Expert answers to five common food dilemmas
Are you doing breakfast right? And why do you get the 3pm munchies? A dietitian fills us in on some of the most puzzling food-related quandaries.
Whether you’re always hungry by lunchtime or find it really hard to stop eating until you’re full to the brim, we all have our food-related foibles.
With some help from Sydney dietitian Chloe McLeod, you can solve these dilemmas once and for all.
Dilemma 1: You’re overly hungry by lunch time
Chloe says you should be hungry by the time lunch rolls around but not to the point where you’re overeating.
If you are over hungry, there are a couple of steps to take.
Firstly, assess how much water you’ve had – you may actually be thirsty.
Secondly, ensure you get the first meal of the day right.
“Increase the protein in your breakfast— a low-protein breakfast may leave you hungrier sooner,” says Chloe.
“Aim for 15-20g of protein in your breakfast. Also ensure your breakfast has plenty of fibre.
“[In the same way as] protein, adequate fibre will help keep you feeling satisfied. We need 30 grams of fibre across the day so aim to spread this out across each meal,” she says.
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Dilemma 2: You overeat all the time
If you’re constantly stuffed at every meal then it’s time to check in with how you’re eating.
“If you eat quickly, aim to slow it right down. Take smaller bites, put your cutlery or food down between mouthfuls, and focus on the flavour and texture of your food,” Chloe says.
Again, not drinking enough water may be the culprit, so make sure you’ve had enough to drink.
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Dilemma 3: You always crave junk food
Having junk food constantly on the brain could mean that you’re not filling up enough on fibre-rich foods, says Chloe.
Be sure to include plenty of fruit, veg, legumes, wholegrains, nuts and seeds in your diet to help you feel more satiated.
But in some cases, she says the cravings may arise if you ban on certain foods, only to end up wanting to eat them even more.
“Rather than ‘banning’ these foods, allow yourself to enjoy when you truly feel like having it. This can prevent over eating, as well as the cravings in the first place,” advises Chloe.
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Dilemma 4: You feel lethargic all the time
If you’re feeling tired regularly it could be due to a number of things, says Chloe.
She suggests starting with assessing whether what you’re eating is providing enough energy to support any exercise you’re doing, along with other daily activities.
You may need to adjust your diet accordingly.
Additionally, check whether you’re eating a good balance of nutrient-dense foods, whether your bowels are working regularly and whether you’re drinking enough water.
“You may be either not eating enough of the right things, or not enough water or a mix of both,” says Chloe.
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Dilemma 5: You get the 3pm munchies like clockwork
If you and the vending machine have a standing appointment in the afternoon then you may need to tweak what you’re eating throughout the day.
“Check in to see if you ate enough fibre and carb-rich foods at lunch. Commonly, if lunch doesn’t have enough slow-release carbs, you’ll end up craving extras by mid-afternoon,” says Chloe.
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Written by Tania Gomez.