If you're scraping your plate and still wondering why you're hungry, take a look at what you're eating. Meals that contain a good balance of carbs, fiber, protein, and healthy fats will keep your stomach happy for hours. Want even more help? Employ these five tricks during your next meal to help keep you full without going for seconds or thirds.
- Drink water first: People often mistake thirst for hunger, so opting for a glass of water before a snack is a smart idea. Not only will you hydrate your body, but you'll also fill your stomach, which can help tide you over until your next snack or meal. Drinking a full glass of water before ordering at a restaurant (and diving into the bread basket) is a great strategy when you're trying to shave needless calories on a night out.
- Add chia seeds: They're tiny, low in calories, and high in fiber and protein — one tablespoon of chia seeds contains 69 calories, two grams of protein, and about five grams of fiber. Chia seeds also expand in liquid, meaning you can bulk up your food, helping you prevent gobbling down a huge meal. Sprinkle them on your yogurt or cereal, or add them to a smoothie or baked goods. Because chia seeds are tiny and don't have a distinct taste, they won't distract from what you're eating.
- Eat slower: Mindful eating helps you enjoy your food more, while also helping you feel fuller faster. Slow down and enjoy each bite — you'll recognize when to put down the fork faster than if you're wolfing it down. Besides sitting down when you eat, try these tips to help you enjoy and eat meals slower.
- Spice it up: You're more likely to enjoy food that's full of flavor than bland food, so go ahead and spice it up. One study, for example, found that participants ate 60 fewer calories when cayenne pepper was added to their tomato soup. Spices don't just suppress your appetite, either; they've been shown to boost metabolism and may help you use less salt in your food, since they already impart so much flavor.
- End with tea: A mug of hot tea can help suppress your appetite much like water can, but the type of tea you choose also helps. Green tea, for example, contains a phytonutrient that has been shown to increase levels of a hormone that triggers the feeling of satiation, while drinking mint tea after a meal can help signal to your brain that you're done eating.