I hate feeling hungry.  After working hard all day long, I want a big dinner that fills me up.  I know I should cut down on my portions to eat less, but when I do, I feel like I didn’t eat enough and want to eat more.  Do you have advice on how I can cut down on calories?

Many of us feel the same way you do.  When we sit down to eat dinner, we want a warm, filling meal that keeps us full all night long.  There are many ways to cut down on calories, but still feel full and still feel like you had a satisfying meal.

Try filling half of your plate with vegetables.  Vegetables are great because they will fill up your stomach, but they are lower calorie and have fewer carbohydrates than rice and beans.  Steamed or roasted vegetables and salads with low fat/low calorie dressing are a great way to fill up your plate and your stomach. 

Another idea is to use a smaller plate.  We eat with our eyes, and when our eyes see a full plate of food, so do our stomachs.  If your plate is a little bit smaller, you will still see and feel a full plate.

After you finish eating, wait 15-20 minutes before taking seconds or having dessert.  If you are still hungry, have a small portion of seconds or dessert and then listen to your body before taking more.

I work long hours and am often eating out.  Do you have any advice on how I can still eat healthy and lose weight?

You are not alone in this challenge.  Many people find themselves needing to eat on the run, and without planning ahead, high-salt, high-fat and high-carbohydrate foods are often very easy solutions.  But with a little planning, you can take control of this situation.

One tip is to pack snacks in advance.  Whole apples and oranges are an easy snack because they don’t need to be refrigerated and can be kept in your vehicle while you’re working.  Peanuts and other nuts can be purchased in advanced and packed into single-serving plastic bags or containers.  They make for a great crunchy and filling snack that also can be kept without refrigeration.

If you can keep things cold at work, consider bringing yogurt or cheese sticks to have available.  They are a great source of calcium and protein and can keep you going until your next meal.

As for meals, most restaurants post their menus and nutrition information online so you can see what is in the food before you buy it.  Looking online before you get to the restaurant and picking what you will eat in advance can help empower you to stick with your healthy decisions.  But if you can’t choose your menu selections ahead of time, remember these simple rules:

1.  Pick entrées with lean meats such as skinless chicken breast or sirloin.

2.  Pick something that is baked or roasted, not fried or sautéed.

3.  Ask for a salad or other vegetable as your side dish instead of rice or potatoes. 

By planning ahead you will find yourself eating healthier and losing weight!

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