The order of meal components matters

The order of meal components matters

by Ashleigh Feltham
Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist

When it comes to weight loss, losing weight can sometimes be the easiest part. Maintaining a lighter weight is the real challenge. If you have a goal to maintain your weight loss or reduce your body weight, you may know that what makes up your meals and snacks matters. What you may not know is the order in which you eat each component within your meal or snack matters as well.

As a starting point, aim to create a balanced meal. Use a healthy plate model; fill one-quarter of the plate with whole grains, the second quarter with lean protein, and the remaining half is filled with fresh produce like fruit or vegetables. Also included in a healthy plate is a small amount (around 7-14g) of a healthy fat source, like extra virgin olive oil.

The order of meal components matters

It’s important to know that different macronutrients have different satiety effects. Macronutrients are defined as a type of food that is needed in large quantities in your diet for health and proper body function. The three macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates and fat.

Protein is a powerful macronutrient to assist in weight loss and maintenance. Protein increases the feeling of fullness more so than carbohydrates and fat. It does this by increasing thermogenesis in your body or the amount of energy your body burns from eating the protein. In addition to this factor, the building blocks that make up protein, called amino acids and specifically the amino acid leucine, influence your brain to promote feelings of fulness.

Fibre, a type of carbohydrate that cannot be digested by your body, also promotes a feeling of satiety in many ways. This includes slowing the absorption of nutrients like fat into your bloodstream.

Safcol Seafood has a range of recipes available on its website that are a great source of not only protein, thanks to the quality seafood products supplied by Safcol Seafood, but also fibre. Check out the library of snacks and meals for any occasion on the Seafood Experts Website.

Before you enjoy a delicious meal or snack, make the smart choice to enjoy the protein and fibre components first. This will help you to feel fuller faster and for a longer period. Doing so will prevent overindulgence and assist with maintaining healthy body weight.

Take home message

The art of eating is more than just selecting the correct components to make up a meal or snack. The order in which you enjoy your meal could play a major role in increasing satiety and promoting a healthy body weight.


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