The question is not how many calories you should have per day, it’s how should you eat your allocated calories throughout the day. Think of it like this: Say you get 2,000 calories for the day and you have to swim for for 10 hours straight besides eating times. This is very unrealistic but imagine if you ate 1,000 calories in your first sitting and then another 1,000 calories at the second. I bet you felt sick while swimming. Point being: You want to feed you metabolism evenly throughout the day and you should not wait hours after waking up for your first meal. So here are my 5 food tips on making the most of what you eat.
1. Start your day right with a balanced meal. Don’t cut the calories short at breakfast because you think it’s the easiest meal to do it at. Eat at least 2-3 food groups. For example, make a whole-grain English muffin with natural peanut butter and banana sliced on top. Finish the meal with a tall glass of water.
2. Eat a meal with the next meal or snack in mind. With this thinking, you should not gorge yourself with the present meal and should finish the last bite by being satisfied; not full. Plan what your next snack is (should be within 3 hours or so) and make it a food choice you’ll enjoy.
3. Use online tools or notebooks to track what you are eating. Better yet, text yourself what you eat at each meal and look at it the next time you go to eat. Take this practice a step further and analyze your food log at the end of the week. Look for holes where you did not eat for hours, look at the foods you consistently eat and look at where improvements can be made. For example, did you go 6 hours between meals? Can you fit in some lean protein and fruit between those times? Use tools such as mypyramid.gov to log what you eat.
4. Have planned indulgences. Yes, you read that correctly. You should have an indulgence every now and then. Yet, indulgences should be completely understood that they are not consumed daily and don’t cap at 500 plus calories. Food is a great pleasure and should be thoroughly enjoyed in moderation.
5. Chug-a-lug some water and have a good bottle to do so. I recently purchased a water bottle that has a straw in it and I quickly learned that I significantly guzzle down more water while sitting at my desk and at home with the convenience of a straw. Figure out what works best for you to drink plenty of water. Being fully hydrated is great for your body and can help prevent the mistake of hunger when you are really thirsty.
Have a healthy and fit day!