Sit up, look alive and wipe that drool from your face. If you felt great until lunch, but now you’ll jump at the chance to catch a few Zs anywhere, chances are your diet is throwing you off.

Quantity and Quality of Carbs: I’ll keep this short at sweet. Carbohydrates are a much-needed macronutrient to our diet, but be wary of the quantity and quality of the starches you choose.  Steer clear of starch-based lunches as they’re definitely high in carbs and probably high in calories. Too many carbs or too many calories can throw your blood sugar levels way off, ultimately contributing to this feeling of sluggishness.

Starch-based lunches to avoid:

  • Pasta bowls (often times smothered in a creamy sauce)
  • Bread bowls (often times loaded with a creamy soup)
  • Foot-long subs (does anyone really need this much bread?)
  • Bagel/sandwich meal combos: bagel + fruit + chips (carb + carb + carb/crappy fat)
  • Pizza (a small slice of thin crust might be ok, but stay away from any “personal-size” pizza)

Sugary foods to avoid:

  • Soda (goes without saying, but a lot of us make exceptions when we need a boost)
  • Specialty coffee drinks (mochalattechinocappalatte, or whatever your thing is – take a pass and go for an herbal tea instead)
  • Juice (unless it’s fresh-squeezed, to me, juice is nothing more than soda without the fizz)
  • Energy Candy Bars (most energy bars have just as much, if not more, sugar and carbs that a garden-variety candy bar)
  • Smoothies: (Doesn’t matter if you buy it in t a bottle from a store or from the counter of a smoothie shop – it’s probably too high in sugar)

Eat this, instead of that:

  • Green-based salad (load one up with chicken, steak or tuna and plenty of veggies)
  • Standard-size sandwich (I’m not a big fan of bread, but two slices of whole grain bread with a lean protein and a little fat is better than a foot-long anything
  • Restaurant/Home-made chili or veggie/meat-based soups, sans bread
  • Small entrees that include: veggie + protein (chicken, tuna, beef) combos like chicken satay w/ cucumber salad
  • If you’re in a hurry, veggies  + hummus or fruit + cheese will keep your blood sugar levels stable, too!

A word about breakfast: The same rules generally apply to breakfast as well. You’ll know you at the wrong breakfast is you feel a) tired or b) like you’re hungry enough to eat cardboard two hours after your meal. Don’t overeat and don’t eat just carbs or very low fat. You’ll regret it – and ultimately gain weight. Who wants that?

 

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