Saturday, August 15, 2009

Small meals and Your appetite

Appetite tells us when to eat, and when working well, how much to eat or when to stop. It works well when we eat natural, filling foods at a slow and measured pace. But it doesn't work so well when processed and calorie-dense foods rather than nutrient-dense foods take center stage. Given today's culture and conveniences, in just 10 minutes you could scarf down a variety of foods to satisfy hunger. For example, it's easy to feel full after eating two whole carrots (150 calories) or you could get a similar satisfaction from eating a jumbo-sized box of fries (1,150 calories). Either way, the appetite is satisfied but with a very different calorie and nutrient content.

Meal timing also plays into appetite. Eariler and frequent smaller meals are easier for the body to use as fuel during exercise. It makes sense for most people dieting to lose a weight to 25% of their daily calories in a larger breakfast. This controls appetite and reduces hunger throughout the day, resulting in lower overall calorie intake. Meals every 3-4 hours will also require more energy to digest than the traditional 3 meals per day format. There is also evidence from weight loss studies that suggests that people usually eat less overall when they eat often, so it's a win-win.
Finally, developing a healthy appetite using frequent, small meals should be easy and appetizing. Consider a few high-nutrient, very satisfying appetizers. This list of 5 foods have at least two high-satiety foods that can fill you up on healthy combinations. Eat one about 10 minutes before your next meal to fill up early, or have 2-3 as a meal combination for fullness. These recipes were recetnly published in Triathlete Magazine (See article by M. Fitzgerald from May 2009).
These all come it at about 150 calories. Try a few!

Spinach & Avocado/Tomato Salad
1 cup Spinach + 1/4 cup Avo's and Tomat's
with 1 tsp olive oil dressing

Crackers & Low-Fat Cheese
4 whole wheat crackers + 1 oz. cheese

Lentil Soup
1 cup as prepared by Amy's Organics or homemade

Asparagus & Almonds
4 spears steamed + 1/8 Almond slivers and Parm Cheese

Baked Fries with Rosemary
1/2 cup of potato slices baked at 450F for 30 mins
with olive oil spray and rosemary and S&P before baking

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Falmouth, Cape Cod Weekend

Getting outdoors is great fun, especially with fit, fun friends. When friends Pauline and Ulandt asked if we -- my boyfriend Matthew and best friend Terry and I -- wanted to join them on Cape Cod, I asked "what should we bring?". Bikes, running shoes, googles and wetsuit, or all of the above!

Weekend activities on land and sea:
  • 1 mile ocean swim, sans wetsuit -- yes the water was cool but warm enough!
  • 1 hour paddle on a duet kayak into the bay near Green Pond
  • Coastal area bicycling with Matthew and even Terry too (yes!)
  • 7-mile run along inlets and bays with Ulandt and Matthew
  • another 1+mile ocean swim, this time with a wetsuit and with another triathlete guy
  • a final long ride 35+ miles bicycling back to Plymouth for the Commuter Rail
More about the weekend in a personal blog posting here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mid-day quick meal

It's all too common to rush through lunch. I used to do it while I was a scientific consultant; I still do it now as a trainer. Sometimes clients keep me too busy at the gym, and a quick 45 minutes at home is all I have to prep, eat, and dash back to the next client.
Summer is a prime time for veggie-based lunches. Today lunch was heavy on the zucchini and light on the bread. I used cottage cheese and deli turkey as my primary protein sources because that's just what I was in the mood for. The simple sandwich was about the same size as the bowl of microwave-steamed zukes/tomatoes/parsley/parm. In total this was about a 600 calorie lunch. Some of the chilled extra veggies later made a nice afternoon snack.
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Eating on the patio is a great way to enjoy healthy food in the summer!