Committing to the choice to start eating healthier sounds great until you start feeling hungry. Whether you’re walking through the kitchen and making eyes at that ice cream in the fridge, or down a street with delicious scents of fried foods and sweet treats wafting your way, it’s no easy thing to turn down a treat when your stomach is growling. If you’re determined to stick it to cravings and keep on track with healthy eating, picking foods that will keep you full and give you plenty of energy is a key part to staving off boredom eating and cravings. But how can you stay full without loading up on carbs or going back for double helpings during meal time? Here are some tips to help you from turning back to potato chips and candy to fill you up between meals.
Nutrient Dense Filler Foods
When you’re finished with your meal, you should feel comfortably full, not hungry for more. If you’ve just finished and you’re already hungry, avoiding a snack is going to be difficult. There’s nothing wrong with eating until you’re full – the problem, if you’re after weight loss, is continuing to eat after you’ve already a point where you’re satisfied. To fill up faster and get more energy and health benefits from your meal, use nutrient dense filler foods. Eat the vegetables on your plate first, and try to make sure you’ve include veggies that are high in fiber. You can also take your lunches and dinners above and beyond by using a homemade, healthy broth-based soup as an appetizer to help fill you up. Include vegetables in your soup like carrots, squash, or potatoes for more density. (This kind of soup also serves as a healthy and hearty snack choice between meals.)
Use a Variety of ProteinsMeat doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t) be the only source of protein on your plate. In fact, if you’re looking to lose weight or feel less sluggish, replacing a couple meals a week with filling vegetarian options can have a great impact on your health. Heavy meats like beef and pork are fatty and, while eating them once in a while is fine for you, turning towards healthier proteins for the bulk of your meals will serve you better. An easy way to achieve getting a complete protein without eating any meat is to combine most any bean or legume with a grain. Rice and beans, hummus and pita, even peanut butter and bread. Pasta substitutes like quinoa are also good sources of protein.
Incorporate Good Fats Into Your MealsNot all fatty foods are bad for you! Your body needs “good” fats to be properly supplied with nutrients, and unsaturated fats play a role in keeping your mood, brain function, and fatigue in check. Saturated fats, in moderation, won’t kill you, but you should strive to keep your intake limited. Good sources of unsaturated fats are avocadoes, nut butters, olives (and olive oil), fatty fish like salmon and trout, soymilk, and flaxseed. Incorporating healthy fats into your diet will help cut down on your craving for saturated fats and you’ll get the benefits of a well-rounded diet. Like everything else, you’ll get the most benefits from unsaturated fats if you intake them in moderation. Done right, they’ll help lower your cholesterol, improve your mood, clear away “brain fog,” and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Exercise Instead of Boredom Eating
When we’re bored, our thoughts tend to start wandering toward the kitchen and what treats might be lurking inside. If you find yourself wandering over to the refrigerator over and over, hoping something to eat will makes itself known, chances are you’re more bored than hungry. You can turn the tables by picking up an exercise routine to combat boredom instead of munching on snacks. Go for a walk or jog, bust out an exercise video, or even just do some stretching when you find yourself with nothing to do or you feel like putting something else off for a little while. Your mind and body will thank you for the extra activity and time outdoors.