Examples of high protein low sugar alternatives

One main idea here is that you don't need to be hungry to lose weight.

What you do need to do is make better food choices (more protein and less sugar -- including snacks and desserts), exercise more, eat high-protein snacks and desserts, and drink water (or low calorie substitutes) right before you are feeling that you are about to eat anything.

This is real advice from a real person who reduced his weight by 47 pounds in 15 months. I am now actually well below my original weight goals — so I know this works. I struggled with my weight for over 30 years before coming up with this combination of techniques. You don't have to put up with the feelings of being fat and the stress that it puts on your heart, knees, feet, and self-confidence. 

This isn’t a quick fix or “magic bean” — so this isn’t the key if you have to be 8 to10 pounds lighter next week. (If you do need to lose 8-10 pounds by next week, you may want to try https://www.optavia.com/ I used the Optavia program for a month during my diet and have adopted many of the 12 ideas below from that program.) This article, also, doesn’t promise results without behavior changes.

However, you will feel better about yourself and start seeing results within a few days if you follow this advice.

This “program” is highly doable and sustainable — if you will just look at the principles behind each point and customize it to fit your particular lifestyle and preferences.

One great thing about today's world is that you don't even need to give up chocolate, sweet drinks, pancakes, or bread to lose weight! You just have to shop for the right products. For example, there is a high-protein pancake mix named "Kodiak"  that is excellent -- but just don't put butter and a massive amount of syrup on them! Add blueberries instead. There is sugar-free ketchup. There is "Skinny Girl" salad dressing that is only 20 calories per salad! Quest has chocolate peanut butter cups with high protein and almost no sugar -- eat away! Dave's Killer Bread (and many bagels, FYI) have high protein, lots of fiber, and minimal sugar. Nuts are so good for you. Water is incredibly important for your brain and any sports success. Get it? Why eat traditional brands? Your whole family will benefit.

 So, what do you need to do — and why? Here are 12 ideas that I hope you will find helpful, almost hunger-free, somewhat easy to implement in your own way, and affordable:

1. Water, water, water: Drink 64 ounces a day, but, most importantly, whenever you feel hunger pangs and immediately before any meals (especially at restaurants) and snacks (see “mini-meals” below).

  • Immediately “treat” any feelings of hunger with a large glass of water first. You may not feel hungry at all after drinking the water! Even if you are still hungry, you most certainly won’t eat as much as you would have without drinking the water first.
  • If you feel that you are going to binge, “drink away” first!
  • I drink a large glass of water when I first get up in the morning, and it actually makes me feel better and more awake in the AM!
  • Later in the day, many people eat candy or chips to give themselves an energy boost when they really just needed to drink some free no-calorie water.

Water is your big friend if you are trying to lose weight.

By the way, no one ever told me that I shouldn't try to quench my thirst with milk -- even low fat milk. This may sound stupid to you, but it never occurred to me that running 6 miles in 90+ degree heat was being offset by downing a gallon of whole milk after a "run". Now, just in case you think I'm the only dumb one here, look at the amount of sugar in regular Gatorade -- 21 grams in 12 ounces! Why not grab the new G2 stuff and avoid negating all of your hard work? (Milk also has a lot of sugar, FYI -- but it also has a lot of protein for you linebacker types who are trying to bulk up.) 

2. Water variety: Add variety to your water so you don’t dread drinking so much. Lemon added to water adds no calories. Coffee and tea have minimal calories. Try Coke Zero or equivalent. There are many delicious 1 or 2 calorie flavored drinks available for about $1/bottle these days. Bai brand has drinks that are pretty much like drinking a Pina Colada. In fact, we have found Nature’s Twist with 5 calories at Sam’s Club for under 50 cents a bottle. Experiment with which ones you love and which ones you don’t need to buy again. Make sure you look for minimal or zero grams of sugar. Make sure several choices are always on hand (including in your car). Indulge yourself. Drink these in a wine or cocktail glass for your first 2 or 3 drinks at “cocktail hour” if you drink alcohol. Refill generously. You will drink far less alcohol as a result.

