We all know what we should be putting into our bodies. But, according to personal trainer Matt Carey, when and how you eat is almost as important as what you consume. Timing, he says, is everything.
“Drink a pint of water the minute you wake up. The morning is when your stress levels are at their highest and water can help reduce those hormones. Drinking water in the morning on a daily basis also helps balance your body’s lymph system, which fights infections, and increases the rate at which new muscle and blood cells are produced.”
“People often think fruit is a healthy thing to eat for breakfast, but in reality the sugar found in fruit simply causes a massive spike in your insulin levels, resulting in a crash at around mid-morning. You are much better off eating slow-burning carbs such as oats. These will be burnt off as energy because you are consuming them in the morning, rather than being converted into fat were you to eat them last thing at night. I also recommend eating a little protein at every meal – even as a snack. Try to squeeze in five to six small portions of protein a day. It raises your metabolism and helps burn more calories.”
“Lunch, for me, is a really important meal. This is when I try to eat my greens such as avocado and spinach. Negative-calorie foods such as celery, asparagus, cucumber, tomatoes, chilli and even low-fat protein such as chicken and turkey are all good options: you burn more calories digesting these types of food than the calories they contain, plus they will keep you fuller for longer. I love eggs, but tend to stay away from the yolks as they contain a lot of fat. I also love low-fat yoghurt: just make sure you check the sugar content of some brands.”
“Your last meal of the day should be the smallest. Unfortunately this is the time of day when you are more likely to be tempted to indulge. I would avoid carbs at dinner, especially if you think you might have a dessert. Don’t worry about eating the odd sweet treat or having a glass of wine – even the best athletes in the world eat chocolate. The important thing is to keep a balance in your life, to avoid binge eating. Don’t completely cut out the things you love because it is simply not sustainable. It is also OK to eat fruit last thing at night as your body can cope with the insulin spike when you are asleep.”