4 of the biggest issues that nutritionists are asked about and how to beat them
" I never have time to eat breakfast, so often go without"
Far too many people skip breakfast, arguably the most important meal of the day, due to a lack of time in the mornings. However going without that morning meal can lead to unstable blood sugar levels, causing low energy and a higher chance of reaching for unhealthy options later in the day. Eating breakfast also helps to kick start your metabolism. Indeed, research supports that you should eat breakfast, finding people who do are more likely to be within the healthy weight range.
A healthy breakfast should be a non-negotiable. One option is to set your alarm 15 minutes earlier so you have time to have a simple, nutritious breakfast before leaving the house. If this won’t work for you, make friends with grab and go food to take with you on the way out the door, such as a piece of fruit with a handful of nuts, or a protein smoothie / shake, or healthy bar which you can enjoy on your commute.
Another great option is to prepare your breakfast the night before in a portable container to bring with you and eat once you get to work or university. Overnight oats or chia puddings are perfect for this. You can add a scoop of your favourite protein powder to the mix too for extra staying power.
"I often get bloated after meals, even if they are clean and healthy"
Many people struggle with bloating after meals, which is even more frustrating if you think you’re doing everything right by consuming clean meals free from the usual bloating suspects, such as gluten, sugar and dairy.
It can be highly demotivating too if you’re really making an effort with your healthy lifestyle but still suffering from a distended stomach no matter what you eat.... but don’t despair!
The problem could lie not in the foods you are eating (although it’s good to rule this out too with the help of a nutritionist), but in how your body is digesting them. If food is not being broken down properly, it can lead to fermentation of food particles in the digestive tract, which causes excess gas and bloating. Try taking a broad-spectrum digestive enzyme 15 minutes before meals and make sure you chew each mouthful well. A probiotic supplement may also help establish a healthy gut flora for optimal digestion, thus preventing bloating,
"I get tired and hungry in the afternoon and find it hard not to grab something naughty for a quick energy boost"
The 4pm slump is all too familiar; that time in the later afternoon when your energy levels feel low, your stomach is grumbling and you are most susceptible to succumbing to a vending machine visit.
This issue could likely be caused by unstable blood sugar levels, so look at what you are possibly consuming earlier in the day that may be causing it. Simple carbohydrates and sugary foods, as well as excess coffee, can lead to a sudden crash in energy that leaves you wanting something that will bring it back up again quickly, creating a rollercoaster effect.
Make sure you have a balanced breakfast and lunch, with adequate protein, good fats and complex carbohydrates to release a steady flow of energy into your blood stream, to help prevent low energy in the afternoon.
Be prepared with healthy snacks on hand that will help maintain your blood sugar, improve satiety levels and stop you reaching for junk. Raw nuts, protein shakes, a hard-boiled egg or vegetables with hummus are great options.
"I’m eating diet and low-fat foods, but I’m not loosing weight"
Low fat and diet foods may be cleverly marketed to make you think that they are great for weight loss, but the truth is that they generally aren’t. Why? In place of the fat, these foods are often filled with sugar and artificial ingredients, whilst being stripped of nutrition. This makes them unsatisfying, lacking in nutrition and likely to cause more cravings.
Ditch these processed “fake” foods and instead opt for nourishing wholefoods that naturally assist with weight loss. High water content vegetables and fruits are low in calories but high in fibre and nutrients, making them excellent meal components or snacks.
Research is actually strongly indicating that it’s not fat you should be afraid of when it comes to watching your waistline, but sugar. In fact, consuming foods with their fat in tact actually has health benefits as well as keeping you fuller for longer, so you’re less likely to overeat at your next meal.
Moral of the story? Scrap the “diet” fruit yoghurt snack because it’s not doing you any favours. Instead chow down on organic whole milk Greek yoghurt or coconut yoghurt with some fresh fruit instead. The same applies to the rest of the low-fat and diet foods out there: the whole and real counterpart is always better.