Do you often find yourself reaching for food in the middle, or end, of the day? It’s not an uncommon problem, and constant snacking is not only bad for your waistline, it’s not good for our bodies. Science has shown that the longer we last between meals, the healthier we tend to be.
But trust me when I say that resistance is futile, you can’t just consistently grit your teeth and hope to get through it.
The first key to resolving this is to understand the difference between actual hunger and what I call ‘appetite’. Hunger is a growling, and therefore empty, stomach. This is actually the easiest to deal with, a growling stomach can actually be ignored until you have time to eat properly, as long you don’t feel irritable or weak, you can get to your next meal.
Appetite on the other hand is harder to deal with. It’s when you just ‘feel’ like eating, even if you technically aren’t hungry. We often have an appetite and a drive to eat for a lot of reasons that won’t be solved with food. We may be bored, lonely, sad or happy or any assortment of emotions…none of which will be solved with a bag of chips.
On the other hand, it may not be emotions or hormones driving our appetite, it might be something we missed doing in the past 24 hours, such as drinking enough water, eating enough blood sugar balancing foods or getting enough sleep. These three cause disruptions in our hormones and make the drive to eat strong…very, very strong. In both these cases eating will create a short term band aid. One that makes you feel better momentarily, but unless you fix the root cause, will create a self perpetuating cycle.
But let’s assume you aren’t eating emotionally, or because you haven’t had enough sleep, you are just keep getting hungry before it’s time to eat. Try adding some of these highly satiating foods to your plate next time and see how much more free time you have now that you aren’t eating all the time!
To stay satiated throughout the day it’s important to include a mix of protein, fibre and fat in your meals.
So which foods include this magical trifecta of components?
1) Avocadoes: Not only are avocadoes loaded with healthy fats, they are actually quite high in protein and insoluble fibre. (Remember insoluble fibre? Our bowels loooove this kind of fibre and therefore so does our waistline!) These three components make avocadoes slow to digest and incredibly satiating.
2) Eggs: Include eggs in your breakfast and you are 2/3 of the way there. Not only does the yolk contain healthy fat, the white is incredibly protein rich. A not so small bonus is that eggs are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals making them an incredibly healthy food. Pair your eggs with some fibre rich foods like oatmeal, or fibre rich fruits or vegetables and you are guaranteed to be good until lunch time.
3) Nuts and seeds: So many nuts to talk about, so little time! Nuts and seeds are literal power foods that fit in the palm of your hand. Full of healthy fat and a generous dose of protein and fibre these are the perfect snack to get you until your next meal. Just be sure to enjoy them raw and unsalted to get the most benefit.
4) Fibre rich fruits like apples: Fruits with peels on them and berries are high in fibre, which slows down the digestion, but also makes your bowels pretty happy! Pair them with your protein and fat rich foods like eggs or nuts and seeds and you have a perfect meal!
5) High fibre vegetables: In general, the darker the vegetable, the higher the fibre content. If you want your salad to be satiating, think carrots, beets, broccoli, kale and collard greens over iceberg lettuce and cucumbers. Ps. These darker vegetables are also rich in phytonutrients which help make your skin look amazing! Pair your vegetables with some healthy olive oil dressing and some protein like chicken or fish and voila, a meal to last for hours.
6) Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt is satiating because of it’s incredibly high protein content. If it’s low fat, which most Greek Yogurts are, it is missing the other two components but that is easily fixed. Mix a tablespoon of chia seeds in your bowl, along with some fibre rich raspberries and what might have been a snack becomes the main course.