... and yes, the correct answer is 'when you're hungry'.
My schedule is a little different than most people's, and I am trying to plan my meals in a way to make the most out of my metabolism, and to make sure that I wake up feeling hungry (not eating too late before bed).
With minor variations, my schedule is thusly:
10 am - wake up
10:30 am - breakfast (usally oatmeal or steel cut oats with fruit and one cup of coffee)
The majority of my day takes place in the afternoon and early evening.
During the off season, I ride at night, often getting off the trainer around 11pm. During the summer, I either get up an hour earlier and ride, or ride in the early evening until it gets dark.
2 - 3am bed time
I usually have lunch around 3pm, but am having a hard time establishing a regular dinner time, and with managing hunger in late at night after my time on the trainer. I know people often say don't eat after 9pm or whatever, but if I'm not going to bed until 2:30am, what should my cut off be?
I understand that this schedule is a little messed up - help!
If you're wondering why the odd schedule, I am both a grad student and a musician. I've been living like this for years, but am only now realizing the ramifications this may have on eating right and training. This is only my second full year as a cyclist.
Maybe you need to stop thinking about eating "meals" and start thinking in terms of small snacks.
According to some research, eating 6 small meals (large snacks) a day is better than the traditional 3 meals a day. And from my own experience, I had much better luck with losing weight when I ate something small about every 2 hours throughout the day ... right up till midnight.
Yes, that's more or less what I've been doing, though not on purpose. I eat well (little or no junk food), but it feels disjointed somehow. I'm no longer that concerned with weight loss - the little I have left to lose will come off pretty easily once I can bike outside again I think. It does make it harder to coordinate meals with significant others - not impossible, just not easy.