A sensible eating schedule for most athletes that will keep your appetite in check and reduce total eating is as follows:
7:00 AM -- Breakfast
10:00 AM -- Snack
12:00 PM -- Lunch
3:00 PM -- Snack
6:00 PM -- Dinner
8:30 PM -- Snack (optional)
Eat High-Satiety Foods
Some foods provide more satiety per calorie than others. Foods that provide the most satiety per calorie are those with large amounts of specific nutrients known to activate the body's hunger control signal more effectively than most other nutrients. These "high-satiety" nutrients include fiber, certain proteins, long-chain fatty acids and possibly calcium.
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By including plenty of foods that contain these nutrients in your diet, you will be able to keep your appetite satisfied throughout the day with fewer total calories. Good sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Among the most satisfying proteins are dairy proteins. Dairy products are also great sources of calcium. Among the riches sources of long-chain fatty acids macadamia nuts, almonds, peanuts, olive oil, flaxseed oil and other cold-pressed oils.
The best way to include these foods in your diet for appetite management is in the form of small (150 or fewer calories) pre-meal appetizers consumed 10 minutes before lunch or supper. Good examples are a light, broth-based soup, a garden salad, and whole-wheat crackers with cheese. Research has shown that such appetizers reduce eating in the subsequent meal by as much as 20 percent.
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Resist Social Pressure to Gorge
Over the past 30 years, the number of calories in the average American's diet has increased significantly. This increase is widely believed to have come from increases in portion sizes in restaurant menu items and packaged foods that resulted from substantial decreases in the cost of producing food and competition among food businesses. The combination of this influence and the constant deluge of commercial advertising for food has essentially inflated our appetites--or created a breach between our physical and social appetites for food.
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Researchers such as consumer psychologist Brian Wansink of Cornell University have found that the amount of food we consume is strongly influenced by the accessibility of food, how much food is put in front of us, and social pressure to eat more, including the pressure of commercial advertising. A perfect example of the latter influence is Taco Bell's invention of "fourth meal," a late night meal of fast food that the television viewer is encouraged to add to his or her daily eating routine.
To reduce the effects of food overabundance on your eating, experts generally recommend that individuals train themselves to pay better attention to the physical signs of appetite, hunger and fullness. The goal is to eat only when physically hungry and, when eating, to eat only until comfortably satisfied, never stuffed. As you get a better sense of how much food you really need to satisfy your physical appetite, you can also train yourself to purchase, prepare, serve and order smaller portions that meet this standard without exceeding it.
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