The breakfast special that curbs afternoon cravings 

Having trouble passing the vending machine without swapping some quarters for an afternoon candy bar? You could try a new route to the copy machine. Or maybe a blindfold (don’t run into the boss!). But we YOU Docs have a simpler solution: Put a little super-satisfying lean protein (like a few walnuts on your cereal, or whey in your green drink) on your breakfast menu. Reinforce it at lunch (just 1 ounce of salmon burger added to your salad is Dr. Mike’s favorite). You’ll craveproof your appetite for hours.

Protein gets its powers from two things. First, your body digests it slowly, keeping your blood-sugar levels low and steady. Result: You feel full and satisfied longer. Second, lean protein in the morning also seems to dial back the way your brain lights up when you see foods you wish you didn’t have a crush on (chocolate glazed doughnuts, salty chips, whatever floats your junk-food boat). Translation: You’ll make it past the desserts and fries without caving.

And here’s a surprise: Despite the many high-protein diets and America’s reputation for devouring burgers, odds are you’re skimping a little on this important food group. Nearly two-thirds of women (63 percent) and one-third of men (32 percent) don’t get the recommended daily protein dose: 5 to 7 ounces’ worth.

So bump it up at breakfast. Some additional suggestions: Try two scrambled eggs (one just egg white) ... peanut butter on whole-grain toast ... even some beans (an old-timey New England breakfast classic that deserves a revival). Who knew the stealth weapon against inch-adding hunger cravings could be so easy?

 

BOOST YOUR MOOD: TRY SOME CULTURE

Wondering whether you should splurge on tickets to the summer Shakespeare festival or to hear Kenny Chesney break some country hearts? Mulling over an invitation to dust off your old clarinet and join the local swing band? Go for it. You’ll reap big mental-health benefits long past the last curtain call.

Enjoying the arts, as a performer or fan (remember your flashlight), can soothe anxiety, zap your risk of depression and make you feel more satisfied with life. Not too shabby a return on the price of a theater ticket or a new set of guitar strings! You’ll benefit every time you say yes to virtually any cultural event you look forward to, high or low, from seeing the latest Kung Fu Panda movie to setting up an exhibit of historical quilts at your town center to taking in a big-city opera production, divas and all. The more you do, the better you’ll feel.

For even bigger returns, get into the act. Singing has amazing health benefits, whether you make it to “American Idol” or not (yeah, we do it in the shower, too). It lowers your blood pressure while boosting levels of the relationship-building hormone oxytocin. In fact, participating in any type of creative activity is great for your health, from square-dancing to painting sets for the local drama group. Your friends, family and neighbors also will get a health lift when they witness your creative output. That’s double the motivation.

 

MAKE YOUR DOCTOR’S VISIT PAY OFF

Here’s a professional secret we want to share with you: We doctors depend on you as much as you depend on us to get you the best possible care. There’s nothing we docs love more than seeing a smart patient (like you) walk into our offices. Have you read about a new treatment? Go on, ask! Bring in articles for us to see. Your being an  informed consumer keeps us on our toes and you in peak health.

Here’s how to get the most out of your next doctor’s visit: Make a list. It’s the most important step: Jot down what made you schedule an appointment. You’d be amazed at what you forget once you’re sitting eyeball to eyeball with a doc. For a jump-start, use the Health Profile form in our book “YOU: The Smart Patient” (or print it out at www.RealAge.com — just search for the book title).

No detail is too small. Describe your symptoms: where, when, how often; what seems to make them better or worse; if anyone else at home or at work has them. Include current and past conditions, dates and medications.

Ask questions. If your doc says you need a diagnostic test, it’s fine to ask why. You can also ask: “Hey doc, what happens if I don’t do it?”

Get a scribble translation. Don’t be shy! If this is a new Rx, ask what all those crazy prescription scribbles mean and if there’s a cheaper generic version that’s just as good. Find out if the newbie could interact with anything else you’re taking (grapefruit juice and vitamins, too).

Funny, you look smarter already!

The YOU Docs, Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen, are authors of “YOU: On a Diet.” Want more? See “The Dr. Oz Show” on TV. To submit questions, go to www.RealAge.com.

 

Protein power

Keeping cravings in check during the day

Breakfast choices
- 2 scrambled eggs with one being just egg white
- Peanut butter on whole-wheat toast
- Beans

Lunch

- Salmon burger with a salad

Other

- Walnuts, whey in green drinks

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