Feeling hungry again? But, before you decide to make that trip to the refrigerator – pause, take a deep breath and think for a moment. Is it your body or your soul that needs the food?
In fact hunger could be related to two factors: physiological and emotional. If it’s a physiological urge, then you really need the food but if it’s emotional then it will only lead to an intake of additional calories, consequently increasing your body weight.
Are you following all the right habits to avoid feeling hungry all the time?
- Skipping breakfast? Think twice before you do so. This meal will fuel you for the rest of your day. Skipping it will make you feel even hungrier by the time it is lunch.
- Feeling stressed or lonely? Speak to a friend, read a book, go for a walk, or even do your chores. Do anything that will stop you from indulging in your comfort food when you are not really hungry.
- Really hungry? Try a low calorie, low fat snack, like cucumbers or carrot sticks with hummus or a low fat labneh dip. Have plain unbuttered popcorn, an apple, banana or even a handful of raw almonds. A snack is not bad at all since it actually helps you reduce the amount of food you would have at your next main meal.
- Do you crave salty food? Try to reduce the salt in your food, because the excessive use of salt can bring about a mixed feeling of hunger and thirst. This could result in you consuming a sugary beverage that would add more calories to your total intake.
- Check if you are actually feeling thirsty! Very often thirst can be mistaken for hunger, resulting in mixed signals. The solution is to first drink a glass of water to see if you are still hungry after that.
A few more tips to keep you feeling full for a longer period of time:
- Include high fibre foods in your diet: Foods like wholegrain bread, brown rice, vegetables, fruits and legumes will keep you feeling full for a longer period of time, decreasing your feeling of hunger between meals.
- Cook your pasta “Al Dente”: Pasta cooked to be slightly chewy to the bite will keep you full for a longer time. Whereas overcooked pasta makes it easier for your body to break down and absorb, making you hungry again after a short while.
- Eat your proteins: According to research, eating enough proteins with your meals will make you feel less hungry. Good sources of protein include fish, skinless poultry, legumes, seeds and lean cuts of red meat.
- Have a balanced meal: Your meal should ideally include a variety of food from the different food groups - low fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein sources. This will ensure that you won’t feel hungry shortly after you finish your meal.
- Set a fixed time for meals: Having your meals at regular timings everyday will help your body regulate itself to sending you hunger signals consistently, each day.
Good to know: Did you know that chewing of your food well will reduce your overeating habits? The better you chew your food, the more likely you will feel full with a smaller amount of food in comparison to when you gulp it down. This is because the brain starts sending satiety signals 20 minutes after you start your meal.
Most importantly, remember that controlling your hunger is left entirely in your hands. You can choose to surrender to your emotions taking every opportunity to interpret it as a need for food or you can recognize your real hunger cues, address them in a sensible way and ensure your wellbeing for life.