Mind, Body & Spirit Diet Guidelines

By EatingWell Editors

Keep your energy levels up by following these guidelines from the nutrition experts at EatingWell.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you! I know it isn't rocket science...but understanding why someone my be an emotional eater...that it is linked chemically in releasing neurotransmitters...well it is freeing. I don't mean to be dramatic...but...

Strive for balance

Be sure your meals include some lean high-protein foods with plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Such foods take longer to digest, keep you satisfied longer and are more likely to keep you feeling energized and productive. Overall, protein should make up 15 percent of your calories, fat should make up 30 percent or less and grains about 55 percent.

It’s especially important to get some protein at lunch to avoid that afternoon slump since protein contains amino acids, such as tyrosine, the building block for alertness-boosting neurotransmitters (brain chemicals that relay signals between nerve cells).

Include plenty of high-quality carbohydrates, such as vegetables, fruit, beans, brown rice and whole-grain bread or pasta. Be sure to choose wisely, especially if you’re running on overdrive: stress often leads to a craving for carbohydrates because they boost serotonin, which has a calming effect. When you’re in that state it’s easy to succumb to chips, cookies, pretzels or other highly refined carbohydrate snacks.

If you’re craving carbs, reach for so-called “good carbs” like whole grains and fruits, which give you a nutritional boost in the bargain. Good snacks to have on hand are whole-grain granola bars, fresh or dried fruits and whole-grain crackers. Choosing the right carbohydrates can help increase the nutritional content of your meals and snacks.

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