If you’ve switched to tiny portions but your waist size hasn’t budged, then it may be time to take a different approach. What about filling up on foods that make you feel fuller and give you a healthy punch of nutrients with fewer calories? Here’s how.
“Nutritious food will make you feel full,” says nutritionist Lynda Dubé. That simple but powerful statement carries the secret to choosing foods that zap your hunger and helps curb your munchies for hours to come.
But is it easy to do? According to Lynda, a few simple tricks will help you eat fewer calories, feel fuller longer and still help you get your recommended daily allowance of nutrients and minerals. (Of course, you’ll want to keep your eye on the right amount of food group servings and portions as outlined by Canada’s Food Guide.)
Here are Lynda’s top five ways to eat less to feel full.
By drinking water throughout the day, you’ll stay hydrated and feel fuller longer. “People sometimes think they’re hungry when they’re really just thirsty,” says Lynda. So have a glass of refreshing zero-calorie water and quench your hunger as you quench your thirst.
Also turn to foods that have a high water content, low calorie count and fill you up. Juicy fruits like melons are loaded with water. And vegetables like celery and cucumbers contain a large amount of water with each crunch.
If preparing dinner triggers your tummy to rumble for food, snack on raw veggies than munch foods that are high in calories and low in nutrients. (Keep a bowl of prewashed and precut raw veggies in the fridge to always have some handy.) And to start your meal off right, enjoy some vegetable soup before the main course. You’re more likely to feel fuller sooner.
Include protein (like skinless white-meat poultry, fish or an alternative such as tofu or legumes) in your meals to help you curb your hunger. So instead of having a salad for lunch, include some grilled chicken breast or salmon for a protein punch. When hunger hits in between meals, try a small handful of almonds to ease your hunger and be smart about snacking.
But also remember to keep your portion sizes in check. An easy way is to fill half your plate with vegetables, one quarter with a protein and the other quarter with a whole grain. By having a variety of foods in each meal, you’re more likely to give your body what it’s hungry for.
F is for fibre – and feeling full. Foods that are high in fibre not only help fill you up quickly, they also take longer to digest so you feel fuller longer. Increase the fibre in your diet by eating more fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. An added plus is that fibre helps eliminate waste from your body so that you may feel lighter and less bloated.
Eating in front of the TV or computer, and doing anything that distracts you from your meal or snack are all no-nos. By eating mindfully, you’ll have a better sense of what you’re eating, how much you’re eating and when you actually feel full.
Also remember that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register that you’re full, so eat slowly, put down your utensils between bites and savour every mouthful.
Looking for recipes? Check out our recipes for delicious and nutritious meals and snacks.