An easy meal prep mistake that dieticians say slows down your metabolism

Preparation of meals it can be a great way to save time, be more mindful of what you eat, and even boost your metabolism when choosing healthier ingredients. However, when done wrong, this can have the opposite effect, slowing down your metabolism and/or even leading to weight gain, despite your hard work and efforts.

Dietitians and nutritionists warn of a common mistake many make when preparing meals ahead of time: not adding enough vegetables. We met with health experts: Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, Registered Dietitian at Balance One Supplements and Lisa Richards, Registered Nutritionist and creator of The Candida Diet.

Let’s find out why not adding enough veggies to your meal prep can slow your metabolism/lead to weight gain and how to fix it:

Don’t overlook vegetables – the key to successful meal prep

Skipping vegetables when preparing food is a “common mistake that can contribute to weight gain for several reasons,” explains Best. First, he says “vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber,” which helps “promote satiety and prevent overeating.”

Their high water content also “adds bulk to meals without significantly increasing calorie intake,” she points out. By preparing meals for the week ahead and omitting vegetables, meals “become less filling, leading to a greater likelihood of consuming calorie-dense foods to feel satisfied,” she warns.

Greens are “rich in essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that support overall health,” she points out, so it makes sense that their absence in prepared meals “may result in nutritional imbalance and potential deficiencies.” Furthermore, he says that “vegetables contribute to a balanced and varied diet, supplying a wide range of nutrients and adding flavour, texture and color to meals”.

As for your metabolism, Best notes that “every person has a unique metabolism, the rate at which they burn calories, and for most people, that’s about 2,000 calories a day.” That means your body requires a certain amount of calories to perform its normal functions at an optimal level, he adds.

Simply put, when you exceed this number, it “leads to weight gain,” and when you consume less than this number, it leads to “weight loss,” Best continues. This weight loss is short-lived, however, because the body “will adjust to just receiving fewer calories,” she says.

“Thus, it will slow down the amount of calories it needs to conserve energy and stave off hunger. This essentially means that you’re slowing down your metabolism,” Best points out.

A simple solution: the food diary

If you want to successfully prepare meals and promote a faster metabolism, Richards notes that “food journaling, or keeping track of what you eat and drink, has many potential benefits.”

First off, she claims that “the food diary can help you become more aware of what you eat and drink on a daily basis.” This can help you identify patterns, such as “overeating or consuming too many foods or nutrients.”

Keeping a food diary can also “help you be accountable to yourself and your health goals,” adds Richards. “It can also help you identify areas where you may need to make changes to your diet or lifestyle.”

Writing down what you eat and preparing your meals can “help you set and track progress towards specific goals, such as eating more fruit and vegetablesreducing your intake of processed foods or increasing your water intake,” she continues.

Ultimately, the food diary can “help you identify specific situations or triggers that may be contributing to poor eating habits,” concludes Richards, allowing you to strategize about addressing these issues. “Tracking progress in a food diary can be motivating and provide a sense of accomplishment as you work toward your health goals,” adds Richards. (The more you know!)

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