HAVE PROTEIN WITH EVERY MEAL:
Protein is extremely important in our daily nutrition. It is largely responsible for satiety after meals. Eating meals higher in protein can help curb hunger for longer, helping to limit uncontrollable grazing throughout the day. Although every body is different, and depending on an individual's exercise and daily requirements, each person should consume approximately 1 gram of protein for every kilogram of body weight. So if you weigh 135 pounds, you will need a little more than 60 grams of protein per day. Thats approximately 2 eggs, one 4 ounce chicken breast, 2 tablespoons of almond butter, and a 3 oz piece of salmon. By eating protein with every meal, you can guarantee that you are eating plenty of protein, and helping to keep yourself satisfied for longer.
SOME FAT IS GOOD FOR YOU:
By now, most everyone has heard the expression "good fats" or "healthy fats". There's a reason that expression exists. On average, fat should make up approximately 20% of our daily caloric intake. However, i think that diets higher in fat, up to 35-40%, can actually be healthier for many people, if the right type of fats are consumed. Healthy fats are made up of fatty acids called as Monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids, and have been shown to have many health benefits, including lowering "bad" LDL cholesterol and Triglycerides, and raising "Good" HDL cholesterol, and even better insulin control. Now, it's important to remember that fat is also the most calorically dense of the macronutrients, in that each gram of fat has 9 calories. So portion size is crucial! For example a medium size avocado has 5 servings, and approximately 50 calories per serving. It is true that some fat is good for you, but always remember that too much of a good thing can also be bad.
Here are my favorite "Healthy Fats":
- Coconut/Coconut Oil
- Chia Seeds
- Almonds / Almond Butter
- "Fatty Fish" such as salmon, cod, or mackerel
DON't SKIP MEALS:
Trust me. I get it. You're running out the door, you grab a coffee (because that's priority number one), then you get to work and are immediately slammed with chaos. Then it's lunch, and you're ravenous. You have a HUGE lunch, then don't eat again til late night, and the cycle repeats. Maybe this sounds similar, maybe your story is a different variation. But the idea of eating fewer larger meals in a day is not the healthiest of strategies for maintaining or losing weight. Studies have shown that skipping meals actually promotes increased abdominal fat storage and decreases insulin sensitivity . See, what happens is, you eat a HUGE meal and your pancreas releases a ton of insulin into your blood stream to combat the huge amount of glucose you just ingested. Insulin promotes uptake of glucose by fat cells, and larger insulin release can lead to larger fat cell growth, even if your total overall calories are not beyond your daily needs. In simple terms, by eating more often and smaller meals (5-6 times per day), your insulin release is more stable and fat cells are less likely to store glucose and grow.
AVOID "EMPTY" CALORIES:
Following this rule can be a little tricky at times, but is a great way to keep your calories down. "Empty" calories are essentially calories that have little or no nutritional value, and are predominantly high in sugar or solid fat. We tend to sprinkle these types of calories throughout our day, and not pay much attention, but they can definitely add up! Or we binge eat them at a party or for a "special occasion". And listen, I get it. When you gotta have it! You gotta have it! It's fine to indulge the sweet tooth, but let's try to keep the train from coming off the track all the time!
Here are some common "empty" calories and healthy alternatives:
- Soda - Try sparkling water flavored with Mint and lemon / lime juice
- Salad dressing - Ask for the dressing on the side, and you can dip your
fork in the dressing before each bite.
- Ice cream - Try frozen yogurt instead, or give Halo Top ice cream a try.
- Sports Drinks - Although they serve an important purpose at times,
use sparingly or dilute with extra water
- Energy Drinks - Switch to coffee or espresso!
- Pizza - Order with thin crust instead
STAY AWAY FROM REFINED SUGARS
This rule is tied in closely with the "empty calories" rule. Often times foods consisting of "empty calories" are high in refined sugars, such as candies, donuts, white bread, etc. I guess you can kill two birds with one stone in a sense, if you follow one of them, you're kind of following the other. Essentially, refined sugar is a processed version of naturally occurring sugar, and comes in a couple different forms: standard granulated sugar, powdered sugar, and sanding sugar. To keep things simple, it is always best to limit the amount of refined sugar, because it causes an excessively large insulin spike, and replace refined sugars with carbohydrates from whole grains. Such as life, refined sugars should be enjoyed in moderation. But when you do indulge, make sure to ENJOY!