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December 11th, 2019

8 Things To Eat When It’s Crunch Time

Only got 72 hours? We got you.

 

8 foods to have in rotation when you’re low on time, and the stakes are high! 

Perhaps this scenario rings a bell. You have something big on the calendar that you are excited about. Actually, excited is an understatement, you are p-u-m-p pumped for the night, and even more-so, to look UNREAL there. Maybe it’s a wedding, or a red carpet invite you scored, or a Halloween party even. The point is, you’ve planned every detail of your look, and you really want to feel good there. You want those jaws to drop when you walk in. But it’s Wednesday, and the event is this weekend, what can you possibly do now to ensure the show stopping look you envisioned is executed to perfection? Just the thought of the ticking clock is anxiety-provoking enough to bloat you (and the thought of feeling puffy in that skintight frock? Hive-inducing! AH!) 

Before you let your imagination go wild, breathe. It may be crunch time, but you got this. You’re going to feel like Britney circa 2001 (yes, the red catsuit) in the outfit you so meticulously planned for the event you have been so eagerly looking forward to. Even if the big day is tomorrow, there’s still time to positively impact how you’ll feel there via what you eat and drink; and no, starving yourself up until go-time to is NOT part of the equation! 

Whether it’s the big birthday party you planned for yourself, a charity gala, a bar/bat mitzvah, engagement party, pool party or NYE white party, these versatile items can help you look and feel like the million bucks you know you are there. Some have extra beauty benefits, some are caloric bargains—all of them can help fill you up. Here’s 8 foods to help you prep for the partay, along with general tips to guide you through crunch time. 

BEFORE WE BEGIN...
Our general weight management tips hold true even when it’s crunch time. You’ve heard these before, but doesn’t hurt to hear them again:

EAT SMALL MEALS THROUGHOUT THE DAY – As logic would dictate: skip meals, save calories, feel thinner come party time. However, this is the opposite of what you want to do as skipping meals can easily backfire. What you do want to do is eat small meals (breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner) throughout the day, to keep metabolism burning efficiently and prevent excessive hunger that can cloud judgment and encourage you to reach for a quick fix sodium and/or high-carb filled snack, or overeat later on. The things listed below are all great for creating small, light meals that will fill you up and sustain you. 

AT THOSE MEALS, IT’S FIBER, AND LEAN PROTEIN – Fiber and protein fill you up, and keep you feeling full. They’re the most effective way for weight management because they’re the two nutrients that do this for the longest period of time, and for the fewest calories. The fuller you feel, the less likely you’ll be to snack unnecessarily or overeat at meals, which is especially helpful when you’re in a slim-down time crunch.

DRINK WATER – Not only does fiber need water to work it’s magic, but drinking more of it is one of the best ways to banish bloat too. Basically, your body retains water to prevent you from getting dehydrated, but if you’re drinking adequate amounts, it will let some go, and that will help flush everything else out too. Water also fills you up, so you tend to eat less, just be sure to stick with flat water, rather than bubbles, which can exacerbate feelings of bloat due to the carbonation.

THE FOODS

SPINACH

For weight loss, dark leafy greens are great because they are low in calories, low in carbs, and have a low glycemic index, yet can provide bulk, so they help to fill you up, without filling you out. A cup of raw spinach has less than 10 calories! Spinach also contains a good amount of potassium, which can help you beat sodium-induced bloat because potassium counterbalances sodium. Potassium-rich foods prevent excess fluid retention and promote electrolyte balance by encouraging the body to excrete sodium through urine. Lastly, spinach is a versatile ingredient to bulk up meals (think salads, steamed as a side, mixed into omelets, stir-fries…) and when stored correctly keeps well for about a week.

HIGH FIBER CRACKERS

Often, when people want to lose weight fast, they cut carbs. In addition to making it more difficult to feel satiated and energized this is problematic because fiber, which helps to fill you up and keep you feeling full, is only found in carbs. But that’s not all fiber does to get you feeling fine come party time. Fiber also helps to keep things moving along smoothly and regularly (if you catch our drift…). If you need it spelled out for you, when you don’t shi*t, you feel like sh*t, and fiber helps move that process along. High fiber crackers, like GG crackers, are a shelf-stable, low carb product that can be used as a replacement for bread. Each GG cracker contains a mere 20 calories and 4 grams of metabolism-boosting fiber, so they’re an effective tool filling you up and meeting your daily fiber needs.

PRO TIP #1
Make dinner the lightest meal of your day. In other words, front-load your day: make breakfast and lunch your biggest meals, then snack and finally dinner should be the lightest. Since you are more active during the morning and afternoon, having larger meals for breakfast and lunch gives your body enough time to work it off whereas at night you are typically not as active. This way you don’t wake up the next day feeling bloated and heavy.

