Has your stomach ever growled in anticipation of lunch, even though you just ate breakfast? At some point, we've all fallen victim to an unexplained raging appetite, which can lead to eating snacks that are high in calories, sugar and fat, and most of all, weight gain. It sounds contradictory, but eating can actually suppress your appetite - as long as you choose the right foods.
Try one of these foods as a filling snack to keep you feeling fuller for longer and the 'fridge monster' at bay.
- Water. We can mistake thirst for hunger. It is essential to drink between 1.5L and 3L each day depending on the size of person, how active you are and the climate. Ensure you have water to hand no matter where you are - in your car, at your desk, always carry a bottle with you. Many fruits and vegetables are high in water content, which provided volume and weight but not calories and are handy to keep you hydrated and feeling full. Including salad vegetables with your lunch and cooked veggies in the evening will help to keep you feeling fuller for longer.
- Fibre. High fibre foods not only provide volume, but also take longer to digest. Making you feel fuller for longer on fewer calories. Classic examples are vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
- Fat. Fat is high in energy and contains protein which will help to keep you feeling full and keep the cravings away. All nuts have heart-healthy fats, but almonds contain the most fibre serving, which can keep you fuller, longer. Eating about 15 almonds between lunch and dinner can stave off that 4PM energy dip, helping you avoid those crisps and cakes in the break room. Interestingly, one study suggested that our bodies may not absorb all of that fat in almonds, which might lead to an overall lower calorie intake when eating them.
- Eggs. A recent study found that overweight people who ate eggs for breakfast took longer to get hungry later. This is useful for everyone, not simply those who wish to lose weight. The research participants had lower levels of ghrelin, an appetite-stimulating hormone that tells the brain to eat, and higher levels of PPY, a hormone that helps stomachs feel full. Eggs are a perfect combination of protein and fat, so they're more satisfying than other breakfast foods.
- Avocados. The green, creamy flesh of an avocado isn't just tasty - it's also filled with fibre and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. In other words, avocados might be the perfect fill-you-up food. Foods high in fibre and rich in fat take longer to digest, allowing you to experience less overall hunger - and possibly take in fewer calories. Research also shows that avocados' oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat, tells your brain that your stomach is full.