Instead of eating three big meals a day it is wiser and healthier for the body to eat five to six balanced meals throughout a day. What this means is eating breakfast, lunch and supper and then taking time out for two to three snack breaks throughout the course of the day. Each one of your meals and snacks should be made up of a vegetable or fruit, a source of protein, and finally a grain and/or starch.
With every meal and every snack, strive for balance. What that means is that you should divide your plate into three separate sections. Each section represents a main food group and is also representative of a portion size. This is how the sections should break down- one half of your plate should be vegetables and/or fruits (yes the majority of your plate!), one quarter should be sources of protein while the final section, also one quarter, should be made up of starches and grains for fiber.
In order to lose weight or maintain your current weight it is essential that you get into the practice of counting your calories. You can do this by monitoring the amount of food you take in. Portion control is an important element of keeping the pounds off.
Strategies that can help you in achieving this end include reading labels on food packaging very carefully, measuring the servings you will be eating, and eating off a small to medium size plate as opposed to a large one. This last point is a trick of the mind that works. Serve up a meal for yourself on a small plate (perhaps even a salad plate). This will allow you to eat only as much as the plate will hold. Just make sure that you don’t opt for seconds as that will defeat the purpose of using a smaller plate.
In the same way, when you eat out at a restaurant ask for a small portion of the meal you ordered. If you are brought more food then you can eat then ask for the remainder of it to be wrapped up so you can take it home with you.
Start every day with breakfast, but not just any breakfast- eat a healthy one. Studies have shown that those who eat breakfast tend to weigh less than those who skip it. Eating breakfast gives you energy, it fuels your metabolism and it helps you to cope with stress throughout the day. It gives your body the essential nutrients it needs and it fuels the brain in much the same way that gasoline fuels your car! When you are good to your metabolism level, it will be good to you. Individuals who go without breakfast tend to snack more during the day and also eat more at night when metabolism is at its lowest point. This can add up to extra pounds.
Some breakfast suggestions include one to two slices of whole grain bread with peanut butter and a banana, plain yogurt with berries and flax seed or muesli, high fiber cereal with soy milk or skim milk and an apple. On weekends when you have more time try a two egg vegetable omelet with a whole wheat English muffin.