A perfect food day in ISO.
As the weeks in ISO start to add up, it is safe to say that the novelty of being at home 24/7 is starting to wear off. It is also likely that the belt or waistband is starting a feel a little tighter after weeks of constant snacking and comfort eating. So if your goal is to optimise your nutritional intake during this time, but also prevent weight gain, here are some suggestions on how you can structure your food day to support both nutrition and weight control.
Green tea, herbal tea, hot water with lemon
Hydration should be the first thing on our mind when we wake, and while many of us seek out coffee ASAP, a better option to reach for a herbal or green tea which will help to hydrate you, along with an antioxidant boost, and green or matcha tea will also give you a number of metabolic benefits.
Protein rich breakfast
While fasting regimes may see you not eat your first meal until late in the morning, if you exercise early or are hungry aim to enjoy your first meal by 8am at the latest to reap the metabolic benefits associated with eating a meal first thing. A meal with 20-30g of high quality protein plus veges will help to keep you full and satisfied until lunchtime. My top picks are Greek yoghurt with a little cereal, berries and a green juice, eggs with vegetables and a slice of Sourdough or protein toast with eggs or smoked salmon and greens. This is also the best time to enjoy a milk based coffee to fire up your metabolism – just be sure to choose a small or piccolo size to keep your calories controlled.
You are much better to eat an early lunch and avoid snacking throughout the morning than you are to snack on extra calories and then not eat until 2 or 3 in the afternoon. An ideal lunch in ISO will be a hot option – a meal that will actually keep you full until late afternoon so that you are not tempted to snack. Good choices include a stuffed potato with salad or soup, a toasted sandwich with salad or soup, leftovers or frozen meal that clocks in at just 300-400 calories. Finish with a cup of herbal or green tea, and a small sweet treat to mark the end of the meal – a piece of fruit, some yoghurt and berries or even a square or two of dark chocolate.
Assigning a time to eat your snacks each day will help to keep your overall food intake on track and portion control and protein are the secrets to success late afternoon when you start to feel munchy. Cheese and crackers, nut spread with fruit or a slice of protein toast with spread are all filling choices. The trick is to then team this with another crunchy, low calorie snack such as vege sticks, apple, berries, passionfruit or popcorn to ensure you are full and satisfied and less likely to continually munch through until dinner time. Finish with a sparkling soda water with lemon or lime to help neutralize your palate and put a stop to sugar cravings.
Plate of veges or soup
This is the danger time in ISO – the time we reach for cheese, chips, wine and snacks to differentiate work to home time and reward ourselves for another long day. A simple swap to a plate of cut up veges with a little dip or a bowl of soup will ensure you get your daily vege serves and take the edge off your hunger so you are less likely to indulge at dinner.
One of the easiest ways you can prevent weight gain in ISO is to keep your evening meal calorie controlled or between 300-400 calories. This is easily achieved when you know your low cal dinner meals – white fish and veges, soup, roasted vege salads, prawns and zucchini pasta or a small frozen meal. Sticking to this guide will then allow you to indulge with a little wine or dessert minus weight gain over time that will result if you follow a big meal at night with extra treats while you watch TV.
Whether you finish the day will a cup of tea, a little wine or chocolate, having a set meal cut of time will help to control your daily food intake and give you a minimum of 12 hours overnight without food.