EGG WHITES

Nutritionally, eggs are great, but for quick results, egg whites are even better. By using egg whites instead of whole eggs, you can cut your caloric intake, while still getting adequate protein. Protein is important because its satiating, and thus helps prevent overeating. A 2016 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics concluded that higher protein intake leads to greater feelings of fullness.* Eggs also have some beauty benefits; they have the amino acids necessary to build keratins, so they can help strengthen hair, skin, and nails. Need more convincing? Click here

PRO TIP #2
Slow down on sodium. When you consume salty foods, your body retains water AKA bloat. This is because the body attempts to dilute the sodium in the bloodstream (with water) in order to achieve electrolyte balance. To minimize water retention, skip the salty foods. 

PINEAPPLE

As far as fruits go, pineapple is key to a flat tummy. Pineapple contains the enzyme called bromelain, which reduces inflammation and assists digestion, so it can help to banish bloat. Pineapple is also largely made up of water (85-87%) and contains fiber (2.3g per cup), which promotes regularity and digestion. Pineapple’s high vitamin C content gives it a little beauty benefit too, as vitamin C helps create collagen and healthy, beautiful skin. Have pineapple at breakfast/ earlier in the day, rather than later, as it does contain sugar (16g per cup). By having it earlier in the day, your body is up and moving around to burn it off.

LEMON WATER 

As noted above, drinking water is key.  It helps to fill you up, and we can’t stress this enough, fiber needs it. When fiber combines with water, it forms a soft gel, which leads to firm stools and allows for easy defecation. On the other hand, if you eat a lot of fiber and don’t drink enough water, it can have the opposite effect: constipation. Anyone who’s ever wiggled into a formfitting outfit knows, that’s not a good feeling, whether you have weight to lose or not. Lemon comes into play here because for minimal calories, it adds flavor to water, which encourages drinking more—and discourages drinking other beverages that are less waist-line friendly, or can cause gas and bloating due to carbonation. Studies also suggest that drinking lemon water could reduce appetite because of the polyphenols lemons contain. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, found lemon polyphenols suppressed body weight gain and body fat accumulation.** One last beauty benefit, in flushing out the body’s excess toxins, water also promote clear skin.

GINGER

Another low calorie way to add flavor, and some event prep benefits, is by the use of ginger. The big thing with ginger is that it has anti-inflammatory, de-bloating properties. Ginger relaxes the intestines and reduces inflammation, allowing you to pass food more easily and speeding the breakdown of food. The root is also known to have thermogenic properties, which means it raises your body temperature, so you burn more. Like lemon, ginger can be added to waters or teas, or used to flavor meals (think steamed vegetables, salmon etc.)

ZUCCHINI

When you’re trying to slim down, non-starchy vegetables reign supreme. But when you’re trying to slim down and not take any chances on bloat, you want to go with non-starchy vegetables that have high-water content like zucchini, rather than cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. This is because cruciferous veggies contain raffinose, a compound that tends to produce gassiness, and air trapped inside of you leaves you feeling inflated like a balloon. Zucchini is great because it keeps well in refrigerator for up to two weeks, and it can consumed raw or cooked. Have as crudités, steamed as zoodles, simply grilled. It’s a great, low-calorie, vessel to get a little more fiber into your day. 

SALMON

Whether we’re talking sushi-grade, lox, or simply grilled, salmon is a nutrient dense source of lean protein with reasonable amount of calories. A 3-oz serving of salmon is 177 calories with 17g protein, and 11g fat. These nutrients together promote satiety and curb cravings between meals, and because it’s a lean protein, it’s carb free too. Salmon also contains potassium (365 mg in 1 3-oz serving), which helps with bloat, but perhaps the thing salmon is most known for is its omega 3 fatty acids. Salmon is packed with omega 3s, which help reduce inflammation and improve blood circulation, two things that gives skin a youthful, healthy glow.

PRO TIP #3
Get your beauty sleep. Aside from wanting to look well rested at the party, and have the energy to stay and enjoy yourself, getting ample shuteye can help you eat better and feel better leading up to the event. This is because the amount and quality of your sleep affects the hormones that control feelings of hunger and fullness, and even one night of poor sleep can impact these hormones. Basically, sleep deprivation leads to exaggerated feelings of hunger during day, even if we’ve had enough to eat. Aim for 7.5 hours of sleep to wake looking and feeling well-rested and help prevent you from feeling ravenous the next day.

*Dhillon, Jaapna, et al. “The Effects of Increased Protein Intake on Fullness: A Meta-Analysis and Its Limitations.” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vol. 116, no. 6, 2016, pp. 968–983., doi:10.1016/j.jand.2016.01.003.

**Fukuchi, Yoshiko et al. “Lemon Polyphenols Suppress Diet-induced Obesity by Up-Regulation of mRNA Levels of the Enzymes Involved in beta-Oxidation in Mouse White Adipose Tissue.” Journal of clinical biochemistry and nutrition vol. 43,3 (2008): 201-9. doi:10.3164/jcbn.2008066

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