As I approach age 40, I’ve noticed a progressive shift in my metabolism over the past decade. This has prompted me to dig a little deeper into what affects our metabolism as we age and what can be done about it in terms of what we eat.
As we age, we have a tendency to move less. We become less active yet often consume the same amount of calories. If we don’t adjust our eating habits accordingly, the excess energy is stored as fat. This gradual shift can pack on the pounds. Less activity leads to less muscle mass. Less muscle mass leads to a lower metabolic rate because muscles consume more energy than fat. This pattern continues if we don’t increase our activity level or address our diet. Maintaining your activity level and adjusting your diet according to what you actually need for energy will help keep calories from adding up to inches.
There are a few things we can control when it comes to what we eat. The number of calories consumed should be relative to how active you are. I’ve found that I often eat out of habit because it’s “time to eat” rather than because I’m actually hungry. Based on this realization, I’ve been trying to really pay attention to my body cues (particularly in the less active winter months), eat only if I’m hungry, and make what I eat count. High nutrient value foods, like vegetables, combined with protein will provide your body with the necessary nutrient base to help keep muscle mass stable. High-quality nutrition results in increased energy and when you feel energized, more activity comes naturally.
Jump start your metabolism for the day with a healthy protein and nutritionally dense breakfast. Instead of carbs providing your morning energy, this low carb spinach artichoke ricotta frittata provides energy from fats. This protein-packed breakfast with eggs and dairy support muscle maintenance and keep you feeling full longer. Pairing this frittata with a cup of fresh fruit will complete your meal and provide additional fiber.
Spinach Artichoke Ricotta Frittata
Calories 349, Protein 27g, Carbs 10g, Fat 23g
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
1 cup spinach, chopped
3 small artichoke hearts, chopped
1/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic or garlic powder
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal (ground flaxseed)
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese (plus more to sprinkle on top)
Sprinkle of salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a small ovenproof sauté pan (6” works well), heat spinach with a small amount of olive oil on the stovetop until wilted.
Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk until slightly frothy.
Add all remaining ingredients to the eggs and pour into the pan with the spinach.
Bake frittata about 15 minutes until eggs are set and no longer jiggly in the center.
Note: this recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, etc. for more servings. You will need to increase the size of your pan and the cooking time will also increase.