Have you ever eaten a meal, only to find yourself ravenous an hour later? Frustrating, isn't it? I remember growing up, when we would go out for Chinese Food, it was expected that we would be hungry after an hour or so. Chalk it up to bad choices. We obviously weren't eating dishes that were very filling.
Incorporating the right nutrients into your snack or meal can be helpful in ensuring you are satisfied...and satisfied until your next snack or meal. Doing this is important whether you are the type of person who eats several smaller meals throughout the day (like moi) or 3 larger meals a day. Following this rule of thumb will help you ward off cravings for unhealthier foods, ward off major hunger pains and keep your energy levels stable throughout the day.
So what is the secret? The following three ingredients are your key to a happy and satisfied tummy:
1. Lean Protein:
- What's its secret weapon? Lean proteins have a satiating effect. Eating meals that incorporate protein makes us feel fuller, longer. The body takes longer to metabolize protein, as compared to carbohydrates, which means it doesn't leave your stomach as quickly.
- Good Sources: Fish, Chicken, Soy and VERY lean cuts of meat
- What's its secret weapon? Fiber is a component of complex carbohydrates and is a bulking agent that fills you up. Additionally, it helps you stay regular and provides healthful benefits including lowering your risk of heart disease and lowering cholesterol levels. Lastly, it takes longer to chew, and your body can't digest it. As a result, it never leaves the digestive system until you 'poop'.
- Good Sources: Fiber is found in whole grains, vegetables, beans, legumes and fruit.
3. Healthy Fats:
- What's its secret weapon? In short, healthy fats have been found to produce an appetite suppressing reaction in the body that tells the brain that the body is no longer hungry. These fats are converted into a fatty lipid hormone which increases feelings of fullness. Be warned though, these healthy fats are still fat, so be sure to not over do it!
- Good Sources: Olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.
Have you been incorporating these three into your meals? How has it worked for you? Do you tend to get hungry soon after you eat?