Secrets From a Dietitian’s Kitchen: Invert the Pyramid

4 Feb

If I could give you only one tip- whether you want to lose weight, gain weight, run faster, get stronger, or just have more energy- this would be it.

As I write this, most Americans have already set up their day to eat like a pyramid. They rushed out the door with a measly 100 calorie granola bar in their hand or , worse, rushed out with no intentions of eating breakfast at all! Their briefcase was not equipped with a midmorning snack and lunch was quickly nibbled at their desk. Now they are arriving home totally ravenous, causing them to demolish a bag of chips during dinner prep before inhaling a hefty meal and following up with an impressive primetime TV snack fest.

They’ve eaten like a pyramid- the bulk of their calories fall at the end of the day. This pattern sets you up for failure no matter what your health goals. Eating like a pyramid can lead to poor quality sleep, eating more empty calories, and low energy levels.

So, I’m asking you to invert the pyramid! Eat the bulk of your calories in the first half of your day and taper as the day goes on. Start with a hearty breakfast, a balanced lunch, a healthy snack or two, and a smaller dinner (maybe just one helping instead of two or three?). Relative to your daily calorie needs, your day should look a little something like this:






Easiest ways to invert the pyramid:

  1. Bulk up your breakfast. Add some fruit and yogurt to that cereal or pair your eggs with some avocado and whole grain toast. 
  2. Fill half your dinner plate with veggies. Load pasta and rice dishes with vegetables or serve a salad with dinner every night.

Need more proof?

Are you trying to lose or maintain your weight? Research shows dieters who eat breakfast are more likely to lose and maintain a healthy weight compared to those who skip the most important meal of the day.

Are you an athlete? Elite athletes eat a whopping 20% of their daily calories at their first meal of the day!

I suggest this tip to my clients of all types and it’s usually the first place we start when revamping their diets. I challenge you to refresh your health tomorrow by turning that pyramid upside-down!

Thanks for reading 🙂


One Response to “Secrets From a Dietitian’s Kitchen: Invert the Pyramid”

  1. Alyson February 4, 2013 at 6:24 pm #

    Great post Kayli! I love the idea of visualizing the pyramid to distribute your calories throughout the day! Thanks for sharing!

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