Bonnie Alexander, RD, LDN, an outpatient dietitian at Adventist HealthCare White Oak Medical Center, answers your questions about health and nutrition.
I’m trying to slim down for summer but I often feel hungry. What are some tips to help me cut back in a healthy way, so that I also feel full throughout the day?
Bonnie Alexander: With all of the information online and in the media today, it’s hard to know which changes you should be making to your diet. There is no “one-size-fits-all” diet plan. Try following these simple tips and always listen to what your body is telling you.
- Eat on a regular schedule, with your first meal one to two hours after waking up
- Never go more than five to six hours without eating
- Don’t skip meals
- Try healthy snacks like nuts, fruit, veggies and hummus or whole grain crackers and cheese – just pay attention to serving sizes.
This will help keep you satisfied, regulate your metabolism and keep you from making poor food choices out of extreme hunger. Remember – eat if you’re hungry!
Write it down
- Keep a food journal to help you avoid mindless snacking and be more aware of portion sizes and level of hunger when eating
- Write down how you feel when you’re eating, what you’re doing, and other factors that influence your choice to eat
Look for variety
- Eat a balanced diet that includes a wide variety of foods
- Add color to your meals and snacks, like vibrant fruits and vegetables – this adds essential vitamins and nutrients
Add in healthy fats and protein
Many people try to completely avoid fat, but healthy fats, along with protein, help us feel full longer and are part of any balanced diet.
- Go for monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds, plant oils and avocados, which are also good for your heart
- Be aware of serving sizes when eating fat-rich foods like nuts – just 1/4 cup of nuts is enough for a satisfying and healthy snack
- Eat a protein-rich diet
- Try getting protein from eggs, beans or legumes along with the usual meat options
- Find one or two nights a week to prepare your meals in bulk by making a batch of food to pack for lunch, making grab-and-go breakfasts or pre-portioning snacks
- If you’re eating out, look at the menu ahead of time to decide on items that are nutritious yet satisfying
Want more help eating healthy? To make an appointment with one of our dietitians, please call 301-891-6105.