3. Meals and “mini-meals”: Eat 6 times a day. Breakfast (250 to 300 calories), mid-AM (100 to 200 calories), lunch (250 to 300 calories), mid-PM (100 to 200 calories), dinner (1000 to 1400 calories), and evening dessert (100 to 200 calories). If you are a woman, smaller, or in a hurry to lose weight, you will have to use the lower of the two numbers of calories for each meal. Between the water and these meals, you will almost never be hungry if you focus on high-protein foods. Don’t skip any of these meals, but eat smaller portions for a meal or “mini-meal” if you don’t feel hungry. Your body will not feel like it is starving if you do this — and metabolism levels will stay higher as a result. If you starve yourself, the body will shut down your metabolism and you won’t be able to lose. If you need to snack in-between, eat dill pickles, spoons of salsa, celery (with hot sauce?), kale, etc.

4. Eating pace vs. eating race:

  • One of my major issues was finishing my meal before others — and then having seconds to give myself something to do.
  • I would also not feel “full” after speed-eating.
  • This must be applied to eating at home and at restaurants.
  • Now, I eat one forkful at a time, put my fork down, chew and swallow completely, and, then, get the next bite. You will be very pleased with how well this works socially and for “fullness” if you will try it.
  • I would also sling large handfuls of nuts or candy into my mouth at once. Now, I eat one or two nuts at a time — chewing and swallowing each before having another.
  • You can even eat MM’s like this if you simply have to have about ten of them before bedtime -- but why not eat a Quest peanut butter cup 1/4th at a time instead?

5. Brush your teeth often: Especially after dinner — not waiting until bedtime. The taste of the toothpaste somehow signals that eating is over. The more often we brush, the less likely we are to graze, snack or binge.

6. High protein and low carb/sugar/fat: Find foods, including candy and ice cream substitutes, with high protein content and minimal carbs, sugar, and fat. Here is the ketone-like element of this plan — except for the low-fat advice. (Why would anyone purposely eat fat calories when you can go lean and mean?) The protein-rich foods are longer-term satisfying and make one’s body have to work harder to metabolize. Shop for the higher quality, in terms of protein to sugar/fat ratios — and substitute equally delicious foods. There are hundreds of examples.

  • Choose protein bars vs candy bars when you “need” something sweet and chocolate. Imagine a diet where you can eat lots of "candy bars"!  The secret here is that high-protein actually satisfies (like the Snickers ads) -- without the useless sugar calories. There are some great-tasting ones out there. As mentioned, Quest has a great almost-no-sugar-high-protein peanut butter cup for Reese’s fans.
  • Drink tasty protein shakes (avoid certain varieties of Ensure drinks that have very high sugar, however) vs. milkshakes. Put them in the freezer for 20 minutes and pour them into a glass for a real milkshake experience https://www.pureprotein.com/
  • Eat oatmeal (even flavored) with Sweet-and-Low vs. Honey Nut Cheerios (and many other high-sugar-but-marketed-as-healthy kinds of cereal, by the way).
  • Buy high-protein tortilla wraps vs. bread or low-protein-high-sugar wraps. Look at the ingredients to see the difference.
  • Eat Flex chips vs. standard or kettle potato chips.
  • Eat Canadian bacon vs traditional bacon.
  • Buy low-fat Swiss cheese for your cheese “needs”.
  • Eat nuts vs. crackers for snacks.
  • Buy lactose-free ice cream vs. regular (or, even, sugar-free in many cases--look at the labels).

Each of these choices may save you 50% of the calories and provide you with much better hunger-reduction. Use sites like https://www.myfooddata.com/ to help you. These foods are out there, but you have to look. You can easily find yourself consuming 200% to 500% more protein with the same calories and 20% of the carbs/sugars/fat.

