From eating an apple to drinking more water, find out ways to feel fuller for longer and keep snack cravings at bay.
Healthy eating is hard. Whether you're on a diet or just trying to keep an eye on what you're eating, it can be tricky to stay on track - especially when there is so much delicious food out there.
One of the biggest things to tackle is hunger. No matter how good you are, if you're feeling hungry, all you'll be able to think about is food (and probably not the good-for-you kind). Once cravings set in it can be hard to resist so it's good to avoid the hunger starting altogether which you can do by eating the correct foods often packed with protein.
How to feel fuller for longer
1. Eat a sensible breakfast
It's easy to think you don't need breakfast. Mornings can be busy in a family house and you may not always be that hungry first thing - but it's really important to eat a full breakfast. Starting your day with a filling meal will impact how you eat for the rest of the day. If you have breakfast you will be less likely to snack and less likely to choose a large lunch.
Top tip: What you eat for breakfast is obviously important. Oats and cereals are good for slow-release energy and protein-rich ingredients such as eggs will keep you full until lunchtime.
2. Drink plenty of water
It's not the most interesting thing in the world but drinking lots of water is such an easy way to keep full. It depends on your body type and how much water you need but the standard 8 glasses is a good measure to go by. You can sometimes mistake thirst for hunger so if you are feeling peckish, have a glass of water first.
Top tip: Keep a liter bottle of water close to hand on your desk or in the kitchen. If you have a bottle filled near you, you are much more likely to drink it.
3. Eat an apple
Aside from just drinking water to keep you fuller, food with a high water content will also help you fight hunger. Apples have a high water content and are full of fiber which also helps keep you full. Diet researchers found that eating an apple 20 mins before meals can lead to increased weight loss too.
Top tip: Have slices of apple in your breakfast to make it more filling - you could even add it to a savoury salad for lunch.
Protein is one of the most useful tools in keeping full. Making sure you get enough protein is easy to do and also helps boost energy levels. Ideally, meals should be one-third protein so it's good to learn which foods are rich in protein to ensure your meals are nice and balanced. Chicken, turkey, and fish are high in protein so are good choices for lunch or dinner main.
Top tip: Adding chicken to a salad will make it more filling and give you more energy for the rest of the day.
5. Add an egg
You may think that eggs are only for breakfast but you really can add them to any meal - and it's worth it too. Eggs are a cheap, quick, and easy way of adding protein to your meal, and don't be put off by the fat content - a little fat will go a long way in keeping you full. Try a poached or hard-boiled egg on your salad, in your sandwich, or simply on a piece of toast in the morning and you will notice the difference.
Top tip: Avoid fried eggs if you're trying to be healthy.
6. Soup for lunch
We all know that drinking water helps to keep you fuller but it's actually much better if you eat water. How would you do that? Soup, of course! Blending your ingredients with water means that you absorb the water into your stomach, which helps you feel full.
Top tip: All you need to make homemade soup is some stock cubes and some veg - it's much tastier than shop-bought.
7. Ditch white carbs
Do you normally eat white rice, pasta, and bread? Switching to brown carbs, such as wholemeal, will help keep you fuller for longer. Brown carbs are high in fiber which means the food will be absorbed into your system more slowly than white carbs. This avoids the usual energy spikes and dips that come with eating white carbs.
Top tip: Brown rice and pasta take a little longer to cook than white so factor this into your cooking time when using.
It not only tastes delicious, but cinnamon can also help you feel fuller for longer - and help you lose weight! Cinnamon can slow down the emptying of your stomach and it also lowers blood sugar levels - very clever!
Top tip: Sprinkle cinnamon atop porridge or yogurt or coat your meat for a sweet twist.
9. Don't lose focus
Do you always eat your lunch/dinner in front of the TV or computer? This could be making you hungry. If you don't fully focus on your food you can feel like you haven't really eaten that much. Turn off the TV and spend some quality time with your food, it's psychological but you'll find the same amount of food will keep you much fuller if you pay it a little attention.
