How many times have we started a diet, only to have a decrease in blood sugar sabotage our efforts by lunchtime? Sometimes dieting can feel like a double-edged sword. We do everything right. We count calories, fat and carbohydrates and we reduce our sodium.
Then why does it sometimes feel as though nothing is working? How can we decrease our food intake and still have the energy to go to the gym? The answer is easier than you think. By eating the right kinds of foods at the right time of day, you can increase your energy, boost your metabolism and still lose weight" without feeling hungry!
The first step to eating for all-day energy is one you may have heard before; eat breakfast. The best way to ensure you won't cheat on your daily morning power-boost is to make your breakfast the night before. Even if you don't feel hungry when you wake up, eating even a small breakfast will help you boost your metabolism all day long. If you hate eating breakfast, start small with 1/2 cup Greek yogurt and a serving of your favorite fruit.
As you become more acclimated to eating something in the morning, you can make some of the following tasty breakfasts the night before and pop them in the microwave when you're ready to eat your AM treat.
Spray a small bowl or ramekin with cooking spray. Crack an egg in the bowl and add your favorite seasonings and whisk with a small fork. Put the egg mixture in the microwave for one minute. Then, you can make almost any breakfast creation you'd like! Add the eggs to a whole wheat tortilla and add veggies, fat free cheese and hummus. Or top a whole wheat English muffin with a piece of ham to make your very own breakfast sandwich. All of these can be refrigerated and reheated.
The next step is to eat a small snack between breakfast and lunch. Try a piece of fruit with peanut butter, some almonds or a half a cup of yogurt. It may be difficult to get into the habit of eating a morning snack if you don't already do this. You may not feel hungry and sometimes we feel that if we eat when we are not hungry we are ruining our diet. Just a handful of nuts will stoke the fire so it doesn't blaze out of control by lunch.
Lunch should be your favorite meal. It should be your largest meal of the day and account for the majority of your calories. Whole wheat pasta with steamed veggies and a can of sugar-free tomato sauce, a turkey sandwich on wheat bread with mustard and veggies, or a bowl of soup and a salad with tuna fish are all great ideas.
When mid-afternoon approaches, you should try to eat another snack. Bananas are a great snack because they are loaded with potassium which reduces belly bloat and raises your blood sugar just enough to get you past the 3 p.m. slump. This will also increase your metabolism and keep you feeling satiated until dinner.
Many people also enjoy working out at the gym or going for a short walk before dinner. This will give you the energy you need until your final meal of the day.
Dinner should be relatively small as your body will still be processing the protein and fiber-packed foods you've been enjoying all day. Try eating a broth-based soup and a steamed veggie salad. Steaming or sauteing squash, cauliflower and zucchini in some light olive oil can be such a treat when added to a salad.
Add a can of corn, some beans and a light salad dressing and you'll never feel like you are on a diet.