With warmer weather in the forecast, many of us start thinking ways to look better in our summer clothes or getting in shape for summer sports. Making the right choices for meals will definitely get your summer off on the right foot.
Here are a few tips to help you create a healthy, well-balanced meal plan.
Eat breakfast – While many skip the first meal of the day a healthy serving of a lean, high protein food can help kick-start your body.
Registered dietitians at ACMC explain that some protein eaten with breakfast can help curb mid-morning hunger, so you may be less likely to crave high sugar treats before lunch. You might choose egg whites, peanut butter, low fat yogurt, low fat Greek yogurt, low fat cottage cheese, or hummus, for example. Pair this up with some whole grains, fruit, and dairy foods.
Go for the crunchy vegetables appetizers. – We all know veggies are good for us, and the USDA recommends two to three cups of vegetables a day, depending upon your age and sex. The crunchy vegetables are usually raw or almost raw, and are packed with loads of natural nutrients. Not only are you getting the best nutrients, but all the chewing will force you to slow down as you eat. By slowing down, your stomach will feel full faster, and you won't eat as much later in the meal. Plus, the natural water content will also give you that full feeling faster.
Drink plenty of water – Sodas, teas, coffee and other caffeinated drinks can also be loaded up with sugar. Water will quench your thirst and give you a feeling of being full. Drink a glass of water 20 minutes before the meal and your stomach should start filling full partway through the meal.
Take smaller servings – American are conditioned to eat everything on their plate. And while a five-pound plate may look impressive at the table. It is certainly not healthy to eat huge servings of everything. Most dietitians recommend taking portions no bigger than your fist or the center of the palm of your hand.
Wait to eat dessert – Many people stuff themselves with a meal, and then try to top it off with a slice of cake or pie. While it may be tasty, it will probably be even tastier later in the day. Cramming more food on a full stomach only makes the stuffed feeling even worse. By waiting a couple of hours, some of the food in your stomach will be digested, and your body may be craving a little more sugary-charged energy. Again, smaller portions are healthier, especially when it comes to items sweetened with sugar or sugar-substitutes.
Walk it off – A little exercise some time following the meal will certainly aid in the digestive process. Walking, playing sports, or even just a few games on the motion-sensitive gaming systems will keep your metabolism elevated, which will not only aid in digestion, but could help burn some of those gained calories away.
For those who need some extra help to create a healthy meal plan, ACMC's Dietitians can create the plan. Nutritional counseling requires a physician referral with a diagnosis noted. To schedule an appointment, call 440-997-2262, ext. 2093.