Thursday, 2 May 2019

20 Things You’re Doing Before Noon That Are Making You Fat

Most people believe that the bulk of harmful calories in the day are consumed in the afternoon, think: burgers, ice cream, steak, beer, and so on. Well, guess what? Eating the wrong food at any time of the day can cause weight gain. This is especially true before noon, as the foods you eat in the morning generally set your eating tone for the rest of the day!

1. You Go for the 'Grand Slam'

No newsflash here, but worth a cautionary reminder: “Starting the day with a large high-fat, high-sodium breakfast will give you a bloated belly and you will feel sluggish all day!” exclaims celebrity nutritionist Lisa DeFazio, MS, RDN. “It takes a lot of work for your body to digest those calories and you will be sleepy, bloated and unproductive. Skip the ‘grand slam’ with eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, hash browns, [and so on] and your belly will thank you!” 

2. You Overload on Fiber

“Eating large amounts of fiber in the morning will make you gassy,” warns DeFazio. “Yes, fiber is important, but don’t overdose on it. A large amount at one sitting will make you very bloated and gassy by mid-morning. [Make sure to] drink a lot of water when you eat fiber to move it through the digestive tract. Otherwise, it can get stuck!” 

3. You Make Granola Your Go-To

“This seemingly-innocent food is almost always loaded with added sugar,” cautions Lisa Hayim, RD, and founder of The Well Necessities. “In fact, most companies use synonyms or alternative words for plain old ‘sugar’ to disguise it. When choosing a granola, look for a ‘no sugar’ added and steer clear of coconut sugar, agave, and even evaporated cane juice.” 

4. You Watch the News While Eating

So, maybe your New Year’s Resolution was to keep up with current events better. Sorry folks, still not a good excuse to turn on the tube while you eat. “Being focused on the TV takes away the mindfulness of eating and the appreciation of the flavors and textures of the foods you’re putting in your mouth, as well as the size of the portions that you’re eating,” say The Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, and authors of The Nutrition Twins’ Veggie Cure. Instead, take the time to eat slowly and mindfully, chewing every bite consciously and sans distraction from the ol’ tube.

5. You Grab a Bagel

“Most people realize a carb-loaded bagel with a smear of cream cheese may not be the healthiest option because it typically contributes in excess of 500 calories. But even if you’re only eating a healthy bowl of oatmeal or a plate of fruit, it still backfires,” explain The Nutrition Twins. “You digest carbs in several hours, and without protein to provide longer-lasting satiety, you’ll be starving by mid-morning. Also, once you’ve digested the carbs without a source of protein, your blood sugar quickly drops and you’ll crave a pick-me-up, likely in the quickest form you can get it—sugar!” What to do instead? Choose fiber-filled carbs and be sure to have a lean protein with it. Both will keep blood sugar levels stable and keep you feeling full longer so you don’t find yourself at the vending machine mid-morning. The perfect example would be a small bowl of oatmeal with eggs or with Greek yogurt.

6. You Eat Straight from a Cereal Box

Whether you skip the bowl because you’re just chillin’ on the couch with the Today Show crew or because you’re too rushed to bother with dishes, sticking your hand in a cereal box is a big no-no. “When you do this, portion control is non-existent because it’s nearly impossible to even know how much you consume,” advise The Nutrition Twins. “A box can hold 10 servings or more. And even if you have three servings, you probably won’t know it since it doesn’t make a huge dent in the box. It’s far too easy to eat hundreds of calories unknowingly.” Carve out time to set a place at the table and eat from a bowl with real utensils.

7. You Only Eat a Piece of Fruit

Think you’re making the virtuous choice? Beware. “Yes, fruit is healthy and rich in antioxidants, but if you don’t add protein to the mix, you’ll be distracted by your hunger an hour or two later,” explain The Nutrition Twins. “This will more than likely result in you needing to make a desperate trip to the vending machine where you may grab the first thing you see.” 

8. You Keep Your Breakfast Low-fat

Beyond just a low-fat pastry habit, it’s also important to avoid maintaining a low-fat breakfast regime in general. “Our brains are mostly fat and yet health-conscious people trying to lose weight will cut fat to cut calories. But you need to remember that fat enhances satiety which keeps you from wanting food for longer,” advises Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN author of Body Kindness. “We also need fat to absorb certain vitamins—A, D, E, K—that play powerful roles in our body functions, from eyesight to metabolism. So, bring back butter (on your veggies)!”

9. You Drink a Soda for Breakfast

Just ew. But hear us out. “While you may like turning to soda for something sweet and you enjoy the quick pick-me-up from the caffeine and sugar, soda’s completely devoid of nutrients. Plus, the sugar and the caffeine can cause a sugar high followed by a crash that sends you into a frantic search for more food,” say The Nutrition Twins. “This can lead to overeating. Not to mention, drinking soda on an empty stomach can cause tummy troubles and irritation and contribute to everything from indigestion to ulcers!” 

