Ok, yes…I totally get it! When you go on a diet and reduce the calories you used to consume within your day, it is normal to feel like you are constantly hungry. The same seems to happen when you suddenly increase the exercise you’re used to, since the basic metabolic rate increases and you burn more calories. But is there a way that I can feel more satiated and not start craving everything around me? Is there another reason why I constantly feel that I’m hungry?
According to the experts, there are some “tricks” to follow, and if we do that, we will feel fuller and we are not going to start nibbling or exaggerate with the amount of food we consume… Shall we have a look at these tricks?
Trick No1: Do you consume enough protein?
This is something that is often misunderstood since a lot of people think that they can add more protein to their diet only by consuming meat. But that’s not the case. Even if you follow vegetarian/ vegan or flexitarian diets with less meat consumption, try to add more protein-rich foods to your meals! For example, use more seeds, nuts, vegan cheeses or low-fat cheeses, soy mince, legumes, eggs, quinoa, and generally more pseudocereals. Make proper combinations in all of your meals, and you will see that it’s these combinations that will bring you the desired result and that will make you feel full for longer. Moreover, you will have a meal even higher in biological value.
Trick No2: Do you overconsume processed foods?
Ready meals or some quick “healthy” snacks are very likely to contain more saturated and trans fats and sugar than you expect or have in mind. Surely, if you overdo it and consume plenty of unhealthy foods within your day, then you will probably feel like you are always hungry and never satiated! The main reason why this is happening is because these foods cause a spike in the blood sugar levels that makes us crave even more of these unhealthy foods.
Trick No3: Do you consume enough fibers?
It is not by chance that fruits and vegetables are part of any diet, whether it is balanced or not. Fibers –as we have mentioned plenty of times– are ideal to make us feel full for longer and improve the digestion process. We can find a high concentration of fibers in fruits, vegetables, and cereals. They help us keep our blood sugar levels stable, feel full for longer, and not have those cravings that I mentioned above. So, what happens is the exact opposite of when we consume processed foods which are also low in fibers.
Trick No4: What about water?
There are times when we feel hungry only because we haven’t consumed enough water within the day. Do you calculate how much water you consume and if it is enough? Theoretically, 2 to 2.5 liters of water is enough for an average adult to properly hydrate daily. This depends on many factors, such as the air temperature, each one’s personal needs, and of course the levels of physical activity.
Trick No5: Enjoy your meal and start eating more slowly.
Studies have shown that when we chew our food slowly, not only do we improve our digestion process, but we also control the quantities of food we consume better. In addition, we develop a healthier relationship with the food we consume. That way, we will feel satiated by eating less and, at the same time, we will enjoy our food more.
So, do you see? There are plenty of reasons why we probably feel a little hungrier than we should. The only thing you have to do is change the above habits (or at least some of them) and see for yourselves if these are some of the reasons why you often feel like you are not full.
This article was written in collaboration with the Sports Nutritionist Anna Maria Volanaki, MSc, BDA, SENr.
*The above information is based on published research findings.