The biggest problem that most people tend to experience when they’re trying to eat better or lose weight is those awful hunger pangs that come between meals. It’s one of the major reasons people stop improving their lifestyle and tend to cheat on their new eating plan.
How to Feel Full? Science-Based Ways to Reduce Excessive Hunger and Appetite
How can you function properly if you don’t feel satiated after eating and you countdown the hours and minutes until your next meal? It’s no way to live, but there’s good news for you.
It doesn’t have to be that way, there are plenty of tips, and tricks that can help you feel fuller even while eating less. Say goodbye to those loud stomach growls and the constant cravings.
1. Increase Protein Intake to Feel Full Quickly
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, increasing your protein intake is a great way to feel fuller. It means you’ll eat less during your next meal, which will help you maintain your weight (or keep you losing). Additionally, the Department of Nutrition and Food Science found in a study (on egg breakfast enhancing weight loss, Vander Wal, et al Source) that the participants who had an egg breakfast lost 65% more weight than the group who had a breakfast of bagels.
Additionally, they dropped 16% more body fat. High protein intakes can also help maintain your muscle mass when you have cut your daily calorie count in order to lose weight. If your total calorie intake is made up of 20-30% protein, you are sure to see the benefits.
2. Foods Rich in Fiber Fill You Up
Here is what fiber can do for you. It stretches your stomach and slows the rate with which is empties, this means you are left feeling fuller for longer. It also ferments in your bowel, which produces fatty acids that promote that feeling of fullness (Source).
Consider adding fiber-rich ingredients to your meals to ensuring your meals are properly filling you up, think chickpeas, lentils, peas, and beans. Increase your fiber intake by 14 grams a day; it might just help you reduce your calorie count by 10%.
Of course, there are plenty of other benefits to eating foods rich in fiber, which includes antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Many natural food products (like fruits, vegetables, seeds, beans, and nuts) are rich in fiber.
3. Eat Solids, Not Liquids to Feel Full at Every Meal
Drinking your calories isn’t the most effective way to quell your appetite. In fact, studies have found that a liquid snack is more likely to cause you to compensate at your next meal (Source).
This may be down to the fact that the act of chewing provides your brain with plenty of time to get the message that you’re being fed. It also allows you to savor the taste, which may contribute to feeling full. So, always eat your calories and ditch any calorie boosters in liquid form.
4. Feeling Full Quickly with a Cup of Coffee
Coffee has a plethora of health benefits, but it may also be able to decrease your appetite. It is believed that coffee increases the presence of peptide, a hormone that producing that full feeling. This hormone plays a crucial role in just how much you eat and even a decaf coffee can produce this response. Coffee is an excellent ingredient in plenty of recipes with coffee.
5. Drink Water as Close to Your Meal as You Can
A lot of the times we snack, but what our body really needs is a thirst-quenching glass of water. Drinking water before you eat is a great way to reduce just how much you eat at meals. It will help you stay fuller for longer. In fact, studies from Loughborough University show that drinking two glasses of water before eating a meal can result in eating 22% less than skipping the beverage (Source).
Just 17 ounces of water is enough to stretch the stomach to send the brain a signal that it’s full. It does leave your system fairly quickly, though, so the most efficient way to use this tip is by drinking the water as close to your meal as you can. Starting with soup or broth is equally as effective.
6. Sit at a Table with No Distractions
If you sit at a table with no distractions to enjoy your meal, your brain will know whether it’s full or you are still hungry. However, when you provide it with distractions, your brain will struggle to receive the proper signals.
So, put your phone down, turn the television off, and put your total focus on eating the meal that is set before you. Not only will you enjoy your meal more but you will eat less, but since your brain knows its full you won’t need to worry about hunger coming back to bite you later on.
7. Dark Chocolate Can Make You Feel Less Hungry
Dark Chocolate is more bitter than its counterparts are and it’s believed that this helps diminish your need for sweets and also decreases your appetite. It contains stearic acid, which slows digestion, and helps increase your feelings of fullness.
There’s good news for those of you who aren’t keen on the taste of dark chocolate. According to a study from Reinier de Graaf Group of Hospitals in the Netherlands (Source) just smelling dark chocolate could be enough to produce the effect. The study found that smell of 85% dark chocolate will suppress both the hunger hormones and appetite as much as eating it did.
8. Reduce Hunger Levels with Ginger
You would probably associate ginger with its helpfulness in:
- fighting nausea,
- reducing inflammation,
- helping with muscle pain.
However, ginger can also reduce your hunger levels! A study from Columbia University discovered that diluting just 2 grams of powdered ginger in hot water could reduce the hunger people experience following a meal.(Source)
9. Burn Calories with Spicy Foods
Hot peppers contain capsaicin and sweet peppers contain capsiate. Both of these compounds can help reduce the feeling of hunger and leave you feeling fuller for longer. Better yet, eating spicy foods can help you burn calories.
