No matter whether it’s real hunger or “head” hunger, feeling famished when you’re trying to lose weight is enough to sabotage any diet.
But don’t give up. And don’t give in to the munchies.
You can lose weight without feeling hungry all the time. They key is to pick fill-you-up foods that send the signal to your tummy, and your brain, that you’re satisfied.
Say goodbye to hunger and hello to satisfaction
Nutritionists and scientists call it “satiety.” But all you really need to know is that the foods will make you feel full, and slash your appetite.
Which means you can continue to work on dropping those extra pounds.
Following are our top four picks for healthy fill-you-up foods that won’t leave you hungry.
Cast as a villain for years, eggs’ bad boy reputation is undeserved. The truth is eggs aren’t just delicious; they’re incredibly nutritious and super filling too.
Packed with filling protein, eggs will satisfy your hunger in a big way. A single egg provides you with around six grams of tummy pleasing protein.
Plus they deliver a slew of nutrients that will help keep you healthy while you lose weight including vitamin D, vitamin B-12, lutein and zeaxanthin.
Eggs can help keep you feeling full and satisfied all day long, so you eat less without even trying. Plus they help you make better food choices.1
In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, researchers proved that eating eggs for breakfast rather than a bagel will keep you feeling satisfied for longer.2
When volunteers chowed down on eggs, they reported feeling more full. Plus they ate less calories over the following 36 hours than when bagels were the breakfast of choice.
Whether it’s veggie-filled omelet for breakfast, a hardboiled egg at lunch or chopped up over a salad for dinner you can’t go wrong choosing eggs.
Salmon and other wild-caught fish pack a huge protein punch that will have you saying goodbye to hunger in no time.
But it’s not just protein that leaves you feeling satisfied after eating salmon. Fish is also loaded with filling omega-3 fatty acids.
In fact, if you’re a bit pudgy and trying to slim down, fish could be your secret weapon. Research published in the journal Appetite found that overweight folks eating a controlled diet rich in omega-3s suffered from far fewer hunger pains than their unlucky peers.3
When you’re trying to lose weight, be sure to include plenty of fish in your diet. The one two punch of protein plus omega-3s will leave you feeling full and satisfied.
3. Steel-cut oats:
Protein isn’t the only way to fight off diet-destroying hunger. Bulky, fiber rich foods such as steel-cut oats are great for filling up a growling belly.
Plus the soluble fiber found in oatmeal can slow digestion down to a crawl. That means that satisfied feeling lasts longer.
In a randomized crossover study, folks reported feeling more full after eating oatmeal for breakfast, than after eating a ready-to-eat breakfast cereal. And that satisfied feeling lasted straight through to lunch when the volunteers also ate fewer calories.4
Just be sure to skip the instant oatmeal and reach for the steel-cut oats instead. Steel-cut oats are a resistant starch. That means it takes longer for your digestive enzymes to break it down. As a result, you feel full longer, and your blood sugar stays steadier.
Beans and other legumes such as lentils, peas, peanuts and pulses (seeds) bring together the belly satisfaction of proteins and fiber.
If you’ve ever dug into a pile of beans, you know how filling they can be. Legumes are a great low fat, high satisfaction choice when you’re dieting.
In a meta-analysis of nine different trials legumes satisfied volunteer’s hunger far better than pasta or bread.5
Don’t let hunger sabotage your weight loss efforts. Fill up on these delicious and nutritious tummy taming foods instead.
1. “Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese, “breakfast-skipping,” late-adolescent girls,” Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Apr;97(4):677-88
2. “Short-term effect of eggs on satiety in overweight and obese subjects,” J Am Coll Nutr. 2005 Dec;24(6):510-5
3. “A diet rich in long chain omega-3 fatty acids modulates satiety in overweight and obese volunteers during weight loss,” Appetite. 2008 Nov;51(3):676-80
4. “Instant Oatmeal Increases Satiety and Reduces Energy Intake Compared to a Ready-to-Eat Oat-Based Breakfast Cereal: A Randomized Crossover Trial,” J Am Coll Nutr. 2016 Jan 2; 35(1): 41–49
5. “Dietary pulses, satiety and food intake: a systematic review and meta-analysis of acute feeding trials,” Obesity (Silver Spring). 2014 Aug;22(8):1773-80