Ask the RD- Part 1

One of our primary goals when starting this blog was to help provide accurate nutrition information. As I’m sure you’re aware, there is plenty of information about the latest and greatest diet, pill, vitamin, protein powder, exercise class etc. Without a solid understanding of human nutrition, this information can be hard to sort through to find fact vs fiction. In addition, things are constantly changing. Throughout our careers, we have been asked numerous questions, though some seem to continually come up. We wanted to start a series, Ask the RD, addressing some of the common questions that have come up! Feel free to email or comment below if you have a question you would like answered!

ask the rd

 1. How late should I eat?

There is not really a cut off time for eating, overall amount of calories consumed in a day versus calories expended in a day are what influences weight loss and weight gain. Its simple, if you eat more calories than you burn, your body will store the extra energy (calories) as fat- resulting in weight gain. If you consume less calories than you expend (burn), your body will break down stored fat to utilize for energy- resulting in weight loss.

Eating too soon before bed or too late at night can have other effects, but is not directly associated with weight gain. Those with acid reflux want to avoid eating too close to bed, as symptoms will be worse. Generally, eating late at night means snacking after you have already had your meals for the day- this is a common reason why eating late is associated with weight gain; however, the weight gain does not occur because of the time you ate- it occurs becasue your intake exceeds your expenditure.
2. How many meals a day should I eat?

It’s important to eat three meals a day to maintain your metabolism. Your body uses glucose as a primary fuel source for your brain, muscles and other metabolic functions. It is important to provide this fuel at regular intervals throughout the day, to replace the energy you have used. I often hear people ask if they should be consuming six small meals per day instead of three larger meals. This is more of a personal preference. Many people assume that they will lose weight by eating six small meals; however, this can backfire-and actually result in weight gain- if portions are not closely monitored. For some, eating six times a day is not feasible with their daily schedule, so three meals will work better. For others, eating more frequently is better. Overall,  a minimum of three meals daily will help to maintain a healthy metabolism and keep your body fueled with the energy it needs for the metabolic functions as well as any physical activity.


3. What are the three healthiest foods I can purchase on a budget?

Budget is a common barrier to eating healthy, but it doesn’t have to be with some planning and preparation.  The most nutrient dense meal for the lowest cost would likely be brown rice and beans. Dry brown rice and dried beans are extremely budget friendly, and provide a host of nutrients, including protein. Other protein containing grains, such as quinoa, are slightly more expensive, but relatively inexpensive when compared to meat.  Natural peanut/ almond butter are nutrient dense foods that provide healthy fats and protein. With a small serving size of 2 tbsp, a jar will go a long way! Lastly, frozen fruits and vegetables can be a great way to save money- they provide just as much nutrition as the fresh stuff, but are generally significantly cheaper and don’t expire like fresh produce. 

4. What do you suggest to eat when you crave something sweet?

Sugar cravings can be intense, and yes, I speak from experience! For me, sugar free gum and a walk usually quell my cravings. If im still craving something sweet, ill try a flavored water (LaCroix is great!), tea with lemon, or coffee. Hot chocolate is another great alternative (prepare it with water for the fewest calories), as one packet usually contains less than 100 calories, depending on the brand. Hard candies and mint flavored candy- like a York peppermint patty- can also help quell the cravings. Lastly, satisfy your craving with a small portion. Sometimes this is the best option, if you know exactly what you are craving. 

5. What are some things that can help you stay fuller for longer?

Eating balanced meals that provide adequate fiber, protein and fat are key to staying full. Carbohydrates are quickly and easily digested, where as protein and fat take longer to digest. Fiber is considered indigestible and moves slowly throughout the GI tract- therefore keeping you feeling satiated. Hydration is another key in feeling satisfied. Many times hunger is mistaken for thirst. Make sure to drink at least 64 oz of water per day to stay hydrated (plus more if you are physically active or sweating a lot). 

Be sure to check back for more upcoming Ask The RD posts and be sure to comment or email with any questions you would like answered!

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  1. […] back today answering more of your questions with another installment of Ask the RD! If you missed Ask the RD part 1, be sure to check it […]

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