6 tricks to help you feel fuller on little food
Want to feel fuller on less food? You might be raising a skeptical brow, thinking, “Not another weight-loss gimmick.” But if you’re smart about how and what you eat, you can consume fewer calories—without over-restriction or depriving yourself—and still feel satisfied. Whether you’re watching your weight or just trying to avoid a holiday food hangover, it will help curb your appetite while keeping your belly rumblings at bay.
1. Slow Down
When you eat too fast, your body doesn’t have ample time to recognize that you’re feeling full. Slowing down and chewing your food over a longer period allows the gut to send a series of signals to the brain indicating satiety. As your belly fills with liquids and food, receptors in the stomach are activated and leptin, the satiety hormone, is released. leptin then communicates with other neurotransmitters and hormones (such as dopamine and cholecystitis) to induce feelings of pleasure and fullness. Basically, This process requires some time. So, before you reach for seconds, give yourself 20 minutes for your brain and tummy to get on the same page.
2. Drink Water Before Meals
It’s very common to misperceive dehydration as hunger. If you’re feeling famished, first try gulping down a glass of water to ensure you’re not confusing thirst for appetite. Doing this before a meal also helps you feel fuller: Since water takes up space in your stomach, it triggers stretch receptors, which then send signals to the brain that you’re stuffed. In other words, with all that H20 occupying room in your belly, you’ll need a smaller amount of food to feel satisfied.
3. Satiate With Side Salads
Similarly, veggies have a high volume of water, so tossing greens on your plate is a great way to enhance feelings of fullness and help you control overeating. And since veggies are low in calories, you don’t have to skimp on portions. As a matter of fact, research demonstrates that pairing your meal with a nutrient-dense side like a salad helps you reduce your overall calorie intake. Plus, veggies contain loads of fiber. And, when it comes to feeling fuller on less food, fiber is your friend. That’s because it digests slowly, balances your blood sugar levels, and keeps your appetite in check. For an extra fiber fix, mix your greens with nuts, seeds and legumes.
4. Drink After You Dig In
Try drinking two cups of water after each meal.
We know getting enough H2O is good for our overall health, but when you drink may also help you manage your weight. An August 2015 Obesity study found that drinking water before a meal may help you eat less and lose weight. Subjects in the study consumed about two cups of water 30 minutes before each main meal. This led to a moderate weight loss over the course of 12 weeks for the water-drinking group — they lost about 2.5 pounds more than the control group.
If you find it difficult to drink plain water, adding fresh fruit, sliced cucumbers and/or herbs is a delicious way to boost flavor without adding sugar or calories. In addition, tea drinks such as tea burn can help you rev up your metabolism and lose weight effectively.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Noticing yourself craving something sweet after a poor night’s rest? Sleep is your body’s time to reset and re-energize, and when you don’t catch enough quality zzzs, you’re more likely to crave simple sugars for immediate energy. The problem? Once you devour that donut, your blood sugar levels spike — and then crash soon after, making you yearn for even more calorie-dense, nutrient-deficient sweets.
So, if you can’t hit the pillow for the recommended seven hours per night, sneak in a half-hour snooze. Just a 30-minute nap can help reverse the effects of a restless night’s slumber, according to a March 2015 study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Distractions such as the television can lead to mindless eating, and, in turn, result in overindulging.
5. Pack Meals With Protein
Like fiber, protein takes longer — and uses more energy — to digest than refined carbs. That’s why it keeps your belly happy and staves off hunger. To feel full, aim to pack your plate with lean proteins at breakfast, lunch and dinner. With plenty of protein and few calories, low-energy-dense foods like fish, poultry, fat-free dairy, egg whites and legumes are your healthiest options.
6. Limit Distractions
Mindful eating is key to helping you feel full. Distractions such as the television can lead to mindless eating, and, in turn, result in overindulging. For starters, don’t nosh on food in front of the tube. When you’re too busy binging Netflix, it’s easy to miss your body’s “I’m not hungry anymore” cues. Instead, try to pay attention to the taste and texture of your food and savor every bite. If you truly enjoy every mouthful, you’ll feel satisfied and be less likely to overdo it.
When choosing foods that help you feel fuller longer, the key factors to look for are foods that are good sources of:
- Protein: Protein is the most satiating macronutrient. It actually changes the levels of several satiety hormones, including the hunger hormone ghrelin and peptide YY, a hormone that makes you feel full.Not only does eating more protein-rich foods keep us fuller, it also helps us burn more calories.
- Fiber: Fiber takes longer to pass through the digestive system. Adding more high-fiber foods to our diet can help us feel fuller longer, which may help us avoid overeating at our next meal. For a food to be classified as high-fiber, it should have at least 3–5 grams of fiber per serving.
- Healthy fats: Healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids and plant-based monounsaturated oils are necessary for good health. It seems that fats have an effect on satiety and appear to regulate appetite through the release of appetite hormones and by slowing down the rate at which your stomach empties during digestion.
These food components take longer to digest than, say, foods that are mainly made up of simple carbohydrates. In fact, it seems that the more “whole” a food is—that is, unprocessed, unrefined, and free of additives—the more filling it tends to be.