Top tip: Even if it's only 5 mins, make sure you set yourself a proper lunchtime to enjoy your food - otherwise you'll be snacking all afternoon.
10. Small meals
This one is not for everyone. Some people swear that if you eat small meals, more often, you are less likely to get hungry. There is some logic to it, if you are eating every couple of hours, you're less likely to snack, you just need to watch the size of the meals you're eating.
If you think meal times should be a proper affair, you can take some of the learnings and maybe reduce the portion size or alter the quality of snacks you have.
Top tip: It's worth experimenting with eating patterns to see what's right for you. Try eating 5 small meals one day and see how you feel - it might not be practical for everyone.
Snacking is sometimes inevitable. When you do feel the need to eat between meals, picking the right snacks is a good way of reducing the number of snacks you need. Fiber-filled snacks such as popcorn - which is made straight from the grain - and vegetables such as carrot sticks are much better than salty crisps, which will leave you feeling dehydrated - a thing that is often mistaken for hunger.
Top tip: Sprinkle your popcorn with a little cinnamon to make it even more filling.
Greek yogurt is a surprisingly good source of protein. Switching your normal yogurts will see your hunger levels drop dramatically. Not only will the protein fill you up but the thick, rich texture will make you think you're eating more too. It's important to buy proper Greek yogurt rather than Greek-style as the goodness comes from the special preparation.
Top tip: It's not just for sweet food, you can use Greek yogurt as a cream replacement in sauces and as the base of a dip.
Not only is vinegar a low-fat way of adding flavour to salads, but it can also help you feel fuller for longer. It is thought the acid found in vinegar slows down the speed at which food leaves your stomach.
Top tip: Try white wine or cider vinegar in your salad dressings for a light summery touch.
14. Add some avocado
Avocados are quite high in fat - but that doesn't mean that you should avoid them. Avocados are high in fiber and the fats found in them are tricky to digest which means it takes your body longer to empty your stomach. So a little avocado can actually make you fuller for longer.
Top tip: Make your own guacamole by blending avocados with a little lime juice, a handful of cherry tomatoes, and some coriander.
High in protein, full of fiber, and complex carbohydrates that slow digestion, legumes are a great ingredient to add to your dishes to ensure you stay fuller for longer. Legumes are another word for pulses which include lentils, beans, and peas.
Top tip: Add lentils or beans to your salad or soup to make it nice and filling - they are relatively flavourless so will go well with most ingredients.
Chickpeas are a pulse so they're naturally rich in protein and fiber. Not only can you add chickpeas to a salad or curry to bulk out meals - you can even use them to make filling snacks. A homemade batch of falafel or some hummus (which is made from chickpeas) will not only make a satisfying snack - it will also keep the hunger away.
Top tip: Buy chickpeas pre-cooked in a tin rather than trying to cook the dried variety.
17. Know your grains
Couscous, bulgar wheat, and quinoa are not only healthy alternatives to traditional carbs such as pasta or rice, but they're also handy ingredients to keep you fuller for longer. Adding one of the grains to your salad, or having it as your base for lunch will bulk out your meal. All you need to do is soak the grain in hot water or stock for about 5 mins - easy.
Top tip: Make a couscous salad with added fruit such as peach and raisin for a fun, and healthy, twist.
18. Chew your food
If you're eating in a hurry or not concentrating on what you are doing, you can eat your food very quickly - which doesn't help you feel full. If you spend time chewing your food, your stomach thinks it's getting more food which will make you feel more full.
Top tip: Try and chew each mouthful of food 5 times, you will feel silly at first but you'll soon get used to the slower pace.
19. Crunchy foods
It sounds a little silly but eating food that is a little crunchy will keep you fuller than smoother foods. It takes more effort to eat foods such as corn on the cob and it will also take your stomach longer to digest them.
Top tip: Avoid blending food, like soup, down to a thin liquid if you want to avoid getting hungry.
