Hunger pangs aren’t the greatest feeling, especially when you know you have to limit your consumption due to weight management issues or an existing diet. So how can you get a handle over those feelings of wanting to eat more? Here are some tips to optimise your nutrition in order to avoid unnecessary hunger:
Take more animal protein
There are three main groups of macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. While every one of them are important in creating a well-balanced diet, studies have shown time and time again, that it is protein that help tackle hunger the best. Not only is it the most satiating of the three, it’s also the slowest to be broken down. If you want to control those hunger pangs, add more meat to your meals. Of course, you’d want said meat to be prepared as simply as possible in order to avoid any excess empty calories. So, go with grilled and baked options instead of fried ones.
In addition to the above point, there are some studies that showed complex carbohydrates being similarly efficient at controlling hunger compared to protein. Why is this so? The answer may lie in the dietary fibre content inherent in carbohydrates. The more fibre you have in your diet, the more satiation you will experience. When choosing your carbohydrate sources, go for wholegrain and unprocessed ones as they contain more fibres than processed and refined counterparts. Fruits and vegetables are also a great nutrient-dense source of dietary fibre
Opt for more solid foods
The texture of the food is important in helping us to control hunger. This is because the texture of the food can hint at an indication of how nutrient-dense the food can be, and this is termed as “cephalic phase response” or the “neuro-lingual response” of food. Solid, viscous and creamy food items tend to give us satisfaction and satiety. Furthermore, solid foods require us to chew more, promoting an even greater sense of fullness. This is why taking in 30g worth of protein from grilled chicken feels a lot more satisfying compared to consuming it via a protein shake.
One of the biggest battles many of us have with ourselves is food. Making small adjustments to one’s nutritional habits can help us regain control of our hunger and satiety levels so that we learn to manage our weight properly and adhere to sound eating guidelines. Feeling hungry may be a natural reaction, but you need to be able to answer it on your terms instead of just blindly shovelling food down your throat.