"Is dinner the biggest meal of your day? Time to switch that. Lunch should be the largest meal - packed with protein, good fats, and vegetables - because midday is when digestion peaks. Breakfast should be significant too. In the morning your body needs energy and your metabolism is cranking - think good fats delivered via avocado, omelet, or last night's leftovers. Dinner should be small - proteins and greens; eggs and salad actually make a perfect evening meal. And no matter what the time of day, give some thought to your portion size. Reasonable servings of power-packed foods are energizing, but a huge pile of food (even healthful food) can be like an assault on the body, overloading your system and leaving your lethargic."
To be successful with eating breakfast like a king (queen) and lunch like a prince (princess) requires preparation. The advice of eating dinner like a pauper can be tricky for those who have a lot of meetings lined up in the evening. Here are some recommendations I have for those who are required to eat out a lot based on their business or busy lifestyle:
- Have a 12 ounces glass of water 30 minutes before you arrive at the restaurant. It will fill you up so you won't want to eat as much.
- Replace alcohol with a club soda/tonic water/sparkling water and add a lime or lemon. No one but you has to know you aren't drinking alcohol - plus I think it's more socially acceptable to pass on the booze as people are getting more health conscious.
- If you must have a drink (for your own personal reasons) choose vodka or gin; have it on the rocks or with water or tonic. Vodka and Gin have less sugar because they are a distilled product. Keep your intake to one glass by slowly sipping throughout the night.
- Make sure undressed salads are the largest portion of your plate. Add an oil and vinegar dressing on your own to keep it healthy. Dressings can be the undoing of an otherwise healthy salad!
- Don't mention that you are trying to eat healthier. A lot of the best laid plans are undone by others who knowingly or not, sabotage your efforts.
- Keep protein and veggie portions small. Although a better option than other foods, even veggies you eat out at a restaurant may be loaded with preservatives and hidden chemicals that are not healthy!
- Learn to become a master at loading your plate with just the right balance of foods to 'swish'. Swishing is a method I define as taking ones' fork and mixing up foods on your plate to look like you have eaten more than you have. This is particularly important when you have no control over what you are served.
- Focus on the conversation rather than what everyone is eating.
- Skip dessert! Sugar is addictive so if your mind is not in the game, it will create a desire for more sugar - even just one bite.
- Here's a thought... maybe you just want to stop giving credence to what other people think of regarding what you eat and drink.
Experts recommend eating until you are 80% full. Many of us aren't sure what that means. One suggestion would be to try putting your normal portion of food on a plate and cut it in half. Do not grab for the other portion until you have waited a full 20 minutes. Do you feel full (contented)? Or, do you still not know (stop eating anyway and put the other portion away for tomorrow)? Are you still truly starving? When you walk away from a meal feeling slightly hungry, don't make the mistake of eating double at your next meal. You have probably been overeating for a long time and eating till 80% full may take some practice. Hunger is good - body churning, calorie burning! Make a note to give yourself a positive message about how much healthier you feel, and how fit you are going to look.
So where do we begin to make these changes? How about with a Sunday prep for the week? Easy things on the list would be hard boiled eggs, egg muffins, turkey bacon, sliced peppers cucumbers and carrots with hummus, turkey burgers, chicken chili, brown rice and avocados. So many meals can be made from this combination of foods. Breakfast doesn't have to contain breakfast foods - you can combine your turkey burger with hummus and peppers for a great early morning meal. Brown rice, avocado and turkey bacon is another good one. The nice part is YOU get to choose.
I believe in balanced meals (good quality foods that equal out in protein, carbs and fats). A lot of people express that they feel they need a lot of protein to maintain muscle. That's just not true. Unless you are an Olympian or meat head (I mean that in the nicest way), you do not need to eat a lot to be well. What you eat is much more important. The results from a good daily food plan will have you looking lean and healthy while maintaining muscle!
For this Royalty (king, prince, pauper) diet plan, you may want to plan on getting up and eating a well portioned breakfast intermittingly over the first 2 hours of your day followed by a lunch packed with vegetables (cooked in a healthy fat) and a quality protein, and ending with a very small dinner (i.e., 1 cup of beans and greens cooked in coconut oil and 2/3 ounces of chicken). You can sneak in 2 snacks by halving a health bar, or some other well balanced meal in between breakfast and lunch or lunch and dinner. Sound impossible? It's not. Again it's a matter of having the desire to get lean, and getting to know your body better. Take the leap!