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By: D. Milton Stokes, R.D
Some things are sadly predictable. Extra winter poundage, for instance. Or holiday binges. Or the 3 o'clock slump, which sags before you like a hammock every afternoon. Here's a happier prediction: Eat more often and you'll avoid all of those problems. Spreading six smaller meals across your day operates on the simple principle of satisfaction. Frequent meals tame the slavering beast of hunger. The secret? Each mini meal should blend protein and fiber-rich complex carbohydrates. "Protein and fiber give you that feeling of satiety and keep you from feeling hungry," says Tara Geise, R.D., a nutritionist in private practice in Orlando and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association (ADA). Controlling hunger shrinks your gut. In a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, one group of overweight men was given five small meals, then was free to choose a sixth meal. A second group ate a single meal containing the same number of calories as the total of the other group's first five meals, then later had a free-choice second meal. The six-meal men ate 27 percent less food at their last meal than the two-meal men did at their second. Consistent eating will also keep your protein levels high, helping you build muscle. "Your body can metabolize only so much protein at one time," says Katherine Tallmadge, R.D., author of Diet Simple. "Protein is metabolized better when it's divided evenly." The challenge is keeping the mini meals mini. "It's critical that at the end of the day, the calorie content of your mini meals does not exceed what you would eat in three larger meals," says Jeannie Moloo, Ph.D., R.D., an ADA spokeswoman in Roseville, California. If you already know your calorie count, start eating. With a suggested calorie count in hand, you can mix and match from the list of meals shown here. Yes, you can take two items from one meal list—if they're small. Looking to lose? Choose lower-calorie options. Regular Joe? Be as flexible as you please. Building muscle? Double up on a couple of the items —have an extra slice of pizza or two containers of yogurt.
Breakfast: 6-8:30 a.m.
You're sleepy, so we'll keep it simple: Mix protein and quality carbs. "When protein is included in a meal, not only does it help prevent overeating at other times of day, but it also sustains energy levels and improves concentration," says Bonnie Taub-Dix, M.A., R.D., C.D.N., an ADA spokeswoman. This means choosing a milk-infused latte instead of plain coffee, or a slather of peanut butter along with the jelly on an English muffin. Do not leave home without breakfast—this is the foundation for the rest of your day. 1. 110 calories: Latte with reduced-fat milk
2.m. sliced. and/or any fresh or dried fruit 7. or ½ cup prepared guacamole with tomato and onion in a wholegrain pita 4. blueberries. 1. thin apple slices. Planning matters. 400 calories: Small ham-. in a whole-wheat tortilla 9. turkey-. 175 calories: Canned tuna with balsamic vinegar on whole-grain crackers or bread 2. 290 calories: Kellogg's Nutri-Grain bar with a handful of pistachios or almonds 8. such as Stonyfield Farm 5. trail mix. cucumber. fruit. 250 calories: Oatmeal made with milk instead of water. If there's nothing but junk in your workplace vending machines. It'll help you feel satisfied— and keep you that way. 275 calories: 2 or 3 small handfuls of trail mix 7. Whatever you do. 300 calories: Two-egg omelet with spinach. But if you've already eaten 700 calories (an omelet and a muffin. melted 5. 400 calories: Seafood salad in a whole-grain pita with diced tomato. mushrooms. 140 calories: Skippy brand Squeeze Stick of peanut butter 3. eat slowly. 300 calories: Scrambled-egg burrito with turkey sausage and salsa 10. buy the foods you need —string cheese. and peanut butter on toasted whole-grain bread 7. 260 calories: Cold whole-grain cereal. melted 10. 300 calories: 3 corn-tortilla flautas stuffed with refried beans and dipped in salsa 3. walnuts. 100 calories: Hard-boiled egg with a handful of grape tomatoes 3. 400 calories: Fresh mozzarella and tomato slices on a bed of greens. 1. reduced-fat Cheddar cheese. with reduced-fat milk 8. say). 450 calories: Six pierogi with salsa or reduced-fat sour cream . no matter how un-American that seems. and some string cheese so far. and onion 6. 375 calories: Baked potato with chopped broccoli and a slice of American cheese. whatever—and keep a stash at your desk. keep lunch light. 300 calories: Peanut butter and jelly on a whole-grain English muffin 9. 80 calories: Stick of string cheese 2. 250 calories: Any-way-you-like-it egg on a whole-grain English muffin with melted cheese 6. 250 calories: Clif bar 6. 200 calories: 1 cup blackberries. 350 calories: Half an avocado. add brown sugar. 400 calories: ½ cup hummus with roasted vegetables 8. 400 calories: Medium-size fruit muffin (best if made with whole-wheat flour) Lunch: 12-1:30 Be careful here! If you've had only a latte. 250 calories: Ready-made reduced-fat smoothie. 300 calories: Slice of whole-grain bread topped with peanut butter and banana 9. such as Kashi or raisin bran. granola bars. 400 calories: 3 or 4 slices of bacon. 180 calories: Nature Valley granola bar 4. or roast-beef-and-Swiss wrap with vegetables and mustard. and feta cheese Morning Snack: 9:30-10:30 a. with balsamic vinaigrette and extra-virgin olive oil 10. 200 calories: 1 cup reduced-sodium cottage cheese with fresh peaches and cinnamon 4. go ahead and have a big lunch. or strawberries with 6 ounces light yogurt and 1 tablespoon low-fat granola 5. 300 calories: Small bagel with 2 slices of Muenster cheese.
