Eating healthy and sticking to a rigid eating plan may seem impossible on some days, especially when attempting to switch up your regular meal routine. Trying to make it through the day without being able to grab a healthy snack can also make life even harder. Whether you need to make it through an afternoon without overeating or are trying to sustain your energy while unable to stop for a quick bite, eating a proper, well-balanced series of meals throughout the day can play a huge role in helping you feel fuller for longer.
Eat This, Not That! tapped a handful of experts to learn the best ways you can maximize your meals while also beating hunger throughout the day. By learning exactly how to hack your daily eating plan, you can find ways to feel fuller for longer periods of time between meals and as a result, resist the urge to indulge in any tempting convenient yet unhealthy treats.
Rest assured, snacking is not the underlying cause of why you can’t feel fuller for longer; noshing between meals throughout the course of the day. In fact, many dietitians encourage snacking to help manage cravings, as long as you make healthy choices. Read on to find out additional dietitian-approved tips on how to sustain feeling fuller for longer throughout the day—and for more ideas on how to snack smart with quality options that don’t break your diet, be sure to also check out 50 Healthiest Snacks to Eat for Weight Loss.
“There is fascinating new research that points to another reason fiber keeps you full for longer: acetate,” she continues. “This is a molecule that is found in fiber and is released upon digestion in the gut. It is then transported to the brain through the bloodstream where it signals to us that we are full and to stop eating.”
Staying full goes beyond what you simply eat.
“Drinking plenty of water is not just important for hydration, but for controlling your hunger, as well,” says Best. “There are two primary reasons why drinking water can help keep you full for longer: First, it is possible to mistake thirst for hunger because thirst signals can be weak. Second, drinking water can activate the stretch receptors in the stomach, which signal fullness to the brain and hunger hormones.”
If your aim is to stay fuller for longer, it’s essential that you drink a glass of water and not another beverage made with made with artificial sweeteners, like a soda.
“This is because sugar and artificial sweeteners create a glucose and insulin response that is actually known to cause overeating later in the day,” Best advises.
While more fiber in a meal can help you feel full, avoiding certain nutrients can be just as important.
“Carbohydrate foods made with refined carbs—like those found in white breads and pastries—are void of many of the nutrients that keep you full like fiber and protein,” says Best. “These types of carbs are also processed quickly by the body, leaving you feeling hungry shortly after a meal. This is especially true of pasta-based dishes where the pasta is made from refined carbs rather than whole grain sources like quinoa or or whole wheat.”
“With this in mind, consider replacing your morning pastries with oatmeal or your white bread at lunch for a whole grain option,” Best adds. “When eating out, bypass the refined pasta or pair it with a fiber rich salad or whole grain bread.”
Incorporating the right kinds of ingredients can make a world of difference when you need to stay fuller for longer.
“Foods that take longer to chew will fill us up quicker and for longer,” Best explains. “Crunchy produce like carrots, apples, cucumbers, and celery have a high water content while also being larger in volume. This combination makes them low in caloric density while also activating the stretch receptors of the stomach more quickly.”