BIL and SIL who are several years older than me, and they rarely eat before 9:00 p.m.)

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

We just eat when we are hungry. It is kind of random, partly because we don't eat together, and we generally don't eat the same food. It is just me and my teen, who is currently taking CC classes online, in the evening.

My diabetic cat, on the other hand, has to eat on a strict schedule, and I give her insulin at 8 am and 8 pm. That can serve as a reminder to me to eat something myself.

Theoretically I "close the kitchen" at 10 pm, which means I tidy it up and I don't cook after that. But my teen will often do some late night baking. Last night's surprise was a lovely lemon Bundt cake.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

We usually eat around 5:15/5:30.  I didn't realize how early that was until I read the responses here!  My adult kids always comment on how early we eat when they are home now even though we used to eat closer to 5pm - they all eat dinner much later now.  

I don't really eat meals - I like to eat small snacks all day, so I have something small when everyone is eating dinner, but then eat a couple more times before bed.  

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ondreeuh said:

<snip>

One thing I have noticed is that if I go to bed on an empty stomach I wake up early due to hunger. So sometimes I have a bedtime snack which helps me sleep so much better. It’s funny how others have the opposite issue. 

It is interesting, how different it is for people.

If I go to bed a little hungry, I will sleep much better than if I am not. Either way, I am never hungry in the morning. I actually tried for a while to go to bed really hungry so I would be hungry enough to eat breakfast before work in the morning, but... nope. I do not get hungry till I've been awake 3-4 hours. 

I always figured early meal times were not an American thing (as someone said upthread) but a working/middle class thing. Maybe it's because I grew up with a fairly early (5 - 5:30) dinner; it was based on when my father got home from work, hungry for dinner. Most people I knew were the same way, except the families of wealthier people, who seemed to eat later. This is just an observation, not based on anything else, so I'm not making a sweeping generalization. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

We eat at 5. Like a previous poster, I often get asked if dinner is ready around 3:30-4 pm (I also get asked about lunch about 10 am). I have one child who has never slept past 5 am, so bedtime (even though she's 15 now) is still 8 pm. An early dinner gets the kitchen cleaned, some time outside, a game played or a show watched, and a shower done before sleep. 

Growing up, my parents usually worked nights, so I ate at different times depending on the babysitter's schedule. Therefore, I had no preconception of a  "set dinnertime" when I grew up. Dh wanted food when he got home, so 5 it became. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

About 6-6:30. We frequently have meetings/activities that start at 7 and need to be done before them.

It's easier now that DH is working from home; it used to be a nuisance that he sometimes wouldn't get home until nearly 7, typically with no notice, and I never knew when to start cooking or whether to feed the hungry kid or wait.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I grew up eating dinner around 8. 9 wasn't uncommon. DH grew up eating dinner at 5! I found that to be the craziest thing I'd ever heard; like that only happened on old timey tv shows. It was weird for me because when we dated, we always had dinner at normal times- 7-8, or maybe 6 if we were going out with old people or children. 

I tried to have dinner earlier when the older kids were small. It felt so wrong and I was never hungry, but I tried. Now, I try for 6:30 or 7. It seems like an ok compromise but we often eat at 8 because I tend to underestimate how long something will take to cook. If someone gets upset about it being later, they are welcome to cook the food themselves or ask how they can help me get dinner together more quickly! 

My parents were not wealthy. They were solidly middle class, but my dad grew up very, very poor. I don't think our eating times had anything to do with class but was a lifestyle thing. We had activities at night and the choice was eat before or after. Eating before wasn't practical and would be too rushed with my dad getting home around 5:30 and needing to be out the door by 6. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, marbel said:

I always figured early meal times were not an American thing (as someone said upthread) but a working/middle class thing.

I don't think so; working/middle class people elsewhere in the world don't all eat at 5pm. They certainly don't in many European countries.
I haven't heard of a Western country other than the US where folks eat at 5.

Such an early dinner is only possible for people who get off work so early in the day, and who have a spouse at home (or returning even earlier) who has dinner ready by that time. Even with the proverbial nine-to-five workday it's impossible for a working person. 

Edited by regentrude
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, regentrude said:

I don't think so; working/middle class people elsewhere in the world don't all eat at 5pm. They certainly don't in many European countries.
I haven't heard of a country other than the US where folks eat at 5. (Of course such an early dinner is only possible for people who get off work so early in the day, so that excludes automatically anybody who works later hours)

Yeah, it's a weird time.

European countries also mostly have their big meal closer to the middle of the day, and then the evening meal is much lighter.  I think maybe one reason dinner is so early here is that it's not good to have such a big meal close to bedtime?

In Spain, the big meal is around 2pm.  They eat supper really late - like 10-11pm.  Restaurants don't open for the evening meal till about 9pm, and they close for the midday meal by 4 or so.  Lots of American tourists wandering about at 5-6 pm looking for dinner and wondering why ALL the restaurants are closed.  Businesses and schools shut down for about 3 hours for the midday meal, then people go back to work and work later.

Last year I spent the day with some Spanish teachers from an exchange program, then we went to a restaurant for dinner about 5-5:30 pm.  One of the teachers quipped "Americans don't really eat this early??!"  (and this is someone who's been coming to this country to visit for years.  But still having a hard time wrapping their heads around our 'weird' eating times, lol... )

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Matryoshka said:

In Spain, the big meal is around 2pm.  They eat supper really late - like 10-11pm.  Restaurants don't open for the evening meal till about 9pm, and they close for the midday meal by 4 or so.  Businesses and schools shut down for about 3 hours for the midday meal, then people go back to work and work later.

