Eating healthy and sticking to a rigid eating plan can seem impossible some days, especially when you’re trying to change your regular eating routine. Trying to get through the day without being able to have a healthy snack can also make life even more difficult. Whether you need to get through an afternoon without overeating, or you’re trying to keep up your energy without stopping for a quick bite, eating a proper, well-balanced series of meals throughout the day can play a huge role in helping you stay healthy. feel fuller along.
Eat this, not that! turned to a handful of experts to learn the best ways you can maximize your meals while also beating hunger throughout the day. By learning exactly how to hack your daily eating plan, you can find ways to feel fuller for longer periods of time between meals and, as a result, resist the urge to indulge in any tempting and convenient but unhealthy treat.
Rest assured, snacking isn’t the underlying cause why you can’t feel full longer; eating between meals throughout the day. In fact, many dietitians recommend snacking to help curb cravings, as long as you choose healthy options. Read on for more dietitian-approved tips on how to keep you feeling full longer throughout the day, and for more ideas on how to snack smart with quality options that won’t disrupt your diet, be sure to also check out 50 Healthiest Snacks to Eat to Lose Weight.
“Including even a small amount of fiber at each meal and snack is an easy way to keep you full longer,” she says. Trista Best, MPH, RD, RP, and consultant at Balance One. “This is because fiber is digested more slowly than other nutrients and therefore keeps your gut full, literally.”
“There’s some exciting new research that points to another reason fiber keeps you full longer: acetate,” he continues. “This is a molecule that is found in fiber and is released after digestion in the intestine. It is then transported to the brain through the bloodstream, where it tells us that we are full and that we should stop eating.”
Staying full goes beyond what you just eat.
“Drinking plenty of water is not only important for hydration, but also for curbing hunger,” Best says. “There are two main reasons why drinking water can help you stay fuller for longer: First, it is possible to mistake thirst for hunger because thirst signals can be weak. Second, drinking water can activate stretch receptors in the stomach, which send satiety signals to the brain and hunger hormones.”
If your goal is to feel full longer, it’s critical that you drink a glass of water and not another drink made with artificial sweeteners, like soda.
“This is because sugar and artificial sweeteners create a glucose and insulin response that is actually known to cause overeating later in the day,” advises Best.
While more fiber in a meal can help you feel full, avoiding certain nutrients can be just as important.
“Carbohydrate foods made with refined carbohydrates, such as those found in white bread and pastries, lack many of the nutrients that keep you full, such as fiber and protein,” says Best. “These types of carbohydrates are also quickly processed by the body, leaving you hungry soon after a meal. This is especially true of pasta-based dishes where the pasta is made from refined carbohydrates rather than whole grain sources like quinoa or whole wheat.”
“With this in mind, consider replacing your morning pastries with oatmeal or your white bread at lunch with a whole-grain option,” adds Best. “When you eat out, avoid refined pasta or pair it with a high-fiber salad or whole wheat bread.”
Incorporating the right types of ingredients can make a world of difference when you need to stay full longer.
“Foods that take longer to chew will fill us up faster and for longer,” Best explains. “Crispy items like carrots, apples, cucumbers and celery have a high water content and at the same time a higher volume. This combination makes them low in caloric density while activating the stretch receptors in the stomach more quickly.”
“These characteristics make crunchy products more filling and also take longer to digest,” Best continues. “Because of their hard texture, the body has to work harder and harder to digest them. This results in more calories burned in the digestion process and longer digestion. Therefore, crunchy products are an excellent addition to any meal or snack for satiety and low caloric density.”
Products can help you feel full, but also adding a little extra protein to your meals really makes all the difference when you need to keep that feeling of fullness for an extended period of time.
“Protein helps you fill up faster and stay satisfied longer after meals,” he says. Amy Goodson, MS, DR, CSSD, LDand author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook. “Because protein takes longer to digest than carbs, when protein and carbs are eaten together, it slows down how quickly sugar enters the bloodstream, helping to control blood sugar levels. and hunger levels for the next few hours.”
“Consuming protein at meals and snacks helps make your blood sugar look like rolling hills, gradually rising and falling,” Goodson adds. “In meals that might look like eggs with whole wheat toast, fruit, and milk. At lunch, it can be a protein salad paired with fresh fruit or a whole-wheat roll. At dinner, it can be lean beef with sweet potatoes and roasted vegetables,” she continues. “Don’t forget to add protein to snacks like Greek yogurt with berries, whole grain crackers and cheese, and beef jerky with nuts and a granola bar.”
Tracking your blood sugar can make a world of difference when you need to feel full throughout the day.
“When blood sugar is high, people are more likely to experience increased cravings, low energy, brain fog, and the notorious mid-afternoon slump,” he says. Daria Piazza, MS, RD. Along with complex carbohydrates, protein and fat slow the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, further promoting satiety and feelings of satiety.
“One of the most efficient and effective ways to promote satiety is to focus on foods that balance blood sugar. This looks like a meal or snack that contains all three macronutrients, carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Ideally, complex carbohydrates, ie vegetables, grains, legumes, are preferable to simple or refined carbohydrates.
A balanced meal with some healthy fat really ensures that your meal will keep you satisfied throughout the day.
“The protein, fiber, and fat in nuts help you feel full longer, so you may end up eating less throughout the day,” she says. Dr. Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, and author of Finally full, finally thin.
“Fat helps you feel full after a meal and usually keeps you from reaching for food for a while because you just aren’t hungry,” says Goodson. “However, the goal is to eat more healthy fats like nuts and nut butters, seeds, avocado, oily fish, and liquid cooking oils.”
“It’s important to note that fat produces more calories per gram (or per bite) than carbohydrates and protein, so you don’t need as much fat in a meal as the other two macronutrients,” he continues. “Think ‘garnish your plate’ with fat. For example, sprinkle nuts and seeds on your oatmeal, add avocado to a wrap, eat peanut butter on a slice of bread, and [so on].”