You just had breakfast an hour ago, and now you’re hungry again! Sound familiar? Well, if you’re noshing on sugary breakfast cereal, or granola bars, it makes sense – your body is craving nutritious food to use as fuel.
Eating nutrient-rich foods is not only important in the morning. You can help combat hunger (and subsequent snacking) by including these filling foods in your daily diet. Use these foods and tips to feel fuller, longer.
The fiber in the fruit and skin of an apple helps you feel full and satisfied. Also, an apple is stimulating to multiple senses when you eat it: you see the whole apple in your hand, you smell and then taste its sweet tart flavor, and hear the crunch as you take a bite. All of these little stimuli combine to make that apple super-satisfying!
Dietician and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Lori Zanini, emphasizes that avocados are one of the only fruits that contain monounsaturated fats; “Including healthy fats in our meals during our day is important in order to keep us full and satisfied after meals.”
An avocado is a great source of fiber, which helps to regulate blood sugar, as well. Fiber also promotes a healthy gut and colon, helps to control appetite, and can be helpful in achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight.
Oats are a complex carbohydrate and take longer to digest. As the oats are digested, they release energy slowly, allowing you to hold onto your feeling of fullness. It also helps to keeps blood sugar and insulin levels stable. To get the full benefits (and flavor) choose steel-cut oats made at home – stay away from microwave packets!
Quinoa is a great source of both protein and fiber. One cup of quinoa contains 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. This combination not only fills you up, it helps stabilize your blood sugar, too!
A 5 oz. container of plain full-fat Greek yogurt contains 15 grams of protein. Some studies are now suggesting that protein may be even more filling than fat or carbohydrates. Other high-quality sources of protein include lean poultry, meats and fish, milk, eggs, lentils, and peanut butter.
Nuts and Seeds
Raw, unsalted nuts like almonds and walnuts are full of protein, healthy fats, and nutrients. This makes nuts a great addition to meals and desserts, and also qualifies them as an exceptional snack. A handful of nuts can keep you full (and energized) far longer than a bag of potato chips would!
Flaxseed is packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fats and fiber to keep you feeling satisfied. One tablespoon of whole flaxseed has 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of healthy fat. Try adding a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to a smoothie, or sprinkle it on top of yogurt.
Appetizer Soup or Salad
A bowl of soup before your entrée helps to take the edge off of hunger, increase feelings of fullness, and reduce the total number of calories consumed during the entire meal. (Keep in mind, this doesn’t work well if you eat 500 calories worth of soup before dinner, so keep your appetizer soup to about 150 calories.)
Similar to the bowl of soup, eating a salad before a meal has been associated with increased feeling of satiety and decreased calorie intake. Research has shown that when the first course of a meal is a large salad, people eat fewer calories for the entire meal compared to skipping the salad.
Vegetables like lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes have a very high water content. Combine that with their abundance of fiber, and you’ve got yourself a full stomach!
Sneak in extra ingredients!
The next time you make an omelet, toss in some spinach, mushrooms, or bell pepper. Not only are you upping the nutritional ante, you get to eat more food! Same goes with adding spinach, zucchini, or carrots to your next batch of spaghetti sauce or chili.
The key is to enjoy these filling foods often, and in the right combinations. By choosing foods that contain protein, fats, and fiber, you will not only make your tummy happy, but keep it that way!