Between meetings, appointments, work deadlines, errands, family obligations, and trips to the gym, our lives can be so busy that we fill our bellies with the quickest, easiest bites we can get our hands on. Whether your goal is to drop unwanted pounds or eat healthier, it’s in your best interest to pause before you take your first bite and ask yourself these four important questions.
Am I hungry? Seems like a silly question, because you’re eating, so you must be hungry, right? Many times we reach for food out of boredom, convenience (the bag of chips was open), depression (chocolate to drown your breakup sorrows), happiness (to celebrate a promotion), or desire (who could pass up the amazing brownies your co-worker brought in?). But if we recently ate, then we’re not even hungry. Make sure you’re due for a snack or meal before sitting down to eat one.
Is this food filling holes in my diet? We eat to live and that means the food we gobble down should offer our bodies the vitamins and nutrients it needs to function properly. Aside from being healthy, our daily diet should also be balanced. If you ate a high-protein breakfast of eggs and Greek yogurt topped with nuts, then for a morning snack, you probably want to eat something that offers your body something besides protein, such as fiber, potassium, or vitamin A. Think of each snack and meal as a piece of your daily diet puzzle; an opportunity to take in what your body is lacking.
Is it the correct portion size? It’s snack time, and you’re sitting down to a banana, toast with peanut butter, a cheese stick, and crackers. Although healthy, that’s way more calories than a typical snack should be. Depending on your weight, and your weight-loss goals, keep your snacks to around 150 calories, breakfast between 300 and 500 calories, lunch between 400 and 600 calories, and dinner around 400 and 600 cals.
Are there alternatives to make this healthier? You could smear butter on a plain bagel, or you could spread almond butter on a piece of whole-grain bread. We can’t always choose the healthier alternative (and sometimes we don’t want to when it comes to foods we really crave), but the majority of your meals and snacks should be as healthy as possible. Look for easy ways to cut down on calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugars.
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