Before you lift that spoon, fork, or cup up to your lips, make sure you're doing these things every time you sit down to eat.
- Drink this: Grab a big glass of water and drink half of it before even starting your meal. It'll help you feel fuller faster, so you'll eat less.
- Your mama was right: Make sure to eat veggies at every. Single. Meal. Yes, even breakfast! Throw broccoli and beans in your smoothie, some mushrooms and tomatoes into your omelet, or zucchini into your oatmeal. And for either lunch or dinner, make your meal one enormous salad — it's an easy way to fill up without eating tons of calories. Aim for half your plate to be filled with veggies, and use grains and protein to accent that meal.
- This is the magic combo: Woman can't live on carbs alone, and if you tend to feel groggy after your morning bowl of cereal or your midday pasta, this is why. Fiber and protein are both a must. Fiber makes you feel full for longer and protein will sustain your energy and also help keep hunger at bay. Figure out a combo that adds up to at least 25 grams of fiber and between 50 and 100 grams of protein per day (depending on your activity level).
- Calories count: Keep each meal between 300 and 550 calories. This will allow for two 150-calorie snacks and ensure you're not dipping below 1,200 calories, which can make losing weight impossible.
- Mindful munching: When you're on your phone, computer, or watching TV while eating, it's easy to be so distracted that you just inhale your entire plate within a matter of minutes. Since your brain hasn't been given enough time to register that you've eaten your fill, you'll still feel hungry afterward and go to reach for more. Do what you need to do to slow down, whether that be to shut down Facebook, enjoy your meal with a friend, use a set of chopsticks, or eat with your less dominant hand.
- Three-quarters is the magic number: Eat until you're almost full, but not quite. If you keep going, that stuffed feeling not only means you ate too many calories for your body to burn off, but working that hard will make you feel foggy and tired. Do not subscribe to the clean plate club! Once you're almost full, if you still have bites left, wrap up the rest for later.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Anna Monette Roberts