Americans tend to eat a light breakfast or skip it altogether. Then we grab lunch on the run and end up eating the bulk of our calories in the evening — not generally a healthy pattern.
Louis Aronne, physician and professor of metabolic research at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center specializing in weight management, says: “People may have a rapid rise in blood glucose after eating, which in turn causes a rise in their insulin levels. This may be followed by a greater than normal drop in blood glucose. If glucose levels get down to normal or below normal too rapidly, glucagon will be produced and can cause increased hunger.”
If you have this problem, the key is what and how much you eat for breakfast. You need to eat sufficient amounts of the right combination of foods. “Foods with protein and fiber are the most satiating,” says Anne Wolf, registered dietitian.
A few suggestions:
?Combine one egg with egg whites and sauteed vegetables (onions, mushrooms, peppers, spinach). Or combine one egg with a part-skim cheese or cottage cheese and vegetables.
?Mix a high-fiber cereal like All Bran or Fiber One with other low-sugar cereals and fat-free milk or mix into plain regular or Greek yogurt. (Greek yogurt has a bit more protein.)
?Make a smoothie with fat-free milk or plain yogurt, fruit or vegetables and a small amount of protein powder.
?Have a bowl of oatmeal with the addition of a high-fiber cereal.
?Top a bowl of cottage cheese with a high-fiber cereal and berries.
?Spread peanut butter (or any nut butter) on whole grain toast with a glass of fat-free or low-fat milk.
Try a few of these combinations and determine which ones keep you sated during the morning. Then be sure to have the foods in your house and set the alarm clock to allow time to eat them before you fly out the door.
To curb your hunger between meals, you may find having small snacks in the midmorning and midafternoon, or on the way home from work, helps immensely. Wolf suggests a guidepost for snacks of 200 calories each, with food pairings that provide rapidly available energy from healthy carbohydrates, along with enough protein and fat for satiety. Try fruit and cheese, or a handful of nuts, or high-fiber whole grain crackers and cheese or nut butter. Make your snacks count nutritionally: Use them as opportunities to eat more of the foods you’re missing, whether they be vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy foods, nuts or seeds.