Not sure how much food to pile on your plate or how often you should eat protein? Here’s some of the most important advice I share with my nutrition-coaching clients.
1. Don’t skip meals!
“If I skip a meal, I’m cutting calories.”
No! Not true. Don’t fall into the trap.
Unfortunately, when we skip meals we tend to overeat at the next meal and that calorie saving from the meal skipping? Irrelevant. Not only can this relentless and annoying pattern make you irritable, but chances are you won’t see the weight loss results you want! The jury is still out on whether 6 small meals or 3 meals is best, so try to figure out what feels right for you. But overall, having a patterned meal schedule during the day can help to boost energy and prevent overeating. Feed that metabolism!
2. Make half your plate fruit and/or vegetables.
Think of fruits and vegetables as your “free foods.” They’re low in calories, but high in fiber. Remember, fiber is the stuff that helps us stay full! These colorful gems provide essential phytonutrients, micronutrients, vitamins, minerals and enzymes all needed for a healthy life. By making half of your plate fruit and/or vegetables, it can help keep portion sizes balanced for protein and carbohydrates. Check out this infographic on how to build an ideal plate. Try incorporating fruits and vegetables into your favorite meals to help keep you feeling full without affecting your waistline.
3. Include a protein source at each meal and snack. (EVERY one.)
Protein-rich foods can help to reduce reflux and keep blood sugar levels stable while supporting healthy muscles and your immune system. Foods high in protein include meat, seafood, nuts, eggs, yogurt, etc. A good portion size for protein is about the size of a deck cards or the palm of your hand. Try to incorporate a protein source at each meal and snack to help you feel full and also build lean muscle!
4. Eat mindfully and limit distractions.
It’s very common for our generation to multitask. We’re on our phones constantly, swiping, liking and going and going. Unfortunately, our meals aren’t as focused as they should be. This makes it easy to overeat because we aren’t really thinking about what we’re eating and how much we’re eating.
Be present. Limit your distractions and take time to experience eating and to really engage your senses — this is what’s called eating mindfully. Digestion begins in the brain, so by looking at, thinking about and smelling your food, you can be more aware of what you are eating while enjoying the meal experience with your family and friends!
5. Make exercise a part of your life.
Exercise has so many health benefits that lead to a healthier lifestyle! Exercise helps with weight maintenance, prevents chronic diseases, improves your mood, helps you sleep better and boosts energy. The key is making exercise part of your daily routine and making it fun! Whether it’s parking further away from the store or taking a group yoga class, make exercise a part of your routine for at least 30 minutes daily.