What an easy trick. You are about an hour away from lunch or dinner and your tummy beings to growl. But in an effort to not add extra calories to your daily calories, you just sit and watch the clock tick by until it is time for lunch.
If you packed your lunch, it is likely that you will have no trouble overeating. You can only eat what is available to you. But what if you are going out for lunch with your co-workers. While you may have all intentions to not eat from the bread basket, not order an appetizer or ordering only a salad, your tummy and brain takes over, excuses are made..."I'll burn it off later" "I didn't eat that mid morning snack so I have extra calories"....and you indulge in a high calorie, high fat meal. What about dinner. You are coming home from the gym/training and you are starving. You feel as if you could eat anything and everything and by the time your "healthy" dinner is ready you are ready to indulge in "unhealthy" dinner #2. Oh-there's the excuse again "I just worked out so....".
Not overeating and overindulging is partly contributed to self-control. However, sometimes our body (brain and tummy) misleads us to make us feel that we are hungrier than we really are.
For all of today, I ask you to have a pre-meal snack before all meals. This is in addition to your balanced and healthy(lean and low fat protein and healthy fats with complex carbs) mid morning and mid afternoon snack of around 150-250 calories (you can always split up your snack calories throughout the morning and afternoon if you are a healthy grazer). Keep your pre-meal snack around 50-100 calories and mostly fiber, healthy fat or protein.
Athletes...you can really benefit from this tip. I can't tell you how many times I see athletes finishing a long or hard workout and waiting 45,60, even 90 minutes before eating a meal. Regardless if your body can't handle solid food after an intense workout, there are many options for you to quickly repair after a workout. I see it all the time that people will work out (perhaps because they know a big meal is awaiting) and rather than having a small post-workout, pre-meal snack to prevent overeating at the upcoming meal and to quickly recover, the athlete/fitness enthusiast will wait and wait and wait...and keep waiting to eat until that meal is finally ready/served. Of course, the excuse is there that "you just worked out long or hard" and I don't blame you for wanting to indulge in unhealthy food or more food than normal. But, unfortunately, our body can only process so much food in one sitting. Our bodies on require a certain amount of food for immediate fuel and potential fuel and when food is consumed in excess, that extra food is stored as fat. Not to mention how miserable you feel after you stuffed yourself just an hour or two after completing a quality, performance-benefiting, calorie-burning workout.
Whether you are traveling, finishing a workout, awaiting lunch or dinner (or breakfast after a workout), eating out with friends, going to a party or finishing a race.....a pre-meal snack will absolutely work in your favor. You'll find yourself eating slower, wanting to prepare meals rather than defrosting or ordering them, being more wise with meal choices, recovering better from workouts and most importantly, eating less at that meal.
Here are my suggestions that work really well for me and many of my athletes, Consume snack around 15-45 min. before your meal is served or ready:
*8-16 of water are recommended before meals, with meals and after meals, for a total of around 24-48 ounces of water (8 ounces in 1 cup) around each meal.
*feel free to mix and match. Ex. 1/2 ounce cheese + 2 egg whites
(I gave serving sizes in order to give specific calories)
1 small apple (sliced or whole) - 53 calories
1 small pear (sliced or whole) - 81 calories
1 medium orange - 62 calories
8 almonds - 55 calories
5 walnuts - 70 calories
1/2 tbsp. natural PB - 45 calories
8 ounces (1 cup) skim or soy milk - 90 calories
1 ounce part-skim cheese - 72 calories
1 low fat part-skim string cheese - 80 calories
4 ounces low fat 1% cottage cheese - 81 calories
6 ounces yogurt (low fat or 0% greek) - 60-100 calories
15 baby carrots - 53 calories
10 medium strawberries - 38 calories
1/2 Fiber One granola bar - 70 calories
1 hard-boiled egg - 78 calories
3 egg whites - 51 calories
Do you have any other pre-meal snacks that work for you? How about your favorite healthy snack?