Hunger is unpleasant and often prompts people to eat unhealthy foods. This increases your calorie intake and makes it hard to lose or manage your weight. To ward off untimely hunger pangs and binge eating, you need to re-plan your diet.
By including foods that keep you feeling full for a longer time, you can control the desire to eat more.
To silence your grumbling stomach without consuming extra calories, you need to focus on lean protein-rich foods, carbohydrates from whole grains and water-rich fruits and vegetables.
- Protein is the most satiating and it takes more time for digestion and absorption.
- Carbohydrates are the next most satiating foods, due to their high fiber content.
- Fiber adds bulk to the stools and prevents constipation. Plus, it helps fill the stomach and you feel full sooner. Fruits and vegetables that are high in water content usually contain fewer calories. Such foods can also increase satiety.
The more satisfied you feel after a meal, the less you’ll feel hungry before your next meal. This will help prevent you from making poor snack choices.
Eat an apple about half an hour before a meal and you will surely eat less. The high fiber and water content in apples help fill you up.
Furthermore, the pectin in them helps prevent blood sugar spikes that spur hunger. Being low in calories, you will not even have to worry about your calorie intake.
A 2009 study published in the Appetite journal notes that a whole apple increases satiety more than applesauce or apple juice.
An apple is one of the best mid-morning or afternoon snacks. So, don’t forget to carry an apple in your bag when you go out. Be sure to chew it thoroughly and eat it with its skin to enjoy all the health benefits.
Note: Always go for organic apples and make sure you wash them thoroughly before eating.
Oatmeal is an excellent source of fiber, hence it provides excellent satiety. It even increases the appetite-regulating hormones, which helps control hunger. As an added bonus, oatmeal contains protein and is also low in fat.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition notes that oatmeal’s high fiber content and protein help keep you satisfied longer than ready-to-eat breakfast cereal.
Make oatmeal with low-fat or fat-free milk and have it for breakfast. You can even top it with fruits and nuts.
3. Greek Yogurt
Being an excellent source of protein, Greek yogurt also helps keep you feeling fuller longer. It is also high in calcium and low in sugar. Plus, the probiotics in it offer many health benefits.
Furthermore, it has the added benefit of fat-burning potential that helps maintain a healthy weight.
A 2014 study published in Nutrition Journal concluded that eating high-protein snacks like yogurt as compared to high-fat snacks improves appetite control, satiety and reduces subsequent food intake.
An earlier 2013 study published in Appetite found that an afternoon snack of Greek yogurt (containing 24 grams of protein) led to reduced hunger and increased fullness as compared to lower protein snacks in healthy women.
Eat a cup of low or nonfat Greek yogurt for breakfast or as a healthy afternoon snack. You can top it with nuts or fruits, such as strawberries or apples. A glass of yogurt smoothie is also a good choice.
The creamy, smooth texture of avocados is packed with fiber and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. This makes avocados a perfect fill-you-up food, as fiber and fat take longer to digest. Furthermore, the monounsaturated fat called oleic acid in avocados sends a signal to your brain that your stomach is full.
A 2014 study published in Nutrition Journal reports that people who add ½ fresh avocado to their lunch have a reduced desire to eat following a meal by 40 percent over a three-hour period, and by 28 percent over a five-hour period after the meal.
As avocados are high in calories, eat just half an avocado in a day. Add ½ avocado to a slice of toast for breakfast or include it in your salad or sandwich at lunch.
Almonds are another filling food that help control appetite and make you eat less. Almonds are rich in healthy unsaturated fat, along with protein and fiber, which take time to digest and keep you feeling full longer. Furthermore, they help keep your cholesterol low and prevent dangerous spikes in blood sugar.
According to a 2013 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, almonds have post-ingestive metabolic and appetitive benefits and reduce the risk for weight gain. This study suggests that almonds make a healthy snack option.
The natural, unsalted versions are the best choice, but eat them in moderation only. You can have ¼ cup of almonds daily between meals.
Eating 1 or 2 eggs for breakfast will also help keep hunger pangs away before lunchtime. The satiating effect of eggs comes from the good quality protein and fat in them that provides sustained energy. In fact, eggs are a complete source of protein, which means they have all the essential amino acids.
A 2013 study by University of Missouri shows that eating a high protein egg-based breakfast curbed hunger throughout the morning as compared to a low-protein breakfast or skipping breakfast.
Similarly, a 2010 study published in Nutrition Research highlights that eating eggs for breakfast helps reduce calorie consumption throughout the day by 18 percent.
Enjoy a spinach omelet, boiled eggs or scrambled eggs for breakfast to fill you up until lunchtime.
7. Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes are low in calories but high in fiber and protein content. Hence, they make a good choice if you are trying to stay full for a longer time.
In fact, beans and legumes make a good protein option for vegetarians. Moreover, they are high in antioxidants, B vitamins and iron.
A 2014 study published in the journal Obesity notes that eating about one serving of beans, peas, chickpeas or lentils a day can increase fullness. This may lead to better weight management and weight loss. One serving of beans equals ½ cup of cooked beans.
You can use boiled or sprouted chickpeas, black beans, pinto beans and other types of beans as well as legumes to make healthy salads, smoothies or soups to reduce your mid-morning and afternoon cravings.
8. Lemon Water
A glass of lemon water can help reduce hunger cravings and keep you satisfied longer. Lemon juice has pectin, a kind of soluble fiber that can help slow digestion and keep you feeling full.
Furthermore, it will keep you hydrated. At times, dehydration can lead to hunger pangs and leave you confused as to whether you are hungry or thirsty.
Being low in calories, you do not have to keep track on your calorie counter when drinking lemon water. It will even improve digestion and aid weight loss.
So, instead of eating something to satisfy your afternoon craving, drink a glass of lemon water.
Raspberries also make an excellent hunger suppressor. They are a great source of fiber that helps keep you feeling full and satisfied for a longer time between meals.
Being high in manganese, raspberries also help metabolize proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Furthermore, they are very low in calories.
Juicy and tasty raspberries can be used to make smoothies, or you can eat them with your hot or cold cereal or Greek yogurt. You can eat a cup of fresh or frozen raspberries as a healthy snack to fight hunger pangs.
10. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds also act as an appetite suppressant and keep you feeling full for several hours due to their high fiber content.
Chia seeds have hydrophilic properties that make them expand in the stomach to give the feeling of fullness, thus suppressing your appetite. After eating chia seeds, be sure to drink plenty of water.
These tiny seeds can even keep your energy levels high. They are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, iron, calcium, magnesium and zinc. Furthermore, chia seeds do not contain any grain or gluten.
You can add them to soups, salads, smoothies and juices or eat them plain.