Go ahead and have a slice of (turkey) bacon with your eggs at breakfast in exchange for higher-fat items later in the day. This simple switch, as part of a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may actually help support heart health. In a new study published in the International Journal of Obesity, mice that ate a high-fat breakfast weighed less and had lower body fat than mice that ate similarly high-fat meals later in the day. Plus, the mice that nibbled high-fat meals close to bedtime had abnormal blood-sugar levels and high triglycerides, both of which work against maintaining heart health. Yes they’re mice, and what works in mice doesn’t always apply to humans, but this study provides food for thought.
“The enzymes your body needs to break down fat are most active after you wake up,” says Molly Bray, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health and author of the study. “And the ones needed to store fat are most active at the end of the day.” So take advantage of your body’s natural fat-burning cycle: Front load your day with higher healthy-fat foods and shift to lower-fat foods as the hours wear on.
Here is a sample healthy meal plan to help you eat healthier all day long—and using Smart Balance® products can make it even easier:
Breakfast: Two Smart Balance™ Omega-3 Grade A Natural Large Eggs; 1 slice of whole-wheat toast with a tablespoon of Smart Balance® Buttery Spread Original or Smart Balance® Rich Roast Peanut Butter; half-cup of orange juice.
Lunch: Turkey and cheese sub with a tablespoon of Smart Balance® Omega Plus™ Light Mayonnaise Dressing, lettuce and tomato; 1 package of light potato chips; apple slices (3 ounces); 1 can diet soda.
Snack: Smart Balance® Smart ‘n Healthy™ Deluxe Microwave Popcorn; or try vegetables with yogurt dip (half-cup each of celery, cucumber, broccoli and cherry tomatoes, plus half-cup low-fat yogurt).
Dinner: Roasted skinless chicken breast (3 ounces); mixed salad with low-fat dressing; 1-cup broccoli; 1 orange. Skinless light-meat chicken or turkey; many species of fish are ideal for lunch or dinner, since they’re typically low in fat.
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