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What do I do when… it’s 6 p.m., I’m out of calories for the day, and I’m starving?

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Learn the healthiest way to stay on track with your plan when you’ve already passed your calorie goal for the day. By: Carolyn Williams, PhD, RD

We’ve all done it – had more than we should at lunch, grabbed a soda during a 3 p.m. energy low, or finally given in to the birthday cake that’s been calling from the break room. Regardless of the cause, you’ve already reached your recommended calories for the day, and it’s not even dinnertime yet. So, what do you do? 

The best thing to do is to get right back on track and make the healthy meal that you’d originally planned for dinner that night.

To compensate for the extra calories you consumed earlier in the day, you have a few options:

  • If you’re not as hungry, then minimize your portions or skip the bread, rice, or any other starch.
  • If you are hungry, replace the starch with a steamed or roasted vegetable such as broccoli, green beans, zucchini, squash, carrots, or Brussels sprouts. All of these are very low in calories but filling, because they are high in fiber.
  • If you want to eat your full dinner as planned, then exercise an extra 10 to 15 minutes that day and the next to help burn those extra calories you consumed.