Feeling hungry throughout the day increases the potential for snacking on unhealthy foods or binge eating, which can cause you to gain weight. By eating and drinking certain foods, you can stave off hunger, stay fit and maintain a healthy weight.
Eat High-Fiber Foods
Studies have shown that people who ate a high-fiber diet felt more satisfied and fuller longer than those who ate low-fiber meals. There are several reasons believed to contribute to fiber’s satiating effect. One is that fibrous foods require more chewing, which slows down your ingestion rate and helps make you feel more satisfied. Because it is bulkier, fiber will make you feel physically full. High-fiber foods, like fruits, vegetables and whole-grains, will keep you filled up longer than other food choices. Fiber also helps to regulate blood sugar, which can ward off hunger pangs.
Eat Sufficient Protein
Growing evidence indicates that protein, such as lean meat, fish, poultry and eggs, can help you feel full longer when compared to other nutrients. It also reduces your cravings for sugary and high-fat foods. Include a source of protein with each meal. This will help to ensure that you eat an adequate amount throughout the day. Protein also helps you to maintain muscle mass. Diets that do not meet the national recommendation for protein intake increase the desire to eat at other times during the day.
Do Not Skip Meals
To keep hunger at bay, you need to eat regularly throughout the day. If you go too long between eating or skip meals, you will have a heightened sensation of hunger. Whether you eat three large meals or four to five smaller ones, you need to find a meal schedule that works for you. If there is going to be more than four or five hours between meals, you can manage your hunger with a healthy snack like fruit, nuts or raw vegetables. You can also try chewing gum or sucking on a sugar-free mint.
Drink Water, Tea or Coffee
Oftentimes, when you feel hungry and want a snack, you may actually be thirsty. The signals for hunger and thirst are similar and easily confused. Water helps fill your stomach and send signals to your brain that you are full. If your stomach is growling, drink two glasses of water. You may also want to carry a water bottle so that you can drink throughout the day to stay hydrated. You should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Warm or hot tea is more satisfying than water. The warmth, smell and flavor mimic a meal. Green tea and coffee are good choices that also have antioxidant properties. Avoid consuming too much sugar because it can cause weight gain.