You woke up, ate breakfast, and went to work — but as soon as you head into that first meeting of the day, your tummy starts to grumble and your energy levels start to plummet. Needing to eat again so close after your first meal is not going to help you lose or maintain your weight, so WTH! If you're hungry soon after eating breakfast, here's why.
You're Not Eating Enough Calories
Your first meal of the day should range between 300 and 400 calories. If you're trying to lose weight, stick with the 300 to 350 range, and if you're trying to maintain weight, especially if you're working out, shoot closer to 350 to 400 calories. This is the perfect amount to fill you up and ensure you feel hungry for a small snack or your lunch.
You're Missing 1 of These 4 Things
What you eat is even more important than how much. According to nutritionists Stephanie Clarke, RD, and Willow Jarosh, RD, of C&J Nutrition, ensure that every meal contains protein to stave off hunger, carbs to give you energy, and healthy fats to help your meal feel more satiating. Aim for at least 13 to 20 grams of protein, 40 to 55 grams of carbs, and 10 to 15 grams of healthy fats. Fiber is important too since it adds to that "I'm full" feeling, so make sure your meal offers around six grams.
You're Eating This
A bagel and cream cheese, toast, pancakes, oatmeal, a bowl of cereal — these are pretty popular breakfast choices, but they aren't the best for satiating your hunger since they don't offer all the four essentials mentioned above. Loading up on sugary foods such as iced scones, muffins, or some granola bars will also leave you hungry since they offer a quick burst of energy that will soon come crashing down. If you can't give up these sweet treats, find ways to make them more filling, such as this recipe for banana bread that includes protein powder and flaxmeal.
You're Mistaking Symptoms For Hunger
Headaches, fatigue, and fogginess can all make you feel the tell-tale signs of hunger, but could actually signal something else entirely. Feeling hungry can actually mean that you need more sleep at night, you're coming down with something, you're dehydrated, you're PMS-ing, you ate too much sugar, or your blood sugar levels are starting to drop. Take a second to think about how you're feeling and if you're actually hungry before you reach for something to eat.
You're in Need of a Snack
Your breakfast should fill you up for three to four hours. If you went lighter at breakfast or ate early in the morning you'll feel hungry before lunch, and that's OK. That's what midmorning snacks are for. Grab a little something that offers protein, carbs, and healthy fats, and keep it to under 150 calories — these protein balls are perfect.
A Few Good Breakfasts
It doesn't take much to have a better breakfast, so if you're unsure about what to eat, here are some great choices.
- Eggs with toast and fruit: Go for two scrambled eggs, a slice of whole-wheat toast smeared with a small scoop of avocado or nut butter, and half a cup of fruit.
- Smoothies: This carrot cake smoothie is a quick and filling meal that offers 19 grams of protein, and because it tastes like dessert, it's a good option if you're used to eating sweet baked goods for breakfast.
- Oatmeal: This alone won't offer enough protein, so cook yours with milk or soy milk instead of water, and stir in some protein powder, nut butter, or yogurt to up the protein. Top with fresh fruit, flax or chia seeds, and nuts.
- Yogurt: Grab a container of yogurt and mix in fresh fruit, chopped walnuts, and granola.