It’s interesting the hold that hunger can have on us. Whether your hunger serves as it should, a simple signal from your body that it’s time for a meal or snack, or if you hunger transforms you into a hangry person ready to ravage every bit of food in sight, you should know that there are ways to keep your hunger beast at bay.
If you’re currently watching what you eat, keeping that feeling of fullness going all day can feel impossible. However, these five tips will help reduce your hunger pangs and save you on excess calories.
Drink it up! It’s practically impossible to stress how important water is. Whether you’re dieting or not, water is one of the most important things you can put in your mouth. If you’re not properly hydrated, your brain can actually send false signals of hunger. Dehydration can also lead to headaches, fatigue and loss of concentration. So the next time you’re not quite feeling yourself and thinking about grabbing a snack, first try drinking some water. Drink one – two glasses and just see how you feel. If you’re still hungry after hydrating, then it may be time to move onto a healthy snack.
Power through with protein. If you’re not already making protein a large part of your diet, now is a great time to start. Studies have shown that including protein with every meal and snack can help reduce hunger, help you feel full faster and help maintain more consistent energy levels. If that weren’t enough to have you reaching for egg whites ASAP, ensuring you’re including sufficient protein in your meals will also help you maintain that muscle you’re working so hard to build.
Fill up on fiber. Including fiber in your diet helps to slow the rate at which your stomach empties, allowing you to feel full for longer periods of time. Fiber-rich foods are also typically lower in calories which means you can add more of them to your diet without going over on your calorie count. Adding just a small bowl of berries with breakfast or a small side of black beans with lunch could be the key to keeping you feeling full and satisfied until your next meal.
Add more to your meals. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you trade in your salad for a huge burrito. What I am saying, is if you fill your plate with more low calories options, which in turns add volume to your meals, these additions will successfully keep your hunger at bay. For example, when making or ordering a salad, don’t just stop with a protein and spinach or kale. Add in some cucumbers, tomatoes, edamame, broccoli and even almonds. Not only do these foods add more density and fiber to your meal, it will take you a little longer to finish your meal. Studies have shown that meals that require 10-15 minutes to finish not only keep the taste buds tantalized longer, they also allow your brain the time it needs to send out the signal of fullness.
Graze, don’t gorge. Have you ever noticed how you can completely devour an entire pizza and then two hours later be starving again? When you ingest large quantities of food, especially unhealthy food, your insulin will spike. This spike leads to a quick turnaround on energy crashes, shakiness and hunger. Instead of trying to fit all of your calories into one or two huge meals, try snacking throughout the day. This may require more planning on your part but trust me, it’s totally worth it. Try to eat five to six times a day (every two – three hours), keeping each of your mini meals between 200 – 350 calories. Don’t forget to include protein, a little healthy fat and fiber every time. Since you’ll be snacking, you may as well grab some water to go with it! Now you’re fueling and hydrating simultaneously for a double-whammy of hunger-reducing power.
So if you’re starting to feel as if your hunger is getting the best of your diet and your willpower, try some of these helpful hints. For meal and snack ideas that will keep you feeling full and fabulous all day long, check out my recipes, here!
To find out how much you really should be consuming in order to reach your goals you can find a full, in depth customized nutrition plan made just for you here.