When you are losing weight, it is critical do eat fewer calories than the number of calories you use to fuel yourself. Of course that means you are more likely to become hungry, particularly if you make poor food choices.
Good food choices will keep you filled up for longer and will make it less likely you will get hungry before your next feed. They mostly have the following in common: they are often high in fibre, slowly digested or contain a lot of liquid. Good food choices also tend to be less processed than poor food choices.
The following list is a guideline to help you make good choices:
- Lean meat and fish proteins, eggs, low fat dairy such as greek yoghurt and other high protein sources will keep hunger at bay longer. Lean meat and fish includes chicken and turkey breast, white fish, lean cuts of pork and beef with the fat trimmed, tuna steaks. Salmon, although oily, is also a good choice for its health benefits.
- Cooked oatmeal, other cooked wholegrains such as wholegrain rice, quinoa and buckwheat, new potatoes, sweet potato and yams are high in slowly digesting carbohydrate and contain lots of soluble fibre and water.
- Vegetables are nutrient rich and calorie sparse with plenty of fibre and water, so when included in a meal they will stretch the stomach and slow digestion. If you are calorie restricted then much of your carbohydrate should come from vegetables.
- Pulses and legumes provide lots of protein, slowly digesting carbohydrate, fibre and water.
- Most fruit, but especially temperate fruits such as apples, pears and berries are nutrient rich, and provide plenty of soluble fibre and water, making them slow to digest.
- Soups tend to be very filling because of their water content. Try a soup with vegetables and beans for added fibre and protein.
Although fat by itself has a small effect on satiety, small quantities included in a meal will help delay gastric emptying and so slow digestion, so adding a few nuts or seeds to a low fat meal will provide some healthy fats and help stave off hunger.
If you are in doubt about a food you can check out sites like nutritiondata.self.com, search for your food and then look at ‘fullness factor’ and glycaemic load (GL). In terms of keeping you full for longer, the higher the fullness factor, the better. In terms of ideal blood sugar responses, the lower the glycaemic load, the better.
Choosing low GL foods is important for those with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes.
Sometimes people feel hungry when they are actually thirsty. If you feel hungry, try drinking a glass of water rather than eating something.