Few of us hit our caloric targets dead on but oh! how we try! Going over slows our results in hitting goals we may have and going under sacrifices our needs for nourishment. The latter is often detrimental to your health, muscle growth and energy. Health goes far beyond our desires for a perfect appearance.
If you’re in the “constantly over” group, here are some tips for you. If you’re constantly under, skip to the next section.
To DECREASE your calories to hit your goal :
- Try adding vegetables where you typically use grains. Skip the toast or pancakes and just go for the veggie scramble with mostly egg whites and a bit of yolk for nutrition. Skip the rice and instead “rice” your cauliflower*. Skip the pasta and stir in spiralized zucchini. You can eat a LOT of veggies without affecting your caloric intake and still feel full and satisfied.
- Skip or reduce the dairy to see a significant impact. Cream in your coffee is giving away your fat intake goals for something not always healthy. Opt for grass-fed butter over typical coffee creamers but keep it in moderation.
- Reduce the size of your portions. Put half of your entree in a to go box before you eat; put away dinner before you begin to graze.
- Pay special attention to fats. Keep good fats where you will taste them – guacamole over oil in the pan; salmon over shredded cheese in your salad.
- Ditch the sugar. Sugars are usually very wasteful calorie expenditures. If you go in for sugar, keep it natural (raw honey, pure maple syrup, coconut sugar and fruit) and keep it in moderation.
- Lastly, opt for water over other drinks. Typically, liquids (beyond water) are often empty calories which give you nothing nutritionally which you can get in more nutritional ways. For instance an orange is far better for you and a glass of orange juice.
To INCREASE your calories:
- Increase whole grains like oatmeal in the morning, brown rice or quinoa salad as a snack or a slice of low-sugar whole grain bread at lunch.
- Increase your portion size, especially the well balanced dishes that include lean protein, good fats and plenty of vegetable carbs.
- Even though vegetables don’t add much to the calorie bottomline, continue to eat them throughout the day for your health. Combine them with good fats like healthy oils, avocados and proteins.
- Add some well chosen fruit to your day – eat it at the right time to burn off the sugar that comes with it. Fruit is great eaten alone as a snack or in a smoothie.
- If you are burning your calories with an active lifestyle, don’t worry about the macros so much. Enjoy those good fats. If you are having trouble losing that last few pound, macros is important, but healthy eating is even moreso!
- Increase your consumption of fatty fish like salmon and tuna. Get your sushi on which combines rice (preferably brown, veggies and raw fish).
- Eat more often: 5-6 times per day if that’s what it takes. While I personally like to fast between 7pm and 7am, excluding my water intake which is all day and evening, packing in the meals to get enough calories in your day takes practice and focus.
Move towards these steps at your own pace and watch the number go in the right direction! Bottom line: get enough calories each day to fuel your body, but keep them in check with your daily burn if you’re concerned about weight gain. Questions, feel free to talk with me!
*By placing cauliflower florets in your food processor and pulsing, you can create a rice sized vegetable replacement.