Grazing – A Smart Way to Lose Weight
By Tonya Peele
One day you read that cutting back on calories is the best way to lose weight. Another day you hear an expert advising you to eat more throughout the day to lose weight. What’s the deal?
Actually, both pieces of advice are true. Eating fewer calories than your body needs will create a calorie and eventually lead to weight loss. However, eating several small meals throughout the day is a good way to fend off unwanted pounds and achieve abundant energy. Simple, nourishing meals and snacks spread throughout the day provides your body with clean fuel to keep it running optimally all day long. Plus, eating small meals keeps your blood sugar levels even throughout the day. But the real key to weight loss and better health – regardless of how many meals you eat – is to consume more nutrient-dense foods, which are foods high in nutrients and low in calories. According to Dr. Fuhrman, author of Eat to Live, 90% of the daily diet should be comprised of nutrient rich plant foods.
A steady supply of nutrients in the form of natural, unprocessed fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein will keep you feeling full all day, increase your metabolism, and help you avoid cravings. The size of your snacks and meals depends upon your caloric needs. According to the Mayo Clinic, healthy snacks are low in fat, sugar, sodium, and roughly 100 calories. For example, one cup of fresh fruit or two tablespoons of peanuts is approximately 100 calories. Aim for healthy meals between 300 and 600 calories, including your beverage. Drinks can add a lot of empty calories to your daily mix, so if you want to spend your calories wisely and get the most bang for your buck, drink water, unsweetened teas, or low-fat milk – and save your calories for real food.
So, if you want to give grazing a try, how do you go about eating five to six small meals a day instead of the three larger ones that you’re accustomed to? First, don’t let the notion of eating so many times a day overwhelm you. Having access to a constant supply of nutritious food roughly every two to three hours will take a little bit of planning but not much more than you’re already doing. You may already eat three meals a day, so all you’re trying to do is reduce your calories coming from meals and incorporate two healthy snacks: one between breakfast and lunch and the other between lunch and dinner.
Here’s a sample of a healthy eating schedule to help you get started:
Breakfast – 7:30 am
Morning Snack – 10:00 am
Lunch – 12:30 pm
Afternoon Snack – 3:00 pm
Dinner – 6:30 pm
Take a few moments to create a schedule that works for you!
Tonya Peele is the author of Quick Wins for Healthy Eating. By turning real food into quick meals, she has lost 30 pounds, reclaimed her health and gained a new way to connect with food and the world. For quick recipes with real food, visit her blog, The Quick Dish, at www.tonyapeele.com.