Many of us follow a daily rhythm that includes three square meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is nothing inherently wrong with this rhythm, but because these meals are spaced out through the day, many people tend to eat a lot at each meal time. This leads to those after-lunch lulls or after-dinner “food comas” that we are all familiar with. Dropping portion sizes and eating four slightly smaller meals throughout the day, instead of three, is a good way to limit overeating and balance blood sugar and energy. It takes 3 hours (or so) for your stomach to empty from the last meal.
Action you can start today: Eating every few hours maximizes how the body works, and better meets the body’s needs.
What to eat
WHAT you eat is as important as WHEN you eat. There are some foods that help boost & balance energy, promote strong digestion, and naturally support a healthy weight, and these foods should be the core of your diet.
Fruits and vegetables
In addition to being delicious, fresh fruits and veggies are critical components of good nutrition. All kinds of berries, apples & pears and citrus fruits are filled with natural fiber which impacts sustained energy. Colorful vegetables like carrots, peppers, spinach & kale packed with fiber, and vitamin goodness. Both fruits and veggies are easy to add to the plate at every meal. And the grocery stores are making it easier and easier—they will even wash and chop veggies.
Action you can start today: It’s always good to shoot for ½ of your plate to be colorful fruits & veggies.
Nuts & Seeds
Incorporating a healthy dose of nuts and seeds (and nut/seed butters) into your diet will help boost your energy through the day and keep your energy balanced. Nuts and seeds are FILLED with good healthy fats & fiber. They are quick and easy snacks, and are great for on-the-go. Make sure to mix it up to keep it interesting! Good options: almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans, sunflower seeds, pistachios, pumpkin, chia, & hemp. Peanut butter is OK-but make sure to avoid brands that are processed and filled with added sugars. It really helps to strategically place a snack filled with fruit and nuts in the middle of the afternoon. My favorite PM snack is apple slices with a dab of almond butter. Healthy fats give us the feeling of satisfaction.
Action you can start today: Don’t be afraid to eat healthy fat with each meal/snack. You’ll feel more satisfied, balanced and calm.
Chicken, grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, good quality eggs and plant based beans and lentils are GREAT proteins–PACKED with nutrients and natural fiber—keeping you fuller longer. Eating protein throughout the day (with every snack and meal) helps to keep us full and happy. It is easy enough to make ½ dozen hard-boiled eggs on Sunday to have at the ready as part of a snack or a meal.
Action you can start today: With proteins-the make once and eat for several meals really helps keep good options at the ready.
Let’s face it: most of us have a sweet tooth. Dark chocolate is a good way to get your sweet fix without going overboard, and dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and well-researched to actually be health promoting. A little everyday actually helps keep us healthy, calm and doesn’t raise blood sugar that much. It’s a great sweet choice.
DON’T Forget Water
The recommended amount of water for an average individual is ½ your body’s weight in ounces. For a 150 pound person—that’s 75 ounces of water (about 3-4 water bottles). Staying hydrated is key to having great energy, so make sure to drink throughout the day and keep filling those water bottles.
If your diet doesn’t look anything like this—or you want it to look better and more personalized, please connect with Healthy Nest Nutrition. These are simple guidelines, and finding your ‘best’ diet is more personalized than this. BUT, it’s a good start. Let us know if you’d like more info. We’re always happy to talk diet ☺.