Trying to lose weight, but just feel constantly hungry? These healthy foods will keep you feeling satisfied for longer, and stop you snacking.
If you find yourself wanting to reach for unhealthy snacks throughout the day, it may be down to what’s on your plate at meal times. Cutting back on calories (opens in new tab) doesn’t mean you have to go hungry; infact, there are a variety of foods that are both nutritional and great for keeping you fuller, longer. (opens in new tab)
Eat watery foods
Leafy greens such as broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, peppers and celery are high in bread and water, which means they take up more space in your stomach and keep you satisfied. Similarly, fruits such as apples contain a great combination of fibre and water that keep you feeling full without increasing your calorie intake.
Up the fibre
High- fibre (opens in new tab) foods have a slow digestion time, which means they stay in your stomach longer. ‘These foods include all wholegrains and pseudograins such as brown rice, oats, buckwheat, quinoa, spelt, as well as nuts, seeds and vegetables. These can be used to replace refined or white versions such as white pasta, bread and rice,’ explains Healthspan nutritionist Rob Hobson.
READ MORE: Healthy snack ideas that will keep you full (opens in new tab)
We’ve all heard of healthy fats, and avocados are top of the list for quietening those hunger pangs. Research has shown that people who add avocado to their lunch box are 40 per cent less likely to eat for an hour afterwards than those who don’t. Other heart-healthy fats include almonds, peanut butter and olive oil, but be careful, warns Rob. ‘Don’t be tricked into over-consuming these if you’re trying to lose weight – while they contribute to fullness, they contain almost twice the calories,’ he explains.
Snack on soup
The high water content of soup along with its low calorie density allows you to fill up on big portions. But stick with broth or tomato-based soups instead of cream-based ones, which are often very calorie dense. We have plenty of chunky soup recipes (opens in new tab) to keep you feel full.
Pile on protein
Protein (opens in new tab) is derived from the Greek word ‘proteious’, meaning ‘prime of importance’. But why is it so important? ‘Protein is filling and slows down the rate at which sugars and starches are released into the body, meaning you’re less likely to feel hungry soon after eating it,’ explains nutrition expert Jenny Tschiesche.
As a golden rule, you should aim to eat 0.75g for each kilogram you weigh so, roughly translated, a woman weighing 60kg would need 45g of protein and a man weighing 80kg would need 60g. ‘Protein-rich foods include meat, fish, dairy, Quorn and tofu,’ says Rob.
READ MORE: Food portion control – what does a proper food portion look like? (opens in new tab)
A serving of beans, lentils, chickpeas or even peanuts provides a great ‘feel-full’ combination of lean protein, complex carbohydrates and good fats. Legumes include beans, lentils and peas. Research** has shown that people who consume 150g of legumes daily felt as much as 31% fuller after eating. ‘These are one of the richest dietary sources of fibre so are good to include in the diet if you are trying to watch your weight,’ says Rob.
Bitter taste. ‘The bitter taste triggers production of gastric juices in the stomach, encouraging better digestion. They help you to break down food better, so whatever you are eating has a better chance of making you feel as if you have actually eaten,’ explains Alison Cullen, A.Vogel nutrition therapist. Whereas, if you have poor absorption, however healthy your diet and whatever types of food you eat, they are less likely to hit your satiety buttons.
The feel full meal plan by Rob Hobson
✱ Yogurt topped with nuts, seeds and almond butter
✱ Scrambled eggs (opens in new tab) on wholegrain toast
✱ Quinoa or brown rice (opens in new tab) salad with chicken and vegetables, dressed with olive oil and lemon juice
✱ Mexican bean and avocado wrap (wholegrain)
✱ Quorn (opens in new tab) bolognese with spelt pasta
✱ Oven baked salmon with roasted sweet potato and vegetables.
✱ Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt is rich in protein so may help you feel fuller for longer. It also contains less sugar thanregular yogurt.Avoid thefruit-flavoured kinds andinstead add fresh fruit.
Popcorn (opens in new tab) is high in fibre, contains protein and, with 30g containing just 122 calories, it’s a great snack. Opt for air-popped, unflavoured popcorn. Add smoked paprika or olive oil for flavour.
Why not try A.Vogel Digestisan £4.50 - A traditional herbal medicinal remedy for relieving indigestion and flatulence associated with over-indulgence in food or drink. This also contains artichoke extract, which stimulates bile production to help aid digestion, and helps to reduce bloating and flatulence.
Rose Goodman joined Future Publishing in 2020 and writes across print titles and websites such as Woman&Home, GoodtoKnow and MyImperfectLife.
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