When it comes to weight loss there is one simple solution. Eat less, Move more. Easy right?? Wrong. On paper eating less and moving more might seem like an easy strategy but as Americans we are used to eating a lot, and we also have to endure the dreadful cravings. When we eat less calories we become hungry which then leads to us becoming hangry. The hungrier you are the more likely you are to reach for bad food choices. (ie. candy, starchy carbs like chips, fries, and pretzels.) which then leads to weight gain.
So how do we stay full AND lose weight? Well not all foods are created equal. Some foods actually keep our bodies feeling fuller longer. Making healthy choices like order soup and a salad seem great and make you proud don’t they? But will they sustain you? When you think about the iceberg lettuce and soup you just ate you have to remember most of that is just water. It’s going to run through you faster then a lean piece of protein would.
So what factors does a food need in order to be considered “filling.” Foods that are high in fiber and protein are more likely to keep you satisfied longer. So next time you go out skip the salad and soup and order a meal with lean protein, complex carbs like brown rice or sweet potatoes, and a side of veggies. Or get the salad but ask for spinach and kale instead of iceberg and make sure they top it with some chicken or fish. This is an ideal meal to keep you fuller longer and your cravings at bay.
Here is a list of great foods that will keep you fuller and happier!
Eggs: I eat eggs like they are going out of style (egg whites to be exact.) Starting your day off with eggs (boiled, sunny side up, scrambled, you name it) is proven to keep you fuller throughout your morning, thus allowing you to avoid junk food in the vending machine once you get to work.
Avocado: My personal favorite. I could add avocado to just about anything and be one happy camper. The healthy fats in avocado are great for keeping you fuller longer. Take ½ an avocado to work and sprinkle a little salt and pepper on it when you get those mid-morning hunger pains. OR add avocado to a salad, sandwich, or eggs in the morning.
Chili pepper: Okay I know this sounds crazy (and maybe it’s because I love spicy foods) but actually chili peppers have a compound in them that help control appetite. Sprinkle some chili flakes on your next meal if you can stand the heat!
Oatmeal: My go to breakfast food. I LOVE oatmeal. It is high in fiber and has protein in it. (plus there are a million ways to make it) So it’s a triple whammy! Here are 2 yummy oatmeal recipes I love to eat for breakfast:
Overnight oats: 1/3-1/2 cup of oats made with water, add a tbsp. of almond milk, a splash of vanilla, cinnamon. Leave in airtight container overnight. In the morning add ½ of a sliced banana and feel free to add some chopped nuts or a scoop of almond butter for some more flavor.
Protein pancakes: 1/3 cup oats, 1/4 cup low fat cottage cheese, 1/2 banana, 1 splash of vanilla, and a tsp of baking powder. Blend together and bake on a pan for amazing protein pancakes. Top with berries and almond butter!
Last but not least…….DARK CHOCOLATE!!!!!
Okay so technically dark chocolate does not keep you fuller longer however, if cravings are your main problem then having dark chocolate in the house is a great substitute for the cookies and ice cream you normally would reach for. Whenever you get that craving for a cookie try having a small piece of dark chocolate. The richness will satisfy your craving and…fun fact: Dark chocolate lowers your desire to consume and form of calories longer than milk chocolate!! Now this doesn’t mean chow down on dark chocolate. Avoid sweets as much as you can but when the going gets rough I highly recommend it.
Sørensen, L. B., & Astrup, A. (2011). Eating dark and milk chocolate: a randomized crossover study of effects on appetite and energy intake. Nutrition & Diabetes, 1(12), e21.