Meg Khan-Karen is a guest blogger for Layman’s Terms Media. Periodically she will post thoughtful articles about leading a healthy lifestyle on a budget. Check out her Facebook page Daily Fit Dish by MegKKFit for nutritious recipes at a reasonable price. By: Meg Khan-Karen, Nutrition blogger
We’ve all been there — busy and tired: running around, flitting from here to there, running errands and wishing there were more hours in the day. Maybe you are the student who speed walks across campus to get from class to class. Maybe you are the mother of two toddlers who is constantly straightening up the house and feeding all of the hungry mouths but your own.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to finish our tasks each day, let alone consume our meals. It is not a secret that many Americans turn to fast food or quick meal options when they are on the go. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, from 2007 to 2012 adults consumed an average of 11.3% of calories from fast food. While the amount of adults consuming fast food has decreased from 12.8% in the survey from 2003 to 2006, it still represents a significant portion of the US population.2 It is clear the American people are continuing to turn to fast food options rather than preparing wholesome, nutritious meals to keep them full and satisfied throughout the day.
It seems to have been drilled into our brains that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” and this is for a good reason. One 2013 study from the University of Missouri’s Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology showed that eating a high protein breakfast versus skipping breakfast led to beneficial changes in “appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals that control food intake regulation.”3 This could lead to a jumpstart in metabolism and energy throughout the day, not to mention a longer feeling of satiety.
But what components should comprise all of your daily meals in order to ensure that you keep this energy up? Well, here are my three nutrition tips to keep you powering through your busy day:
- 1. Load up on Fiber
By now, we’ve probably all heard that fiber keeps us full. ” This is one of the most important components in maintaining satiety and keeping your body healthy. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association), “high fiber diets provide bulk, are more satiating, and have been linked to lower body weights.”1 A high fiber diet has not only the potential to decrease your waistline, but studies have also shown a marked decrease in the risk of cardiovascular disease, a decrease in blood cholesterol, as well as a decreased risk of colorectal cancer. By adding fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, you can be sure that you are lowering your risk of diseases while offsetting those pesky hunger pangs. Grab a banana or some carrots to snack on during your trek to class, sprinkle some wholesome beans onto your salad, or consider switching to a whole grain bread instead of white bread for that added dose of fiber.
2. Stay lean with protein
Lean proteins such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, and nuts provide amino acids as the building blocks for the body, as well as crucial vitamins and minerals to aid in growth and cell repair .These proteins also keep our metabolism moving as we are constantly rebuilding our muscles and tissues, like skin. Grabbing a nonfat plain Greek yogurt with nuts and fresh berries or a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread is a great way to ensure the addition of lean protein into your diet.
3. Don’t Neglect Your Healthy Fats
Fats in our diet can lead to soft skin, better absorption of Vitamins A,D,E and K, more energy and a greater feeling of fullness throughout the day. However, there are two groups of fat that often get lumped into one group of overall ‘bad fats’- saturated and unsaturated fats. While dietary cholesterol was once thought to increase blood cholesterol levels and lead to heart disease, studies have now found this is not so. Saturated fats as well as the now infamous “trans fat” are the true culprits behind increased blood cholesterol levels and blood lipids, an increased risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Limiting these fats in your diet will be beneficial for your health in more ways than one. Compared with saturated fats, unsaturated fats like Omega-3 have been shown to be beneficial for your heart as well as your cholesterol and general health. In terms of satiety, a 2009 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that unsaturated fats increased satiety while saturated fats did not.4 Thus, incorporating healthy fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats will not only keep you full but lead to heart health as well. Try snacking on a handful of almonds, replacing mayonnaise with avocado on your sandwich, or dressing your salad with olive oil and vinegar to keep you full throughout your day.
1.American Dietetic Association. (2008). Position of the American Dietetic Association: Health Implications of Dietary Fiber. Journal of the American Dietetic Association , 108, 1716-1731.
2. Fryar CD, E. R. (n.d.). NCHS data brief, no 114. (M. N. Hyattsville, Producer) Retrieved from Caloric Intake from Fast Foods Among Adults: United States, 2007-2010: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db114.htm
3. Leidy, H., Ortinau, L., Douglas, S., & Hoertel, H. (2013). Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, “breakfast-skipping,” late-adolescent girls. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , 97 (4), 677-688.
4. Maljaars, J., Romeyn, E. A., Haddeman, E., Peters, H. P., & Masclee, A. A. (2009). Effect of fat saturation on satiety, hormone release, and food intake. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition , 89 (4), 1019-1024.