Blueberries and raspberries have a high number of antioxidants, a good dose of Vitamin C, and plenty of fiber - which will keep you fuller for longer. The sharpness in flavour will also satisfy your sweet tooth more than other types of fruit, so should reduce your chance of snacking.
Top tip: Freeze blueberries and raspberries so you can grab a handful to make a smoothie, add to cereal or simply eat as a snack.
Porridge may not be the most interesting breakfast in the world but having a bowl in the morning will help you feel fuller for longer. This is because porridge is a slow-release food, which means it takes longer to digest, which gives you more energy over the course of the morning - rather than in one short sharp burst.
Top tip: Jazz up your porridge with an array of porridge toppings; stewed apple, crushed walnuts, or scattered simply with desiccated coconut.
22. Grab a grapefruit
The sharp flavour of a grapefruit may not be to everyone's taste but if you're a fan, they could be your ticket to a fuller stomach. Grapefruits have a high fiber count, speed up metabolism, and suppress feelings of hunger.
Top tip: Don't buy ready-made grapefruit juice, squeeze it yourself to get the nutrients without the added sugar.
23. Leafy veg
Adding leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, cabbage, and lettuce to your meals will help you feel fuller for longer. Dark green leaves are rich in fiber and antioxidants and low in calories - and also have lots of other health benefits such as vitamin C and folic acid.
Top tip: Use leafy vegetables as the base for salads or even blend them into a soup.
Nuts are quite high in fat, but that doesn't mean you should avoid them in a healthy diet. Snacking on unsalted nuts is an easy way to stave off hunger. Almonds are particularly good for this as they have a high fiber count.
Top tip: Add fruit and nuts to your breakfast or bake to increase the fiber.
25. Green tea
Drinking a glass of green tea a day is an easy way to keep fuller for longer. Herbal tea is rich in antioxidants and studies have found that people who drink it have less desire to eat food. Drinking green tea with your meals is also said to help you eat less.
Top tip: Green tea also speeds up metabolism so is a good drink to try if you're trying to lose weight too.
26. Edamame beans
You may have seen them in sandwich shops but do you know why edamame beans are good for you? These high-fiber foods are excellent snacks to choose from if you're trying to avoid being hungry. You can add them to your meals or just snack on them raw.
Top tip: Edamame beans have a nutty flavour that would complement an earthy salad.
27. Sweet treats
Do you always find that you need a sweet treat after you've eaten a meal? While your mind might automatically go to something naughty, you can often satisfy the craving with something a little better for you.
Fruit is the obvious answer but it can feel a little boring. Low-sugar jelly is a great way of having a guilt-free treat. Foods that are high in sugar will give you a temporary energy boost but you will soon crash - which will make you feel more hungry.
Top tip: Baking fruits in the oven with a little honey will make them a more exciting dessert option.
28. Spicy foods
Spicy food such as red chillies and cayenne pepper is an interesting way to keep you fuller for longer. Adding a spicy twist to your food not only makes it taste better, it also works as an appetite suppressant - eating cayenne pepper can even make you lose weight as you eat it.
Top tip: Build up your tolerance to spicy food a little at a time.
29. Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is a low-calorie ingredient that is very high in protein. Versatile, cheap, and delicious, it is one of the most useful ingredients to work into your diet if you are trying to stay fuller for longer. Use it to top a jacket potato, as a sandwich filler, or just as a dip for some sliced carrots or cucumber.
Top tip: Choose lower-fat cottage cheese to cut the calories even further.
30. Get some sleep
If you're tired you are more likely to snack on food as your body craves energy boosters. A good night's sleep will mean that you don't feel as hungry during the course of the day. Some nutritionists recommend taking a nap when feeling hungry - you will often wake up and the feeling is gone.
Top tip: If you're feeling tired, look for natural energy boosters rather than sugary treats as they'll give you a longer-lasting boost.
Video of the Week