WHEN it comes to your diet, timing is everything.
Now experts have revealed there there are three 'danger times' during the day that can hugely impact on your weight loss journey.
A recent study revealed that at 11.01am, 3.14pm and 9.31pm slimmers are at highest risk of consuming a complete calorie overload.
You can eat an extra 750 calories per day during these high-risk feeding periods, which are associated with a morning trip to the coffee shop, the afternoon tea run and after dinner binge.
However, leading dietitian Susie Burrell says there are some simple lifestyle changes you can make if you're someone who falls victim to coffee shop treats or sugar cravings after dinner.
Here, she reveals the best ways to take control and slash your calorie intake during these three danger times…
1. The 11am hunger pangs
By 11 o'clock, many of us find ourselves heading to the snack jar or the vending machine to keep us going until lunch.
This is often triggered by eating too few calories for breakfast – and ultimately this can also leave you vulnerable to overeating later in the day.
Late morning hunger is also associated with a quick trip to the coffee shop when we are more likely to indulge in high calorie muffins, cakes and other high carb treats which often contain more calories than an entire meal.
Schedule a small snack three to four hours after breakfast
The closeness to lunchtime also means that if we do snack at 11am, we push lunch back to 2 or 3pm, which is not ideal either.
Writing in her blog Shape Me, Susie recommends: "Take control of this high risk feeding time by scheduling a small snack three to four hours after breakfast and before 10.30am to avoid feeling hungry too close to lunchtime.
"Ideally this snack will contain just 100-200 calories and 5-10g of protein to keep the hunger pangs at bay until lunchtime.
"Good options include a small coffee, 100g Greek yoghurt and berries or a couple of wholegrain crackers and cheese."
2. The afternoon munchies
We're all prone to getting the afternoon munchies two or three hours after lunch.
This tends to happen around 3-4pm each day once our blood glucose levels drop – and the lure of the box of office fundraising chocolates becomes too much.
Unfortunately the types of foods we associated with snacking at this time of day again tend to be sweet, treat style foods – biscuits, chocolates, snack bars which leave us feeling unsatisfied and more likely to snack until dinner time.
The best healthy snacks
Snacking can be part of a balanced diet, and can be a great opportunity to sneak some extra nutrients into our diet.
Helen Bond, Registered Dietitian, ha recommended these healthy snacks to keep you going throughout your day…
- Bowl of fresh fruit salad
- Vegetable sticks with tzatziki made from low–fat yogurt, cucumber, garlic and lemon juice
- Pot of plainlow-fatyogurt with fresh berries
- A few oatcakes topped with cottage cheese and tomato
- Slice of wholegrain toast with no added sugar or salt nut butter
- Small handful of unsalted nuts or seeds
- Few rye crispbreads topped with mashed avocado
- A few handfuls of air-popped popcorn dusted with cinnamon
- Few slices of wholegrain baguette topped with homemade salsamadefrom diced tomatoes and red onion, garlic and coriander
- Celerysticksfilled with a few tablespoons of hummus
- Bowl of salad topped with one boiled egg
Susie advises you eat a protein rich snack three to four hours after lunch to counteract this.
She says: "Good options include portion controlled, nutrient rich nut based snack bars, crackers with a savoury topping or vegetables with cottage cheese or hummus.
"Scheduling a filling snack before extreme hunger hits late afternoon will also help to prevent binge eating when you arrive home from work late, tired and prone to demolishing an entire packet of rice crackers and dip before dinner."
3. The 9:30pm hit
You know the drill, it is a couple of hours after dinner, you are relaxing in front of the TV and the thought of a cup of tea and something sweet is just what you feel like to round out a long day.
Eating sweet foods in front of the television is a bad habit, and a habit that can be exceptionally difficult to break, especially when you have done it for many years.
A couple of strategies Susie says that can work well in controlling overeating at this time of day include planning to enjoy a single calorie controlled treat at this time of day.
She says: "Good options include a small individual ice cream, a few squares of dark chocolate or a biscuit or two with a cup of tea.
"Having an eating cut off each day at say 8 or 9pm also can work well as can ensuring you do not keep tempting foods in the house, as if they are there, you will eat them.
"If though you have difficulty in controlling yourself at this time of day, going cold turkey on all food after dinner may be the key to breaking this bad food habits which is causing you to eat a significant number of extra calories each day."
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