10. Using Smaller Plates Really Help You Eat Less
You may love those huge dinner plates but they aren’t doing you any favors. When you cut your calories and suddenly that plate looks empty, you will find yourself feeling hungry, even though your body was probably provided with enough fuel. Just by choosing a smaller plate, you will consume less without feeling like you are being deprived of food.
Cornell University found that nutrition experts served themselves a portion that was 31% larger when they used a larger bowl. If even a nutrition expert can be fooled by the size of dinnerware, then you are definitely at risk of doing the same. You can also use this trick for snacks, choose a smaller bowl. (Source)
11. Use a Big Fork and a Smaller Spoon
The size of your utensils could be having an impact on how much food you need to satiate, you. Surprisingly, participants in a study from the Journal of Consumer Research who used a bigger fork would eat 10% less than the study participants who ate with a smaller fork.
You may have thought a small fork would trick the brain into thinking it’s getting more because it takes longer to eat. As it turns out, it might be increasing hunger because the small bites are making for short progress. Do know, though, that the opposite is true when it comes to serving spoons. So, use a big fork and a smaller spoon!(Source)
12. Exercise Makes You Eat Less, Not More
What does exercise have to do with feeling fuller? Researchers believe that exercise is an effective way to prevent the areas of the brain that are linked to cravings.
It also helps to control ghrelin, the hunger hormone, which will increase your feeling of being full. Whether you prefer resistance exercise or an aerobic routine – they are as effective as each other. (Source)
13. Lose That Belly Fat to Feel Full Quickly
The hormone that influences your energy and appetite is neuropeptide Y. If you have high levels of this (also known as NPY), then you likely have a large appetite. NPY can even influence how many of the calories you consume your body stores as fat. Excess body fat around the organs can increase NPY product. It’s vital that you shift any excess weight around your stomach to gain better control over your hunger levels.
14. Sleep Deprivation Increasing Cravings
You might think this is unrelated to your hunger levels, but a lack of sleep can be devastating to your energy levels and your fitness regime. How? The University of Chicago found that a bad night’s sleep can cause a 24% increase in your appetite and have an impact on how full you feel after eating. (Source)
15. Stress Making You Hungry
Stress increases cortisol levels, and this drives your food cravings and causes you to overeat. It also affects the levels of peptide YY, also known as PYY, which is a hormone that tells you when you’re full.
16. Omega 3 Fatty Acids Can Help You Lose Weight
Eating plenty of Omega 3 fatty acids increases leptin, which is what we know as the fullness hormone. Therefore, choosing foods that are rich in Omega 3’s, like fish and fish oils, will leave you feeling fuller for longer. Additionally, they are a necessary food type for your brain health, so you’re killing two birds with one stone.
17. Feeling Full After Eating High Protein Snacks
Therefore, if you’re a snacker, there is something you need to know – choose protein-rich snacks. We already discussed how effective protein could help you feel fuller for longer, so this shouldn’t be a surprise to you. The great thing about this is if you enjoy a high protein snack, you are more likely to eat less at your next meal, so you’re really doing yourself a favor by snacking right.
18. Visualize Eating to Kill Cravings
It happens every night and probably around the same time – suddenly you’re overwhelmed with the need to indulge in your favorite snack. Whether you prefer the salty or the sweet, visualizing yourself indulging that craving might just be powerful enough to stop the craving.
At least, that was the conclusion by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University who found that participants who imagined eating their snack before gaining access to it would eat 60% less. In the first instance, the experiment involved M&Ms, but they found the same to be true even when they used cheese instead.(Source)
19. Eating Apples Before Meals Help You Lose Weight
Eating apples won’t automatically result in weight loss, but it can positively impact your health.
Apples are a great snack, especially if you eat one before your meal. Why? You will consume fewer calories.
20. Nuts – Filling Food That Help You Eat Less
Nuts offer the perfect balance between protein, fat, and fiber. They are the ideal way to reduce your calorie count while keeping you fuller for longer.
21. Chew Your Crunchy Foods More
Before you get excited – no, this doesn’t mean you are free to snack on pretzels or potato chips. This is all about getting your raw veg on. They’re packed with water, which makes them the perfect low-calorie option, and they take quite a bit of time to chew.
This gives your brain plenty of time to receive the signal that food is on its way. When that process begins, you get closer to being full. Therefore, eating foods that will take longer for you to chew will ensure you eat less and stay fuller.
22. Start Using Smaller Cups
We covered the plate size thing, but this can be extended beyond that to smaller cups, too. If you are a big fan of drinks that contain calories and you have no plans to let them go then start using smaller cups for them. You’ll see a difference in no time.
23. Do Your Food Prep at the Start of the Week
Okay, whether you decide to purchase your fruits and vegetables pre-cut or you simply do your food prep at the start of the week – this simple act can keep you motivated to stay on course and avoid the typical pitfalls of hunger and cravings. Better yet, arrange them into the correct portion sizes to keep yourself on track. We’re often guilty of making bigger portions than necessary when we’re feeling particularly hungry.
