Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a poor man: the nutritionist's tips to recharge your batteries
Food choices can affect our mental states. It is enough to reflect on the way we eat during the day to understand what are the mechanisms that lead us to be tired, apathetic, with poor concentration and vitality. In this context, a prominent place belongs to the action performed by blood sugar, whose levels can affect the energy state and mood.
But what are the food errors that cause these sensations? We interviewed Dr. Tatiana Gaudimonte, a nutrition biologist in Zurich and Milan enrolled in the National Order of Biologists and ASCA recognized therapist (Swiss Association for Complementary Medicine). The expert reveals to us how a correct combination of nutrients can help us counteract the loss of energy and keep us focused during working hours.
- The importance of breakfast
- Snacking is not always necessary
- Be careful what you eat for lunch
- For dinner, 2 portions of vegetables
- The "typical day"
The importance of breakfast
"I know many people who, out of haste or out of habit, wake up, drink a coffee and leave," says the expert. “It's like having a Ferrari in reserve and thinking about letting it travel 200 km. The number one mistake is therefore to skip breakfast, an important meal to fill up on energy ". A meal that, according to a recent edition of the research "I start well" by the Doxa / UnionFood Observatory, sees dessert as the protagonist, needless to say. In fact, those who opt for savory stop at 1-2% of the total.
"However, it is good to specify – continues the expert – that when it is composed only of simple carbohydrates and sugars, after a certain period of time, even after only 30 minutes, we will have a glycemic peak which will be followed by a 'reactive hypoglycemia' (i.e. a lowering the concentration of glucose in the blood ed) which will produce effects about 2 hours after the meal ". The result? "A wolf hunger and little resistance to stress", assures the nutritionist.
"To avoid the glycemic peak, which makes me crackle for 10 minutes and which afterwards can lead to tiredness, poor concentration and decreased mood, breakfast must be tripartite, ie divided into three similar 'piles' in volume:
"In addition to the tripartite division – emphasizes Dr. Gaudimonte – quality is important: fried bacon also contains proteins, but it is certainly not a food to be preferred in everyday life, since it also contains a high dose of saturated fats, trans fats and salt. Better to bring to the table 2 soft-boiled eggs or vegetable proteins such as those contained in a handful of nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews …), as long as it is natural, not roasted and unsalted ".
Snacking is not always necessary
“A meal of this type – adds the nutritionist – needs 3-4 hours to be digested, so there is no need to have a snack. Furthermore, every time we eat we stimulate the secretion of insulin, which is an "anabolic" hormone, that is, it promotes mass building and accumulation, while during fasting its antagonist, glucagon, a "catabolic" hormone, is activated. that is, it stimulates the use of reserve substances to produce energy ".
So no to sweet snacks in the morning.
Be careful what you eat for lunch
But it is especially after lunch that the game is played. Raise your hand if you have not experienced a strong feeling of drowsiness after a nice plate of abundant pasta, perhaps followed by a dessert. The reason? It's always the same: a blood sugar spike that causes overproduction of insulin. "To this – explains the nutritionist – another aspect is added: except that gluten is tolerated by most people, it should be noted that it is found in higher concentration in refined products such as pasta and, moreover, it is taken by many too often. The continuous exposure of the same antigen to the immune system associated with the intestinal mucosa can influence the immune response, moving it from complete tolerance to a chronic low-grade pro-inflammatory response. Low grade means that it doesn't necessarily give symptoms, but can generate drowsiness and lack of energy ”.
“Furthermore, if we feed monotonously with substances rich in gluten, in our microbiota we select a population of intestinal bacteria that produce the so-called gluteomorphins, molecules that, in addition to generating a feeling of drowsiness, are addictive. That's why it seems we can't do without pasta and bread! Even in lunch, therefore, we must adopt the principle of three piles – advises Dr. Gaudimonte – bearing in mind that there are many carbohydrate sources, not just pasta. Potatoes, legumes, grains such as brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat and millet are good. Preferably eaten in grain (and not in the refined version), which has a lower glycemic impact.
For dinner, 2 portions of vegetables
In the last meal of the day, however, we can reduce the carbohydrate part, increasing the vegetables, but always consuming a portion of protein.
“Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a poor man”, therefore, as a famous popular saying goes. But what about those who are not used to having breakfast in the morning? Planning is the watchword, assures the nutritionist. “Many people are in a hurry, they don't dedicate the right time to a meal,” says Dr. Gaudimonte. "Furthermore, those who do not eat enough in the morning then find themselves hungry in the evening, eating more food than they should and overloading the digestive system". In addition, if after dinner the body finds itself having large quantities of lipids and glucose available, it will tend to deposit them in the adipocytes as stocks instead of using them immediately as a source of energy as it happens during the day, directing the body towards a accumulation of weight and body fat. It is therefore healthy and natural to suggest a moderate diet in the evening as far as possible from the time you go to sleep.
“We remember that there are no foods that alone are medicine. We must pay attention to how they are combined with each other. If we follow a seasonal diet, if we start eating different things every day, if we get used to taking breaks during the day to do physical activity, all this together will lead not only to better physical and mental efficiency, but also to greater endurance. to stress, concludes the expert ".
The "typical day"
BREAKFAST (vegetarian variant): sugar-free cereal flakes; 1 vegetable drink; 1 handful of almonds or walnuts or other unroasted and unsalted nuts; 1 generous portion of seasonal fruit (tangerines, kiwi, orange …)
(omnivorous variant): 2 slices of wholemeal toast; 2 poached eggs; 3 tangerines
LUNCH: 1 portion of chickpeas; 1 salmon fillet; 1 fennel salad
DINNER: 1 portion of abundant mixed vegetable soup (for example prepared with cabbage, broccoli, pumpkin, leek, fennel); 1 serving of protein (such as tofu with almonds, walnuts or cashews) or 1 turkey breast; 1 serving of carbohydrates (1 handful of brown rice or 1 small potato to put in the vegetable soup).