It’s a self-defeating pattern that many of us know too well. You reach over while sitting at your desk and snack on the chips you brought for lunch, even though it’s only 10 a.m. An hour later, you’re at it again, digging through the break room for cookies or some other sweet treat. Lunch happens, but you’re raiding the candy jar at 3.
All of a sudden, you’re way ahead on calories for the day and you still aren’t full. How’d that happen?
Chances are it’s as much about what you eat as how often you are eating. Sugar-filled snacks might provide a quick rush of energy, but they can leave you yearning for more fuel quickly. Instead, consider purposeful snacking with foods full of fiber, protein or healthy fats that help control your appetite for longer than quick-burning carbohydrates.
Look for one of these options to snack smarter and feel full for longer:
- Greek yogurt – Surprisingly protein packed, Greek yogurt helps provide lasting energy. A sprinkle of healthy nuts can provide an additional protein boost and some slow-burning fats.
- Avocados – The healthy fats in avocados can provide sustaining energy, but avocados are calorie dense, too, so enjoy them sparingly.
- Nutrition bars – Like the name suggests, these bars can provide a lot of hunger-curbing ingredients. But not all bars are created equal. Look for those that provide protein (often via nuts or yogurt) but don’t include added sugars.
- Spicy foods – This trick isn’t so much related to fiber or fat. But it appears a chemical called capsaicin present in spicy peppers has an appetite-calming mechanism. And you might slow down while eating, which means you won’t eat as much before you feel full. Try some seasoned nuts, like buffalo-sauce-flavored peanuts, or go for roasted chickpeas coated in your favorite spices.
- Water – Have you tried drinking water? We sometimes think we’re hungry when we’re actually thirsty. Research conducted at the University of Birmingham (U.K.) and published in the medical journal Obesity found that drinking a glass of water before a meal cut down on the amount study subjects consumed, and those who drank a 16-oz. glass of water before their meal lost weight.