Does your breakfast consist of coffee with two or more spoonfuls of sugar? Or maybe a donut or pastry? No wonder you are tired by mid-morning. A carbohydrate-only diet forces your body to react and process those foods fast, taking energy from you and letting you down a few hours later. You had few proteins and vitamins. Two hours later, you want a lift and reach for more coffee and junk food. Again, the wrong thing.
Try a 4 oz. fruit juice, high fiber cereal or eggs and low-fat yogurt or milk for a few days and see if you still need that “10 o’clock pick up.” The first few days your body may not like the change and still want the “10 o’clock junk” but you can train yourself. Keep at it!
Some people say they don’t eat much or skip meals and still can’t lose weight. That is one of their problems—skipping. They cheat between meals or stuff themselves making the stomach work harder and forcing the body to become tired. Three or four light meals are better for you than two big ones.
Do you need a snack before bed? If so, I’ll bet they are the wrong foods. Candy? Pastry? Cake? Ice cream? Late night burger and fries? All bad! Try fruit.
Sure, you like that food. You probably were raised on that as a kid. So now your body is used to that habit. As a teen, I came home from school and had milk and a homemade cookie or fruit. I was not allowed sweets, soda or pop. To this day, I prefer a fruit drink or milk and avoid sweets and junk foods. We seldom had fried foods. I never order fries, seldom a burger—it is cooked in fat! Habits formed early still survive in me. You can change yours if you wish.
Do you really want to lose weight and feel some pep? Are you trying to control a diabetic situation? Then change your diet.
Juice for breakfast has vitamin C and moderate calories. Milk has calcium to protect your teeth and bones. Eggs and meat give protein. Not fried! Omit bacon and sausage—or if you must, cook the fat right out of it! Cereals are a good choice with lots of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Use that powdered milk you get at food banks, it’s low in fat and cholesterol and a bit higher in calcium.
A plain donut is about 300 calories, including fat (fried). Order a filled or coated donut or muffin with your coffee or tea and all you have is fat and calories. For the same calories, you can have juice and cereal with your coffee, tea or milk. With that, you get a bonus of many vitamins and minerals, a great boost to start the day. The energy will easily last you until noon. Stay away from those donuts and muffins!
Still need that mid-morning snack? Try an apple, pear, peach or plum. Moist, low-cal, naturally sweetened, high fiber—said to protect against cancer and constipation.
Stay away from those burger places, food there is loaded with fat and no vitamins. If some magnet just pulls you in, go for a salad. Avoid the sodas—real high in sugars and they discolor your teeth in time. Order milk, diet soda, juice or tea instead. Skip the hot chocolate. And no fries! Grilled chicken is better than a beef burger or maybe you’d like the fish sandwich. Make it a cheeseburger and you really get more than one day’s cholesterol in one sitting with lots of fat and calories, too!
Salads (dressing of lemon and spices, or oil and vinegar best, Italian dressing next best), fruit and vegetables have few calories but lots of vitamins. Avoid cream or cheese dressings. Add yogurt for flavor and calcium. Need a mid-day snack? No chips, candy bar, cookies or pastry. Reach for an orange, banana or grapes. Apples and pears are always on sale and always cheaper than chips or a candy bar. Munch on a stick of celery—maybe with cottage cheese. I like to play rabbit and eat a raw carrot as a snack or while cooking. Even a juicy tomato will give your tummy something to work on. Another advantage—fresh vegetables and fruits are high in fiber, helping prevent cancers of the digestive system. Try yogurt – calcium for the teeth and bones and help digestion.
I like to use raw vegetables on my plate. I use broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, radishes and carrots raw on the plate or in salads. The longer you cook any vegetable, the more vitamins you kill. Don’t overcook. And eat those potato skins—lots of roughage and the vitamins and minerals nestle next to the skins and are less starchy (calories).
Still need a snack? Try diet Jell-O. A protein source, and unlike candy and pastry it won’t give you the sugar rush, then let you down fast. You can add fruit, raisins or vegetables to the Jell-O to add vitamins and fill you up a bit more, if you like.
We Americans eat too much red meat. Red meat is a good source of protein, true, but it is also good heart-attack material. Don’t fry any foods. Cook the fat out of meats. Substitute chicken (remove the skin) and fish. You’ll be healthier and live longer—unless you don’t look both ways before crossing the street.
You should have some vitamin B and C every day. Vitamins C and Bs are water-soluble and can wash out of your system. The other vitamins are oil soluble and your body can keep them. You get vitamin C in citrus fruits, vegetables and tomatoes. Check your Kool-Aid and powdered drinks. Buy only ones with vitamin C added—same price. B vitamin series are common in nuts, cereals, grains, fruits, eggs, liver, lean meats, yeast, legumes, dairy products, bananas.
Vitamins C, E and selenium are considered antioxidants. They help keep the body healthy and it is often claimed they prevent or slow cancer growth, another advantage to eating fruits and vegetables.
So it is true—eat your veggies and fruit. Drink milk every day and be outside ¼ to ½ hour each day to get that vitamin D from both sunshine and milk.
Let me give you a tip that most American cooks don’t know about regarding saving vitamins instead of wasting them. Do you open a can of vegetables and pour the liquid down the sink? If you cook fresh vegetables, what do you do with the liquid? Down the sink is wasting your vitamins and money. I save the liquid in a container. Next time I need some water to boil some meat or cook veggies, out comes the container from the refrigerator. I like soups, especially in winter; they warm me up. All the leftover liquids go into the pot. This leftover liquid goes in as my broth, vitamins that others flush down the sink ends up in my soup and my body. A freebee. You can make a healthy soup with these liquids and other leftovers.
Remember how much good spinach did for Popeye? It may not give you his strength, but you’ll get vitamin A and iron.
Some foods, like cucumbers, radishes and celery, have so few calories; you spend more calories chewing than what you gain in weight. Good snack, no weight gain!
And let’s not forget exercise. Not only does it burn off calories, but also it helps your muscles and general well-being, alertness, and pep. A 1/2 hour a day is good. It need not be some fancy program, just walking will benefit you. Get off the bus a stop early and walk. Park the car a few blocks away. Climb the stairs instead of using the elevator.
Try these suggestions. After a week or two, I’d suspect you to have more energy, be less tired and crave fewer sweets. You might be surprised that you didn’t gain weight—maybe lost some. Good eating and healthy snacking makes you a healthier, more energetic person. And who doesn’t want to feel better?