7. Condiment substitutes: Wean yourself away from high-fat high-calorie creamy dressings, dip, and condiments. Salsa has zero calories. Mustard vs. mayo. Vinaigrette vs. creamy ranch or blue cheese dressing. As mentioned, there is even sugar-free ketchup! You don't have to give this up. A-1 sauce and Worchestershire sauces have lower calories and sugar than regular ketchup. Personally, I love hot sauce and it adds great punch to salads and sandwiches (wraps) for zero calories. You can save 500 calories a day by doing this — and not even notice it. If you can man-up enough to handle the name, "Skinny Girl" is great salad dressing with no compromise on taste.

8. Bread, cereal, crackers, chips, and white potato substitutes: Take a look at the ingredients of any of these — even the healthier versions. Most are full of sugars and carbs for minimal protein. I no longer eat toast, sandwiches, rolls, garlic bread, etc. unless they comply with my high protein, low sugar, and high fiber mix requirements.

  • I eat soft tortilla shells offering a great combination of low sugar and high protein (e.g. Xtreme Wellness by Ole Mexican Foods).
  • Stay away from breakfast cereals laced with sugar (and most of them are, unfortunately) when you could eat oatmeal instead.
  • Eat nuts, cheese, shrimp, etc. vs. crackers. Eat all the shrimp, nuts, beef, or cheese on hors d'oeuvres platters and leave the crackers, beans, and dip.
  • Buy Flex protein crisps vs. traditional potato chips.
  • Double or triple up on green vegetables.
  • Eat a long-cooked sweet potato “plain” vs. eating a whole white potato loaded with butter.

9. Alcohol: Drink less. As mentioned above, drink water or water substitutes before your first alcoholic drinks of the day. These are primarily empty calories, but, most significantly, alcohol reduces your diet self-discipline. Hard liquor has fewer sugars and far fewer calories than either wine or beer. If you drink spirits, beer, or wine, you need to count these drinks in your daily calorie count. Lighten up on your “mini-meals” if you’ve had a few drinks -- but don’t consider an alcoholic drink to be one of your meals or “mini-meals”.

10. Restaurants:

  • Drink lots of water beforehand and when seated.
  • Always get water with your meal and drink it.
  • Order wisely.
  • Skip the free bread and chips.
  • Skipping the appetizer and soup is a good idea in most cases — or just order an appetizer as your entree. You have no idea how many calories there are in a harmless bowl of restaurant soup.
  • Apply lowest-calorie condiments.
  • Pick leaner meats.
  • Make low-carb vegetable choices.
  • Cut your servings in half when the plate arrives as a set aside for a doggie bag. Become a big doggie bag person — which gives you a ready-made meal for the next day and literally cuts your restaurant calories in half.
  • Pace vs. race to make sure you aren’t just sitting there while everyone else is still enjoying their meal.
  • Lighten up on the calories the next day, but still eat your 6 meals.
  • Take a look at: http://www.ketofinder.com/

11. Exercise: This is critical to your success, but I saved it for near the end because the idea is so off-putting for many people already struggling with being in shape. Start small. Don’t overdo it. The-more-the-better as long as you don’t injure yourself and have to lay off for several weeks as a result of overdoing it. Just walk if nothing else. Get a decent “magnetic” rowing machine so you have something to exercise on when the weather is bad. You can make a more significant investment, of course, but be sure to try the equipment out before spending thousands of dollars. Play your favorite sport, but don’t push it so hard that it is painful. Losing weight without exercising may drop pounds, but you won’t be happy with your body shape and energy levels if you don’t exercise to strengthen your muscles. If you are already exercising, try to increase it by 10 or 20%. Make sure you don’t over-exert yourself or do things that leave you injured — and find yourself sidelined for weeks with extra inactive time on your hands. You may want to buy a Fitbit (or equivalent) to give yourself an idea of your real activity level — or lack thereof.

12. Serve/help/care/work longer and harder: If you have too much idle time, you will have more time to think about eating and food. Find more useful things to do than ever before. Learn a new skill. Volunteer. Take on an extra project at work. There are many other benefits to doing this, of course!

Best wishes with this and everything good you do in life!

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