It's Thursday morning. You are preparing the same breakfast that you've been eating all week. It's one of your favorites so maybe you've been eating it for a few weeks in a row.
Now, the lunch hour hits and you pull out the same broiled chicken with broccoli for lunch. You spent all that time on Sunday meal prepping your lunches for a reason.
The clock hits 3pm and you turn to the same snack that you've purchased and prepped for this week. But you're feeling hungrier than normal. Actually, you are starving. You're thinking, "what is going on? I didn't have these hunger pains earlier in the week and I'm eating the same thing!"
Here may be the problem: you've been eating the same foods all week.
If your meals and snacks lack any key nutrients whether macro (carbs, fats or proteins) or micro (vitamins and minerals), your body will want them until it has been satisfied. Your body will subconsciously ask you to keep eating until it gets enough of those nutrients that it is missing. And it will continue to do this even if other nutrient needs have been met, including calories!
So, if you are dealing with this issues, what is your solution?
1. Varying your meals and snacks throughout the week
2. Checking your meals and snacks to ensure they are getting enough of both macro and micro nutrients.
This is one of the reasons why I encourage women to eat more protein and complete a food journal. Many times, the foods that people consume are not full of enough protein and they eat more calories in search of this missed macro nutrient. Or, their foods are too dense in one type of micro nutrient but miss others such as vitamin B12, calcium and iron. Making sure you have a diverse selection of foods throughout the week will leave you feeling full for longer and help fuel your results.
Here are some strategies to get foods with a mixed nutritional make up:
1. Plan two breakfast and two lunches throughout the week. Let's say you eat Breakfast A and Lunch A on Monday. On Tuesday, you can eat Breakfast B and Lunch A. Moving forward to Wednesday, you could eat Breakfast A and Lunch B. Breakfast B and Lunch B on Thursday and finishing Friday out with Breakfast A and Lunch A again. (I didn't talk about dinners because I'm assuming you would eat a different dinner. If you typically eat leftovers for dinner, try spacing it out one additional evening.)
2. Look at the types of protein, carbs and fats that you consume in a day. If you eat a dense bread for breakfast, try to get quinoa or rice at lunch. Finish the day with a potato or barley. For your protein source, you may eat eggs or yogurt in the morning. At lunch, look for something non animal based such as chickpeas, lentils, nuts, tofu or beans. Finally, dinner could consist of a fish, shellfish, red meat, pork or turkey. Basically, you don't want to eat the same thing all day (i.e. eggs for breakfast, chicken for lunch, another bird for dinner.)
Using these strategies has helped me avoid that mid day and mid week hunger surge. I hope that you have found something that can help you as well!
Thanks for reading!