24. Make a Salad That Will Keep You Full
When you go to a restaurant you have to answer the inevitable soup or salad question. Why don’t you practice this at home? Both are great ways to stretch your stomach and prevent you from over-eating during meals. They will also both ensure you are left feeling full long after your meal has ended. Whatever you do, though, don’t fill up on bread.
25. Eating Protein & Fat Before Carbs Helps Fat Loss
Okay, you already know protein is the key to feeling full, but here’s another tip – eat your proteins first. So, dive into your lean proteins on the plate before you touch your carbs.
The experimental group was instructed to eat their meat portion (protein and fat) first and their carbohydrate portion last.(Source)
26. Full Sensory Experience
Eating isn’t just about the flavors, it’s about the sight and smells, too. Your appetite responds to a variety of cues. One way to try and tell your brain what’s up is by lighting a candle before you start eating. Then blowing it out once you are done eating.
27. Soup, Salad, Fruit, And Veg
28. Pre-Meal Cup of Tea
Sip a hot cup of tea ahead of your meal and it will not only leave you feeling fuller but it will help you consume fewer calories.
29. Beans: The Super Food That Keeps You Full
Beans are an excellent source of calcium, iron, fiber, B vitamins and protein. They’re the perfect addition to every meal. They’re a healthy way to pad out meals and ensure you feel fuller for much longer. (Source)
30. Keep It Simple
Having more options on your table might trigger a response of emotional hunger. Which means you’ll want to have everything and you won’t feel satiated unless you do.
31. Whole Grains: Foods That Fill You Up
Protein and fiber, vitamins and minerals, whole grains have it all thanks to the minimal processing they are exposed to. Ditch refined grains and start bulking up with the whole variety.
If you’re not sure where to start – brown rice, oats, bulgur, and quinoa are an excellent place. They’re great for keeping you satiated and help with curbing any cravings.
32. Chia Seeds Keep You Fuller Longer
These are basically magic! Whether you toss them in your oatmeal, a smoothie, or even a vinaigrette! Not only are they packed with Omega 3’s and proteins, they expand so they keep you seriously full for long periods of time.
So, soup and salad are good ways to start your meal – but broth is just as effective as water is when it comes to expanding your stomach and signaling to your brain that you are full. Just be sure that you choose a healthy option and ideally made it from scratch.
34. A Good Hot Meal
Eating a hot meal is far better for you than eating a cold one. Wait, what? Yes, because you can’t eat hot meals as quickly as you might eat a cold one. The faster you eat the more likely you are to overdo it. Eating slowly gives your brain plenty of time to receive the signal that says I’m full now.
35. Use Utensils to Slow down Your Eating
You might feel silly sitting down to your sandwich lunch with a knife and fork, but this is a great way to eat more mindfully. Using utensils will slow your eating down thus ensuring it takes longer to eat, and you will be more aware of every bite you take.
36. Superfoods Keep You Full Longer
Superfoods provide you with the perfect mix of carbs, calories, proteins, and fats, which makes them the perfect meal choices. Looking for ways to feel fuller and enjoy a colorful meal? Chop red bell peppers or kale to give you a boost.
37. Vinegar Keeping Your Cravings at Bay
Vinegar is effective at stabilizing your blood sugar. It’s great for preventing crashes and cravings, so splash some over your salad.
38. Use Cinnamon to Overcome Food Cravings
Whether it’s an apple, your bowl of oatmeal, or a baked sweet potato – sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon over the top. It’s similar to vinegar in that it’s good for regulating your blood sugar thus effective at keeping your cravings at bay.
39. Feel Full Quickly Eating with the Other Hand
Right-handed? Hold your fork with your left hand. Left-handed? Hold your fork with your right hand. It might sound crazy, but it’s an efficient tool for making you eat more mindfully.
It will slow you down and prevent you from overeating and ensure your brain gets the hint that you’re full.
40. Are You Actually Hungry? Do ” The Hunger Test” to Find Out
Finally, before you run to eat a snack convinced that you’re hungry take the hunger test. Are you so hungry that you would be happy to eat raw broccoli, carrot sticks, or celery? If the answer is yes then snack on something healthy.
If the answer is no then you are either bored and looking for a way to busy yourself or, you need a tall glass of water.
How to Avoid Cravings Between Meals? [Conclusion]
You can’t ignore hunger – it’s a totally natural signal that you need to be aware of. However, it’s important that you understand what is driving the signal and consider what you are putting in your body that could be contributing to false signals.
These are simple ways to help you satiate your appetite and avoid cravings between meals. Have you tried many of these to no effect? It may be time to speak to a medical professional if you are driven by insatiable hunger and nothing is helping it could be indicative of an underlying health problem.
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