You are sitting at your desk and your stomach starts to growl loudly. You try to ignore it, but the hunger is real. You’ve been trying to watch what you are eating with the weather getting nicer, but your stomach says otherwise. Sound familiar?? Diets fail for a lot of reasons but one of the primary ones is simply hunger. Here are some top tips to help manage those ongoing hunger pangs.
Balance out your meals. If you’re hungry soon after eating a full meal, you might not be getting enough of the right stuff. Start with non-starchy veggies. Add plenty of protein and either a dose of healthy fats (avocado, nuts or seeds…) or a starchy carb that is high in fibers can also help (baby potatoes, squash, carrots, beans, quinoa, oatmeal). All those nutrients are good for your body, and they promote feelings of fullness. You’ll be less likely to experience hunger when you are eating the right stuff.
Drink up. Staying hydrated can be a huge help when it comes to weight loss and maintenance. That’s because it’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger. So next time you feel snacky between meals (or between snacks!), try having a tall glass of water, flavoured water or Perrier. Then wait a few minutes to see if your hunger subsides.
Eat several mini meals instead of three big meals. The three-meals-a-day model doesn’t work for most of us who are on the go. If you find yourself getting hungry between meals, try eating a mini meal every few hours instead. Remember to balance out your mini meals with the right nutrients, just like you would with three square meals.
Cut back on calorie dense foods, processed goods and starchy, sugary carbs. There’s nothing wrong with carbs and dietary fats, but certain foods — white bread, cake, cookies, desserts, etc. — are nothing but empty calories. They satisfy hunger pangs for the moment, but they don’t keep you full for long. So snack smart!
Always keep of stash of veggies nearby. Some of the best things you can munch on are veggies. And one of the best ways to eat veggies is by dipping them in low fat plain Greek yogurt or salsa. This combo is both low in calories and super filling, making it the perfect snack to keep on hand if you’re always hungry. Baby carrots, jicama sticks, bell pepper slices… Time to hit the grocery store!
End your meal with a small sweet treat. Capping off your meal with something sweet can signal your brain that you’re done eating for the time being. Think a few Hershey’s Kisses, some fruit, or a cup of coffee with a little no-calorie sweetener.
Keep a food journal. Tracking your food is one of the best things you can do if you’re trying to lose weight or change your eating habits. Write down everything you eat, and look for patterns. What are you eating before you find yourself extra hungry? Certain foods (and beverages) may be triggers for you, leaving you hungrier than before you ate them. For me, it’s pretzels, so I tend to avoid those.
Go for a walk. Sometimes, you might feel like you’re hungry when you’re really just bored or restless. Next time you find yourself with an urge to hit the pantry or the fridge, try walking around the block instead. Bonus: Extra calories burned!