In Germany, the main meal is traditionally lunch, but there is no multi-hour break; you get a 30 minute break (which is the law) and eat at your work cafeteria or the hotdog stand.
 

Edited by regentrude
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Growing up, we'd always eat dinner at 5pm when my dad got home from work. When I lived in Norway, living and working at a folk high school for 4 years, they had 4 meals spread out in the day: 8am breakfast, noon lunch, hot dinner at 4:30 and evening meal of cold sandwiches at 7pm. This is my preference now.  Dh grew up eating dinner at 6pm. I'd be dead from starvation by then. 😄

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, regentrude said:

In Germany, the main meal is traditionally lunch, but there is no multi-hour break; you get a 30 minute break (which is the law) and eat at your work cafeteria or the hotdog stand.

Yeah, when I lived there (almost 40 years ago) I think more people still got to go home and eat, but I think it's much rarer now.  Still no cafeterias at schools, though, I don't think?  My kids were there much more recently and went home to eat.  The school I went to sold Butterbrezeln at Pause at 10ish, that was it.  We left to go home and eat dinner by 1pm.

The Spanish have always been serious about siesta time, lol.  I think it's just too hot to do anything in the middle of the day, at least it was pre-air conditioning...  they also tend to stay up and also go out at night.  When I was there we'd have supper at 11; if you wanted to go out to a club (hey, I was 21...), they were open by midnight, but also completely empty.  No one actually showed up till almost 2, and they'd go full blast till dawn.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, Matryoshka said:

Yeah, when I lived there (almost 40 years ago) I think more people still got to go home and eat, but I think it's much rarer now.  Still no cafeterias at schools, though, I don't think?  My kids were there much more recently and went home to eat.  The school I went to sold Butterbrezeln at Pause at 10ish, that was it.  We left to go home and eat dinner by 1pm.

School lunch availability in Germany may vary by state. It's probably more prevalent in the Eastern states because in East Germany, almost all women worked outside the home; while school was out around noon or 1pm,  school still served a warm lunch for kids who didn't have an adult home who cooked. I went home, because my grandma lived with us.
When we lived in Germany for sabbatical in 2009, both my kids' schools provided lunch. DS always came home because I wasn't working; DD who was in gymnasium ate at school on the days she had class until 2:30.
 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Most people around here eat at 5 or 5:30 and that's what I grew up doing too, so our family's typical 6:30 or 7 seems really late in comparison. But DH doesn't usually get home from work til then and I am usually doing school with somebody til 5 or so, so it works for us.

I wish we could get done a little earlier because after doing dishes and chores there's hardly any evening left for anything else before bedtime for the little girls at 9. But we're not eating without DH, so it is what it is.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

We started eating dinner at 5:00 when my older son was small, and even though I've been informed on numerous occasions that "no one eats that early except old people," I can't seem to break the habit.  

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, EKS said:

We started eating dinner at 5:00 when my older son was small, and even though I've been informed on numerous occasions that "no one eats that early except old people," I can't seem to break the habit.  

LOL I know lots of people who eat at 5pm, not sure 40ish counts as old (not in my book it doesn't!), but it seems to be a good time for a lot of people.

I don't think there is a time that is right, wrong, or weird... people have their reasons for eating when they do. I've adjusted when traveling or visiting people and most other folks seem to as well. Maybe not the truly elderly who get a pass for being inflexible as needed!  

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

5:30-6:30. Everyone is starving by then (according to them.)

DH doesn’t like to eat past 7:00 for weight issues. He doesn’t want to go to bed with lots of food in his tummy.  He goes to bed around 10:30, but eating past 7:00 bothers him.  He might eat a low calorie snack between dinner and bed (like a handful of pretzels), but that’s it.  He closely watches his calorie intake.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

We typically eat somewhere between 5 and 7.  I prefer the earlier end myself, DH prefers the later.  When he was having to commute I would plan for 6:30 because that was when he was supposed to be home.  Things got a bit trickier when the kids had afternoon/evening activities, and I would plan around them, usually making something people could eat when they had time before or after activity.

Growing up we always ate when dad got home at 5.  DH grew up eating whenever his mom served dinner, or after she went back to work whenever they made themselves something.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

We eat dinner around 6 almost every night.  Sometimes as late as 7, but that's the exception.  My husband can't sleep later than 5 or 6am due to his internal clock, so he goes to bed at night early. None of us like to go to sleep relatively shortly after eating, and I don't think it's healthy.  Youngest and I are night owls. I also do intermittent fasting, so 6-7 just works out with all those factors in play. It's handy having a set time so youngest knows when to be home from hanging out with the neighbors. After our dinner together she can go back out if she wants.  If I could wave a magic wand making all those factors work together seamlessly, I'd eat at 7.

We eat lunch around 12:00 most days. It can be was early as 11 or as late as 1 depending on occasional factors like whether or not my husband has a teleconference at a time that would affect lunch. (He's worked from home for 20+ years.) Recently all the neighbor kids started eating lunch together outside from 12-1 since they're all full time or part time virtual schooling.  It gives all the parents a break and the kids do some longboard skateboarding to burn off a little energy and get some fresh air.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, historically accurate said:

We eat at 5. Like a previous poster, I often get asked if dinner is ready around 3:30-4 pm (I also get asked about lunch about 10 am). 

I thought it was just my kids who started asking for food at those times!  We also eat at 5.  Growing up we ate at that time too.  My mom always said it was because she didn’t want to be cleaning the kitchen at 8pm.  For us, it just works for our family and our schedules.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...