Food does more than just pacify our cravings; we need it to fuel us through our day and keep our weight in check so we can live long, healthy lives.
But, the very choices you may be making from the time you get up to giving into evening cravings could derail your overall health and expand your waistline.
Here are five ways to counteract everything from boredom to what to eat before and after your gym sessions.
Most people fulfill their morning pick-me-up with a good ol’ cup of Joe. And, coffee does have its place and health benefits. But, first thing in the morning isn’t one of them. Try a cup of hot chocolate made with skim milk and you’ve just met 10 percent of your daily calcium needs for about 100 calories. Add half a cup of orange juice and you just started meeting your folate needs as well. Or, consider a fruit smoothie for a protein boost to keep you fuller, longer. Save that cup of coffee for mid-morning, and don’t load up on creamer!
Off to your lunch time sweat fest at the gym? Good for you! To keep your energy up and your stomach from growling midway through, have some fat, protein, and carbs before you leave. A whole grain slice of bread with some almond or peanut butter should do the trick, or some almonds with fat free yogurt or fruit. This will give you the stamina to push through your workout with energy to spare.
You just spent an hour working off calories, and you don’t want to gain them all back. But, now is the time to repair the muscles you just used and keep your metabolism humming. What you need now is a mixture of carbs and protein like a fruit smoothie, chocolate milk, or some yogurt. Have this within one hour of working out. Also, your pre-gym and post gym snacks should come to less than 400 calories total to make up your daily lunch.
Ever glance at the clock around 3PM and think you need a snack? You may just be bored and need a mental break from work. Call a coworker to chat, take a short walk, or meditate for a few minutes. If you still feel hungry afterward have some sort of healthy snack on hand (like an apple or some baby carrots) so you don’t gravitate toward the evil vending machine Doritos.
Evening munchies tend to hit during TV breaks so have a battle plan on hand. Flip through a magazine, do your nails, or play with your pet. Chances are, you aren’t really hungry but bored. After 20 minutes if you’re still feeling the need to munch, grab those baby carrots from the afternoon or pop some air popped popcorn. Bonus points for using commercials to do exercises like sit ups or push ups!