Whether you’re on a diet or just want to kick a snacking habit to the curb, learning how to curb your cravings and stay full for longer will save you money and calories.
You may have noticed that the more junk food you eat, the hungrier you are. You can down a can of Pringles and still be ready for another snack an hour later.
The answer isn’t a simple one but the short version is that stress, lack of sleep and low blood sugar are just a few of the factors that can lead you to crave foods that aren’t good for you. Furthermore, sometimes we just like certain foods or we’re just eating the wrong ones that don’t keep us satisfied between meals.
Thankfully, fighting hunger cravings isn’t rockets science. Listed below are just a few things you can do to avoid or prevent them:
1. Eat Fatty Foods
If your goal is to lose weight then this may seem counterintuitive, however, there’s a huge difference between healthy (unsaturated) fats found in foods like avocados and the unhealthy (saturated) fats you get from a bag of chips or a Big Mac.
Studies have found that a particular fatty acid called oleic acid stimulates the production of a compound that helps to quell feelings of hunger.
2. Eat Almonds
Almonds are a great healthy snack alternative if you love crunchy foods like chips. For their size, they contain generous amounts of protein, fiber, and unsaturated fat – all of which help to stave off hunger.
They also provide plenty of essential nutrients such as calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium. A huge downside, however, is that they have a lot of calories and are quite expensive (in some places) so they may not be an ideal daily snack.
3. Drink Plenty of Water
Thirst can often be misinterpreted as hunger. If you suddenly feel a strong urge to snack, drink 2 full glasses of water and 15 minutes. You may notice that you’re not so hungry anymore but even if you are still hungry, drinking water before (and during) meals can suppress appetite and help you feel fuller.
Furthermore, you won’t just feel less hungry with proper hydration; drinking enough water also helps flush your body of any toxins, protect sensitive tissues, regulate your temperature and improve your skin.
4. Drink A Meal Replacement Shake
Sometimes, you just might not have the time to eat a well-balanced meal, and that’s okay. Meal replacement shakes are packed with protein, fiber* and other nutrients your body needs to be nourished and for you to feel full.
They’re also super convenient and can be made in a flash but their biggest selling point, especially for dieters, is that they typically have less than 300 calories per serving.
*Protein and fiber are the two most effective nutrients for promoting satiety.
5. Don’t Ban Snacks
Many people who want to stop hunger cravings will stop snacking altogether, but this can make you hungrier! If you like to have some snacks throughout the day, pick some healthy alternatives to junk food. Swap chips for cucumber slices or carrot sticks without losing the satisfying crunch. Eat a stem of grapes instead of a pack of Skittles.
When you cut out bad foods and start eating right, you’ll be amazed at how much fuller you feel throughout the day. A well-balanced diet contributes to better mental health and brings more energy, allowing you to stay focused during the day and less likely to snack out of boredom.
6. Chew Gum
Though the reason behind it isn’t clear, chewing gum has been shown to stave off hunger and prolong satiety.
7. Essential Oils
Essential oils provide a variety of benefits for health and wellness, however, they are also extremely useful for warding off cravings.
In fact, a 2011 study was completed by psychologist Bryan Raudenbush where a group of individuals were instructed to use peppermint inhalers every two hours for one week.
For the study period, these individuals craved significantly less and even ate 2800 fewer calories than the control group.
It should be noted, however, that eating peppermint candy doesn’t have quite the same effect.
Fighting hunger cravings isn’t a hard thing to do once you have a plan that is well thought out and logical. The best starting point is consuming meals that have lots of protein, fiber, and unsaturated fats and using essential oils or chewing gum in between meals.
RD Neha Kava
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