Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Eating and Stress: Three Meals

 When, what, and how we eat affects stress levels. Making small changes goes a long way to help you deal with stress more effectively. It is something that is completely under your control.

You should eat at least three, balanced, meals every day. Eating five or six a day could be even better. Experiment to see if you are a grazer. If so, remember to adjust your meal sizes so that you are eating a reasonable amount of food.

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” is one piece of grandma’s advice that you should listen to. You will be healthier, and have milder stress reactions, if you eat a good breakfast. Some studies suggest that breakfast should be your largest meal.

When you wake up your body is starving. Make time to have a simple breakfast that includes carbohydrates, protein and fat. My favourite, is a smoothie with some frozen berries, milk, and protein powder. I can make it in 5 minutes. Skipping breakfast starts your day with stress.

If you’re a grazer make sure you have a healthy mid-morning snack.

 Once your day gets going it is easy to have lunch late. If it’s been almost 7 hours since breakfast your blood sugar is plummeting. Your brain is screaming for energy. Smart food choices will be harder to make.

Schedule your lunch. Try to fit it in about four hours after breakfast.  Keep your body fuelled and your blood sugar stable. You’ll be more resilient to stress. Include protein, healthy carbs, and some good fat.

For the grazers, remember to have something quick to gobble up mid-afternoon.

The day is done. You may have worked late, have  a family to deal with.You’re tempted to eat poorly. Your last meal of the day fuels your body until morning. A moderate sized, balanced, meal will not only help you feel better when you wake up, but, it will also help you to sleep better tonight.

Some grazers like to have a snack before bed. That is fine, but, it should be small. Give yourself at least an hour to digest before sleeping. High protein nighttime snacks may actually prevent you from getting to sleep.

How are your eating habits? Do you find it challenging to get the right food at the right time? I'd love to hear why, or why not?

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