You start with a bowl of fruit in the morning.
Why it Backfires: You’re breaking a fast. You’re blood sugar first thing in the morning is at it’s lowest in a 24-hour period. When you add fruit, though yes, it’s nutrient-dense, you’re taking your blood sugar up so that it can crash shortly after to an even lower blood sugar than you began with.
If you suffer from low levels of energy, chronic fatigue, and yet think you’re eating well by ingesting tons of fruit, take a good look at the timing of that fruit. Consider exchanging your higher sugar fruits (pineapple, grapes, mangos, ripe bananas) with berries and citrus fruits. Consider reducing the amount of fruit you take in so you’re eating a ratio of 1:4 fruit to non-starchy vegetables. Blood sugar spikes are much more rare from eating a diet high in vegetables.
The type of fruit and or vegetable you consume matters. Reduce your packaged foods. Dried fruits, packaged sweet potato fries or chips, are never going to outshine fresh recently alive fruit and vegetables but will add concentrated sugar (dried fruit- yes, even “super foods”) and oils or preservatives.
Start with protein. How will you get your protein into breakfast? Then add fat. Then consider fiber. How will you make this meal the most nutrient-dense you eat all day so you set yourself up for stable blood sugar (mood and energy)? Then include the fruit as a guest at the meal.
You skip a meal because “I just need a snack.”
Why It Backfires: In most cases, that snack becomes a license to eat more than you would at a meal. Yet, it’s pretty void of nutrients. Even one micronutrient deficiency can result in fatigue, weight loss resistance, or worse. You justify more snacking because it’s just a little of this and you didn’t have supper (or breakfast or lunch), after all.
When you tally the score of snacks vs. meals typically nutrition density goes out the window and calories of that “little snack” are higher than the meal would have been. Snacking often comes with an open-ended start and end. You eat out of the bag, or the bowl, and you’ve not looked at your need for nutrients. You’ve looked at your cravings and often catered to your addictions.
Plan around your protein. Consider what you’ve eaten all day. Have you reached a quota of vegetables? Once you have your nutrients taken care of there’s room for recreational foods but if you’re health or your weight is a consideration focus on the quota of good first. If you get in all the good, chances are you won’t have the cravings or have the room for “snack foods.”
“I’m a grazer.”
Why It Backfires: Your digestive system never gets a break! This is another way of saying you don’t prioritize meals or planning. If you’re not getting adequate protein (and the accompanying amino acids at each of three meals), which is not a total at the end of the day, any goals of holding lean muscle or boosting fat burn and energy will suffer.
Grazing randomly or even eating 5-6 small meals a day in a calculated way doesn’t serve most midlife women. Often hormones are not providing you with hunger and satiety signals. Putting adequate time between meals lets your hormones figure it out. It allows you to actually begin to listen to and trust your body again.
I’d love to hear from you. Are there nutrition mistakes you have been making without realizing it? If you’ve got a question about confusing nutrition information add it to the comments. I’ll be watching and respond!
Are you at your ideal weight and energy level? What shifts or habits got you there?