Are You Hungry an Hour After You Eat? A Trainer Shares 6 Tips to Help You Feel Full
Does hunger creep in an hour or two after you've just eaten? All-day hunger can not only make you overeat your daily calories, but eating all day also keeps insulin levels high, and you need low insulin levels in order to tap into your stored fat. Feeling hungry all day also makes you irritable and more likely to reach for not-so-healthy foods.
Fitness and lifestyle coach Marci Nevin (@marcinevin on Instagram) said in a recent post, "What you eat at one meal directly impacts what and how much you eat at the next, so it's helpful to keep hunger to a minimum if you want to stay on track." Incorporate these six eating tips to help you feel full for hours so you can spend less time thinking about food, which can help you feel happier and reach your weight loss or fitness goals.
Fill Up on Enough Protein at Every Meal
Your body digests protein slowly, which is why it helps you feel full after eating. Check out this chart to see how much protein you should be eating each day, then you can figure out how much you need for each meal and snack.
Marci recommended getting at least 30 grams of protein at your main meals to keep hunger at bay between meals. Eggs or egg whites, nuts, beans, tofu, chicken, salmon, and protein powder are excellent sources.
Include Lots of Fiber From Filling Veggies
Fiber is another nutrient that makes your body feel satiated for longer. Pair your protein with fiber, and because they digest slowly, you'll feel full for hours. High-fiber veggies include greens, broccoli, peas, beans, beets, and artichoke. Fruits like berries, avocados, apples, and pears are also great sources of fiber, as well as whole grains including oats, quinoa, and barley. And it can't hurt to sprinkle fiber-rich flaxseed meal and chia seeds onto your food.
Opt For Denser, Slow-Digesting Carbs
If you eat tons of refined carbs such as bagels, pasta, pizza, crackers, and baked goods, it's no wonder you're feeling hungry soon after! Registered dietitian Leslie Langevin, MS, RD, CD, of Whole Health Nutrition, told POPSUGAR to go for complex carbs. "They break down slowly in the body because of their high fiber content and help to keep blood sugar levels steady since they are digested slower," Leslie said. "They're also richer in nutrients than simple carbohydrates."
"Including some dense, slow-digesting carbs with your meals can be way more satisfying than having a meal of only protein and veggies," Marci said. Choose beans, sweet potatoes, quinoa, oats, wild rice, lentils, apples, raspberries, and blackberries. If you want bread and pasta, go for whole wheat.
Include a Serving of Healthy Fat
"While protein and fiber help fill you up in the short term, adding some fat (15 grams or so) will help KEEP you full for longer," Marci explained. Adding avocado, nuts, seeds, or a drizzle of olive oil can help stretch out that full feeling.
According to Jodi G. Dalyai, MS, RD, who works for a Los Angeles-based healthcare provider, "When a decent portion of your daily calories (20 to 25 percent) come from fat, you fill up on healthy, less-processed foods, curbing appetite. And when your appetite is controlled, you are less likely to choose processed carbs, i.e. snack foods and sweets, which add calories."
Drink Calorie-Free Liquids Between Meals
Thirst is often mistaken for hunger. So be sure to load up on the liquids between meals, but go for zero-calorie choices such as water, seltzer, unsweetened tea, and black coffee. Filling up on water before a meal can also help encourage portion control.
Eat Larger Meals Instead of Snacking
If you're used to eating smaller meals or snacks six or more times a day, change things up and go for fewer larger meals. Our body gets used to expecting food at meal and snack times, so if you're constantly grazing, your body will set you up to experience hunger at all those times.
"Try to limit your snacking, and instead stick to three larger meals," Marci suggested. You'll not only feel more physically satiated, but eating a larger meal can also feel emotionally more satisfying.
"Between-meal hunger is not only uncomfortable, but it can make you irritable, less focused, and more difficult to resist cravings," Marci said. Here are six eating tips to ensure you feel full after eating and stay full for a good four hours or so.