Hungry? Make that ravenous. There are lots of reasons why you may never feel fully satisfied, like getting too little sleep or being dehydrated. But sometimes, the real culprit lies in the food choices you make—from the sugary office donut, you grabbed for breakfast to the pasta feast you devoured at dinner.
Next time you find yourself reaching for anything that will tame your hunger pangs, consider making a healthy choice with these five foods that keep you fuller longer.
You’ve likely heard the old adage that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. That’s because apples (especially their skins) are an excellent source of quercetin, a naturally-derived flavonoid that fights inflammation and boosts your immune system, even when you’re under stress.
Not only does quercetin have fighting power, but when it comes to controlling your hunger, it has plenty of staying power, too. Quercetin works to maintain blood sugar levels throughout the day, and having regulated blood sugar means fewer mid-afternoon or late-night snack attacks.
Apples are also a low-calorie way to silence a rumbling stomach. A medium-sized apple has just 95 calories and contains 17 percent of your recommended daily fiber intake. But not all forms of this delicious fruit are created equal. According to a study published in Appetite, consuming whole apples over juiced or puréed ones can better boost your feeling of fullness. Plus, eating apples (or other high-fiber fruits) at the start of your meal can reduce the number calories you consume for the entire meal.
Hass avocados are a large-sized fruit grown in California and Mexico and the most common commercial avocado sold in the United States. This fleshy and buttery fruit boasts a rich, nutty flavor and is a good source of healthy fats. It’s also become a culinary classic, with frequent appearances in kitchens and restaurants around the world.
Research suggests that avocados may support weight management by increasing satiety. While a serving size is one-fifth of an avocado, a study published in Nutrition Journal suggests that eating half an avocado with lunch may help you feel satisfied up until dinner. By adding avocado to their meals, participants felt 24 percent less desire to consume large snacks between meals than those who dined sans the fruit.
Avocados aren’t just for guacamole lovers—there are now lots of ways to enjoy their creamy goodness. Try spreading mashed up avocado on toast, dicing up the high-fat flesh over a salad, or adding slices to your turkey and veggie wrap.
Got mid-morning hunger pangs? It may be time to harness the high protein power of eggs. Eggs are a breakfast staple and for good reason. Eating lean protein increases fullness between meals, and just one egg packs 6g of the good stuff.
Plus, starting your day with eggs may help you consume fewer calories throughout the day. A study published in the American College of Nutrition found that participants who ate an egg-based breakfast had a lower energy (or calorie) intake for the entire day, compared to participants who were given a bagel-based breakfast.
Eggs are tasty, filling, and inexpensive, making them an “eggcellent” option. No time to whip up an omelet? Hard-boil a small carton of eggs and use them throughout the week—as an afternoon snack, a crumbled salad topping, or a grab-n-go breakfast for your morning commute.
If you’re looking for a satisfying alternative to carb-heavy dry cereals or a gluten-free breakfast recipe, look no further than a warm and creamy bowl of oatmeal.
In the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, researchers compared oatmeal to the most widely sold ready-to-eat breakfast cereal at the time. The winner? Oatmeal. Not only was it higher in fiber and protein, but it also contained less sugar—a favorable nutritional combination for lasting fullness.
When choosing oats, be sure to skip the sugary oatmeal packets for the homemade version. Give it a flavor boost with natural options such as blueberries, cinnamon, or chopped walnuts. Or try baking it into a chewy snack bar for a healthy post-workout treat.
Salads with Leafy Greens
With busy schedules and endless commitments, adding a first course to your lunch or dinner may seem a bit decadent. But starting meal time with a simple, leafy green salad is a low-calorie way to feel fuller and eat less overall. (Just be sure to skip the creamy dressings and croutons!)
If you want to get the most bang for your nutritional buck, consider the timing between your first and main courses. According to a study published in Appetite, having a salad 20 minutes before the rest of your meal may increase your vegetable intake by 23 percent. The study also found that eating a larger salad increased fullness and reduced overall food intake.
Not only is salad a great way to get more leafy greens into your diet, you can also maximize it by sneaking in a few fruits and veggies for variety. Mix in toppings like bell pepper strips, roasted asparagus spears, diced roma tomatoes, juicy mango slices, and so on. You can also sprinkle on toasted almond slivers, walnuts, and pistachios to curb your appetite even more. The choice is yours!
With a little mindful meal planning, you can set yourself up for a successful—and growl-free—week ahead. Set aside a few hours on Sunday mornings to make a grocery list, do some shopping, and prep any make-ahead meals and snacks. Try it out this weekend and let us know how it worked for you!