10. You Pour a Smoothie Bowl

We know, we know, they’re Instagram gold—but they may not always be as healthy as you assume. “If you’ve jumped on the smoothie bowl for breakfast bandwagon, you can easily sabotage your healthy eating goals by succumbing to portion distortion. It’s easy to go overboard with smoothie bowl portions and toppings,” cautions Liz Weiss, MS, RD of Meal Makeover Moms. “Keep portions to about one cup and be mindful of toppings by going heavy on the fresh fruit but keeping the higher calorie coconut chips and nuts to a small handful.”

11. You Grab a Flavored Yogurt

“While yogurt, in general, can be a good source of protein, calcium, and probiotics, those benefits are canceled out by the high sugar content if the yogurt is flavored,” offers Rebecca Lewis, RD for popular meal-kit delivery service HelloFresh. “If you do enjoy yogurt, opt for a non-flavored one and select Greek yogurts, which are typically lower in sugar and higher in protein.”

12. You Stop at a Fast Food Restaurant

“If you go to a fast food joint, you’ll get roughly 300 extra calories more than a breakfast you’d eat at home. And if you do this three times a week, you’ll gain eight pounds over the course of a year,” caution The Nutrition Twins. “Plus, you’ll typically eat excess sodium from the fast food joint, which means you’re now starting your day doing a number on your heart and feeling bloated.”

13. You Drink Fruit Juice

Ever notice you can chug a whole liter of apple juice but you can’t exactly eat three apples in one sitting? “While we all need to eat more fruits and veggies—and fruit juice does have fruit in it—what’s missing is all the fiber that would normally go along with the fruit,” says Lewis. “Even with a 100 percent fruit juice, what you end up consuming is a high-calorie and high-sugar drink, even with small four-ounce portions!”

14. You Live On Green Juices

Overeating later in the day because of post-breakfast hangry-ness? No thanks. “Green juice is a great way to get vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, but if your juice only includes a handful of healthy veggies, the chances are good that it’s not going to keep you satisfied or give you the energy you need to get through your day,” share The Nutrition Twins. “You’ll feel tired and crave more food as the drink will lack protein and typically fiber, which are two things you need to stay satisfied.” P.S. By all means, sip on healthy green juices (like these ones!) but just make sure you pair it with protein and fiber for a balanced meal.

15. You Scarf Down Your Food

“If you are rushing through the morning, you might need to slow down! It takes time for the signal from your stomach to get to your brain that you’ve just eaten. Slow down, put your fork down between bites, try to stretch your meal to be a full 20 minutes, and stop eating when you’re medium-full,” advises Lewis. If all you’re eating is a quick nutrition bar while on the goal, try eating and chewing it more mindfully as well. Psst!

16. You Whip Up Egg Whites

It’s time to put the sunshine back in your eggs with the omega-3-rich yolks. They’re a great source of fat-burning choline and vitamin D, which has been linked to reducing belly fat.

17. You Eat Too Much Salt

It’s time to cut the salt already, suggests Hayim. “So many of our favorite breakfast options are loaded with salt. Hash browns, quick-cook oats, bacon, and even eggs (prepared in restaurants) can be loaded with sodium. Sodium causes you to retain water, which leaves you bloated from the start of the day,” says Hayim. If you like to give your eggs or oats more flavor, try jazzing them up with red chile pepper flakes, paprika, cayenne or even turmeric or powdered mustard.

18. You Never Turn Down Bacon

Just because it’s “traditional” doesn’t mean it’s safe. “[Eating these kinds of foods] will not only promote bloat and fat gain, but will cause postprandial lipemia—a temporary condition where your blood is thickened from the fat, cholesterol, and free radicals floating around your arteries. Doing this regularly promotes weight gain, obesity, and cardiovascular disease,” says Hever. “Instead, try a healthful tofu scramble and tempeh bacon, which contains zero cholesterol and healthful fats or a big bowl of oatmeal with flax seeds and berries so that the hefty dose of fiber will help you lose weight, stay trim in the long run, and keep you full for longer.”

19. You Just Have Coffee

“I’m not skipping breakfast,” you say. “I’ll just have coffee!” Not so fast. “Just a cup of coffee does not make a meal. If you want to avoid being hangry, then you need energy—and not just caffeine,” says Scritchfield. “I like to put smoothie ingredients in a blender and refrigerate it overnight so it’s only three minutes out of my morning and I can sip it on the way to work. If preparing food isn’t an option, at least make it a grab-and-go meal.”

20. You Opt for the Combo Meal

Picking up the combo or value meal at the drive-thru is the difference between tacking on an extra 100 calories and not. Breakfast combo meals often include more than one menu item, whether it’s a breakfast sandwich with a side of hash browns or a platter of scrambled eggs, bacon, hashbrown, and biscuits with gravy. You’re better off ordering foods individually, so you won’t consume extra calories.

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