- A 42-year-old man submitted an average day of eating to be reviewed for Insider’s Nutrition Clinic.
- A dietitian said to eat more protein and fiber, and an extra snack.
- If you’d like to have your diet reviewed by an expert, fill out this form.
Tony, 42, submitted his eating routine to Insider’s Nutrition Clinic, where qualified dietitians and registered nutritionists offer advice on readers’ eating habits.
He told Insider his goal is to “lose belly fat and move towards a six-pack.”
“I work in investment management so spend most of my time sitting,” Tony said. “I do take walks occasionally. I’ve been good with doing HIIT/cardio six times a week consistently for two years, averaging 30 to 40 minutes each session. I’m out and about on weekends too, so I have a fairly active lifestyle.”
Dietitian Keri Glassman told Insider that Tony needs to make sure he’s drinking enough water to keep his energy levels high, and eat plenty of protein to keep him full and boost muscle growth. She recommended adding a high-protein snack, such as two hard-boiled eggs and peppers, four slices of turkey with cucumbers, or a protein smoothie, to his day.
It’s impossible to spot-reduce fat, so to lose fat from your belly you need to lose weight overall, which comes from being in a calorie deficit: consuming fewer calories than you burn over the course of the day.
Focus on protein and fiber at breakfast
For breakfast, Tony usually has a bowl-sized Chobani yogurt with flaxseed and sesame powder, and pistachios or almonds. Some days he has a blueberry muffin. He drinks a sugar-free coffee with almond milk.
While Tony’s breakfast provides a good amount of protein, Glassman recommends mixing it up with larger, high-protein meals too, such as a four-egg omelet with vegetables and a slice of sourdough.
“You want to eat protein throughout the day, however, starting the day with protein is critical,” Glassman said.
For this reason, it’s best to keep the blueberry muffin as an occasional breakfast, or consider cutting it in half and eating with a couple of hard-boiled eggs to boost the protein and minimize blood sugar spikes, Glassman said.
“Breakfast lays the foundation for the day, providing satiety, blood sugar control, and hunger management for the rest of the day (when you choose the right nutrients),” Glassman said, so she recommended focusing on protein, nutrient-dense foods, healthy fats, and fiber to keep you full.
Limit instant noodles and focus on protein and whole foods
For lunch, Tony eats avocado on toasted wheat bread with lean turkey breast slices. About once a week he has instant noodles or leftover take-out from Chinese restaurants, which is often a mixture of chicken, beef, salted vegetables, and stir-fried rice, he said.
Glassman recommended swapping wheat bread for sprouted grain bread for an extra protein boost, eating enough turkey (at least six slices), and considering adding a side salad for extra fiber and antioxidants.
She also advised keeping the instant noodles to a minimum as they don’t contain a lot of nutrients, and when he eats Chinese take-out, opting for brown rice and doubling up on vegetables.
“Being a bit more consistent with his healthy lunches will be very helpful,” Glassman said.
Fill your plate with protein and vegetables
For dinner, Tony has oven baked fish, grilled chicken, or steak with vegetables cooked in olive oil and a small bowl of mixed grains and brown rice. Sometimes he has leftover Chinese or Korean food, he said.
Glassman said Tony’s dinners sound great, he might just benefit from looking at his portion sizes of each part of the meal, perhaps needing more protein and vegetables, and a smaller portion of rice.
Eat protein as a night-time snack
In the evening, Tony has another sugar-free coffee with almond milk, occasionally a bar of chocolate coated vanilla ice cream, 20 to 30 salt and pepper chips, or some lightly salted pistachio nuts, he said.
Glassman recommended having a nutrient-dense, high-protein snack before bed to promote muscle growth overnight. Try a protein smoothie with Greek yogurt, or cottage cheese with berries, she said.
The advice in this article isn’t a substitute for a professional medical diagnosis or treatment.
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