diced onion. onion. 325 calories: Buffalo burger topped with coleslaw. 200 calories: 2 cups mixed vegetables (fresh or frozen) with ½ cup marinara sauce and some grated Parmesan cheese 2. or tomato soup with a grilled-cheese sandwich on whole-grain bread 10. 200 calories: ½ cup baba ghanoush (roasted-eggplant dip) with vegetables 4. Famished? Feeling as if this was the longest day of your life? Maybe your calorie count is too low.m. and jalapenos. 250 calories: 1 cup reduced-fat yogurt 6. so they'll help you feel fuller longer. this isn't dinner as you used to know it. and tomato 5. Or try choosing higher-fiber foods. reining in meal sizes will seem strange. onion. 350 calories: 1 cup each fat-free milk and frozen yogurt blended with a spoonful of peanut butter Dinner: 5:30-7:30 p. manage blood sugar. and 1 ½ tablespoons crumbled Gorgonzola cheese Evening Snack: 8:30-10 p. and salsa (plus some corn or black beans. But don't panic. 400 calories: Slice of pizza topped with cheese and ground beef or ham 7. minestrone." says Tallmadge. shredded reduced-fat cheese. Adjust it by adding more sensible foods to your plan. 260 calories: Apple. shredded chicken or lean ground beef. Okay. 340 calories: 2 ounces roasted nuts 10. "You could eat four small chocolates for 100 calories. And remember—you'll be eating again in 2 hours. "or you could eat a cup of yogurt. 350 calories: Quesadilla made with a small corn or whole-wheat tortilla. red and orange bell pepper. beans. "This is crucial. sautéed with onion.m.Afternoon Snack: 2:30-3:30 Steer clear of the candy bowl on your P. cheese. 400 calories: Turkey London broil cut into strips. they're digested slowly. 550 calories: 1 cup pasta tossed with browned ground turkey breast. 175 calories: 5 Laughing Cow cheese wedges 3. 300 calories: 6-piece sushi meal with a cup of miso soup 4. 250 calories: Small handful of chopped pecans over a cup of fruit salad 7. 210 calories: Half a container of Cracker Jack 5. . pear." The chocolate gives you hardly any protein. whether you're looking to control weight. But portion control can make or break the plan. 500 calories: Lentil. or banana smeared with peanut butter 8. or maintain energy levels. a drizzle of olive oil. if you want) 9." says Geise. refried beans. 1. 300 calories: Cup of chickpeas with a dash of cumin and fresh mint 9. and dipped in salsa 6. the yogurt delivers 8 grams.A. 450 calories: Small plateful of nachos—baked tortilla chips. 275 calories: 3 or 4 large handfuls of greens sautéed in olive oil with a handful of walnuts and ½ cup raisins 3.'s desk. 1. At first. and teriyaki sauce 8. black olives. 160 calories: Reduced-fat Cheddar melted on apple halves 2.
200 calories: 2 handfuls olives 10. vanilla flavoring. and a dash of nutmeg or cinnamon 7. tossed in olive oil and baked 6. such as strawberry or cherry 8. 175 calories: Sliced sweet potato (with skin). 150 calories: 1 cup cocoa made with skim milk 5.1. 175 calories: 1 cup skim ricotta cheese sweetened with Splenda. 150 calories: 6 or 7 strawberries dipped in yogurt and drizzled with chocolate sauce 4. 275 calories: 2-ounce Snickers bar . 200 calories: Root-beer float with 2 scoops frozen vanilla yogurt 9. and a shot of flavoring syrup. a handful of berries. 150 calories: 5 cups Jolly Time light microwave popcorn sprinkled with hot sauce and/or 1 tablespoon Romano cheese 2. 150 calories: 1 cup rice pudding 3. 175 calories: Seltzer with 2 scoops frozen yogurt.
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