The first rule for staying satisfied between meals is to choose foods that offer lots of nutrients and long-lasting energy. While a can of Coke may have the same calories as a slice of whole grain toast with cheese, the effects on your body are very different. The Coke will cause your blood glucose levels to spike and then fall, potentially making you feel weak and jittery within the next hour. The toast and cheese contains both healthy fiber and protein, which will give your body the boost it needs to make it through the afternoon.
Eat three balanced meals plus snacks each day. Choose from fruits, veggies, legumes, whole grains, nuts, low-fat dairy and lean meats. Fiber-rich foods are best for staving off hunger because they slow digestion and keep you feeling satisfied. Stay away from processed foods that are tempting but full of empty calories. Make sure to drink plenty of water, as dehydration can cause your metabolism to slow down.
It is easy to fall into an emotional relationship with food. As children, we often learn to associate sweets and other junk food with happiness. Birthdays, holidays, parties… they all equate to indulging in unhealthy foods. But as adults, we suffer the complications of this unhealthy relationship with food. We need to train our bodies and minds to appreciate the delicious flavors of wholesome foods, so that we don't spend all our time wishing we were eating pizza and ice cream.
Cravings are natural and it is best not to ignore them. If you are eating a wholesome, balanced diet most of the time, giving into a craving now and again actually might be a good idea. Rather than suppressing your cravings, give yourself a treat and let yourself have a small serving of what you love. Sometimes, even just a couple of bites will be enough to curb the craving.
Afraid to ruin your diet by snacking? Don't be. Healthy snacking is one of the keys to weight management success. Eating smaller meals and regular snacks actually boosts your metabolism and keeps your body burning energy consistently all day long. The key is to choose snacks that are low in calories, but filling enough to keep you going. The best snacks are ones that combine a high-fiber food with a small amount of protein. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
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