Some days, eating healthy and adhering to a strict diet may seem impossible, especially when switching up your usual meal plan.
Life can also be made easier if you don’t have access to healthy snacks throughout the day. Eating a series of well-balanced meals throughout the day can help you feel fuller for longer, whether you are trying to make it through an afternoon without overeating or trying to maintain your energy while not being able to stop for a quick snack.
The following tips will help you maximize your meals while beating hunger throughout the day. Finding ways to feel fuller for longer periods between meals can help you resist the urge to indulge in tempting but unhealthy convenience foods as a result of hacking your diet.
You shouldn’t worry about snacking as the cause of your inability to feel full between meals. As long as you make healthy choices, dietitians recommend snacking to help manage cravings:
1. Eat more fibre
Even a small amount of fibre can keep you full for longer. Fibre digests more slowly than other nutrients, keeping the gut full.
Acetate is another reason fibre keeps you full for longer, according to new research. The molecule is found in fibre and is released by the gut during digestion. We are then signaled that we are full and to stop eating by the bloodstream, which then carries it to the brain.
2. Drink more water
The key to staying full goes beyond what you eat. Best says drinking enough water not only keeps you hydrated, but also controls your hunger.
Water keeps you full for longer for two main reasons: First, thirst signals can be very weak, so it can be confused with hunger. Water also activates stretch receptors in the stomach, which tell the brain and hunger hormones that the stomach is full.
To stay fuller for longer, you must drink a glass of water, not another beverage made with artificial sweeteners, like soda. Sugar and artificial sweeteners trigger a glucose and insulin response that can lead to overeating later in the day.
3. Avoid white carbs
It is important to avoid certain nutrients while adding fibre to a meal in order to feel full. Refined carbohydrates, like white bread and pastries, lack many nutrients that keep you full, such as fibre and protein.
Fresh carbs are also processed quickly by the body, leaving you feeling hungry shortly after you eat them, especially when the pasta is made with refined carbs rather than whole grain sources like quinoa or whole wheat. Best suggests replacing morning pastries with oatmeal or white bread at lunch for a whole grain option. Avoid refined pasta when eating out or pair it with a salad or whole grain bread.
4. Eat crunchy produce
When you want to stay fuller for longer, integrating the right ingredients is key. Best explains that foods that take longer to chew will fill us up sooner and for a longer period of time. This combination makes crunchy produce like carrots, apples, cucumbers and celery low in caloric density while also activating the stomach’s stretch receptors rapidly.
The characteristics of crunchy produce make them more filling and harder to digest. Due to their hard texture, they are harder to digest, so the body has to work longer and harder to do so. Crusty produce provides satiety and low calorie density during digestion, so it is a great addition to any meal or snack.
5. Add more protein to your meals
Adding extra protein to your meals can make a big difference when you need to sustain that feeling of fullness for extended periods of time.
Protein makes you feel full faster and last longer after eating. When protein and carbohydrates are eaten together, protein slows down how quickly sugar gets into your bloodstream, helping to regulate your blood sugar levels and appetite over the next few hours.
As your blood sugar levels rise and fall, protein at meals and snacks helps you achieve a rolling hill effect. An example is having eggs with whole grain toast, fruit and milk for breakfast.
At lunch, you might have a salad with protein with fresh fruit or a whole grain roll. At dinner, you might have lean beef with sweet potatoes and roasted vegetables. Make sure you include protein in your snacks, such as Greek yogurt with berries, whole grain crackers and cheese and beef jerky with a granola bar.
6. Balance your blood sugar
Keeping track of your blood sugar can help you feel full throughout the day if you need to. When blood sugar is high, individuals are more likely to experience increased cravings, low energy, brain fog, and the notorious mid-afternoon slump. As complex carbohydrates slow glucose absorption into the bloodstream, protein and fat increase satiety and fullness in the body.
It is extremely effective to focus on blood sugar-balancing meals to promote satiation. Complex carbohydrates like vegetables, grains, legumes are preferred over simple or refined carbohydrates. These consist of meals or snacks containing all three macronutrients, carbohydrates, protein and fat.
7. Sprinkle in healthy fats
A balanced meal with the right amount of healthy fat ensures your meal will keep you content throughout the day.
Nuts are rich in protein, fibre and fat, so you may end up eating fewer calories throughout the day.
Usually, fat keeps you from looking for food for a while after a meal since it keeps you satiated afterward. You should try to eat more healthy fats such as nuts and nut butter, seeds, avocado, fatty fish and liquid cooking oils
Fat provides more calories per gram (or bite) than carbs and proteins, so you don’t need as much fat at a meal as the other two macronutrients. Think of fat as garnishing your plate. For instance, sprinkle nuts and seeds on your oatmeal, add avocado to a wrap, eat peanut butter on a slice of bread, and so on.