If you've ever wished someone would simply tell you what to eat every day for weight loss... you're in luck! Brandon Mentore, a sports nutritionist and strength and conditioning coach with TheBodyLogic.com, is here to tell you just that. Mentore says that each meal plays a different role when it comes to losing weight, and it's important to know the difference. Check out his advice and daily meal plan below:
Breakfast is by far the most important meal of the day — and not just because it’s what many of us were taught as children. Breakfast is a calibrator meal. From a biological aspect, breakfast operates in three systems in the body: regulation of blood sugar, your metabolism, and neurotransmitters. All three systems are essential to weight loss and weight management. These systems are highly sensitive in the morning and the "waking status" of each is largely determined by the quality of the prior night's sleep.
In the presence of poor sleep in conjunction with the sensitive nature of these three systems, breakfast can be a powerful tool to realign and stabilize these systems — depending on the food selection, of course.
What to eat: A good meal structure for breakfast will help to optimize all three systems. A good breakfast should have the following: a natural source of carbohydrate for blood sugar control, adequate protein and sufficient calories to stoke metabolism, and enough protein for neurotransmitter function. For example, a vegetable egg white omelet with a cup of oatmeal with berries and nuts makes for a healthy breakfast.
Lunch is an important meal for weight loss because the body typically reaches its peak level of thermogenesis and metabolic activity. Eating this meal with the appropriate foods will allow you take advantage of a generally higher calorie burn.
What to eat: Because systems in your body are peaking, a healthy lunch option would be a simple source of high-quality protein over some type of greens — for example, a chicken breast or salmon filet over a bed of spinach or arugula. Add to this a fresh squeezed juice or juice smoothie.
Dinner is important for weight loss as well because after dinner (and during sleep) comes the recovery process. Having enough nutrients on board to give the body the ability to run the metabolic and recovery process makes weight loss easier.
What to eat: Dinner needs to be a wind-down and prep meal for sleep. That means nutrients need to be on board so those recovery processes can have a chance to work. A light meal at dinner would include a quality protein source, a natural carbohydrate and a vegetable. For example, ground turkey or beef with a small red or sweet potato with a cup of broccoli.
It’s important to note, however, your preexisting metabolic status is a huge factor of how these meals theoretically function. But regardless of your status, breakfast remains the most important meal to your biology and the efficacy of weight loss.
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