This might seem like a complicated topic! It is, and it depends on your goals… But let me try to break down a few key points:
SHOULD I EAT BREAKFAST OR FAST? Well, my first question is are you hungry in the morning? If you’re not, don’t eat. Seriously. But do not skip breakfast at 7 am only to binge on a bagel and a caramel latte at 10am… That doesn’t really solve the issue at all. If you wake up in the morning hungry, then eat. Make sure at each meal, specifically breakfast to get at least a third of your calories from protein…. This could be a 4 oz chicken sausage you made and maybe some collagen in your coffee, a half sweet potato with coconut or almond butter and cinnamon…. That is it.
HOW MANY MEALS A DAY SHOULD I EAT? Well I’m generally a fan of less is more because of the sheer prep involved in healthy cooking. In the fitness arena often more meals are suggested to maintain a “slow drip” of protein thru the day to maintain lean muscle mass. However, eating 6 times a day can also wreak digestive havoc. So what are your primary goals? Generally I find for most of my moderately active clients 2 meals isn’t enough to get their macro nutrients in, but 5-6 means they are just snacking all day and are not able to give their gut time to rest and digest; they are hungry and as a result blood sugar drops and make poor choices. I generally suggest 4 equally spaced equally sized meals (assuming you aren’t running a quick half marathon or lifting weights for 3 hours after work ha). Let’s take an average 150 lb female that’s moderately active… that might mean about 500 calories for each of those 4 meals… One could be the meal above I described, the second a smoothie with a high-quality protein powder and some fruit, greens and coconut milk, maybe some flax seed etc. The third could be a large salad with chicken, veggies, a balsamic dressing and some plantain chips.. The 4th meal could be a 5 oz steak, quinoa and some steamed carrots. When I work with clients individually, I customize eating time frames that fit into their lifestyle and health goals. The goal is to be satiated at each meal or about 80 % full, not hungry, or overfull. Eating too frequently can reduce satiety measures and awareness. Eat some substantial protein dense whole food meals, period, and you will do great.
SO, WHAT ABOUT SNACKS? Americans obtain over 30% of their calories from snacks. Unfortunately most people don’t grab nutritiously dense snacks (think 100 calorie packs of cheese its and cookies) Honestly, I’m not a fan of snacking in the traditional sense-grabbing a protein bar (most are garbage) or chips or whatever. If you are going to snack, grab protein…. (suggestions below). Or create a macro nutrient balanced “snack meal” (I CAN HELP) for your late afternoon meal, for example. What about a couple of those turkey chomps sticks and/or my Protein Jello, an apple, and a small handful of walnuts? Eating a carb rich snack without the protein causes insulin spikes which stimulates muscle synthesis for which the body needs amino acids, and without dietary protein it will draw upon your existing muscle.. YOU DON’T WANT THAT. This is sometimes what we say causes people to feel “skinny fat”; as in technically THEY ARE not overweight, but they have a poor muscle to fat ratio. If you fast, don’t force it. Do what comes naturally. I personally fast about 15:9 because that’s what feels best for my body and allows me to maintain muscle while being “nice” to my digestive system. I feed my body with grass fed pasture raised protein and I’m rarely hungry at all anymore by my next meal (I eat at 11a, 2p, 5p, and 8p for reference). It depends again on your physiology, goals, and any chronic issues you have. Oh, and sleep and stress? Those are related to satiety! Prioritize sleep and learn how to manage stress so you aren’t reaching for ice cream and chips because you “deserve it”. YOU DESERVE MORE THAN THAT.
Protein dense snacks:
Cold cooked shrimp and dip
Protein shake (I like PurePaleo Protein by Designs for Health) – you can get it HERE
I have really come to understand the importance of eating healthy and that by learning and putting forth some effort I will make lifelong changes.
Still thinking you’d love a copilot in your health journey? For the month of November I’m offering HALF off my Grocery Shop or Cook With Me service with a purchase of a 12 week package .. Not sure if this is what you want? Schedule a discovery call HERE.
One more thing! I love cranberries! Check out the smoothie below.
Keep moving forward 😊 Sarah
Smoothie of the Month
½ cup frozen raspberries
½ cup frozen cranberries
1 cup chopped spinach, packed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup orange juice
Blend all ingredients with ice and serve