3 Tips for staying satisfied between meals

Mar 30, 2012 at 12:45 p.m. ET

You are doing great on your low-calorie diet, but you just have one problem… hunger. You are starving all the time. You spend hours fantasizing about cheeseburgers and your significant other thinks you might be more in love with chicken chimichangas than him or her. What to do? Try these tried-and-true tips for battling the hunger monster and stay satisfied between meals.

Woman eating soup


Make energizing food choices

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.

2Curb your cravings

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.

3Have a snack attack

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:

  • Five whole grain crackers with low-fat cheese
  • A cup of homemade chicken noodle soup
  • One cup of low-fat yogurt with fresh raspberries
  • Two rice cakes with hummus and fresh tomatoes
  • One small blueberry oat bran muffin with cream cheese
  • A hard-boiled egg and two multi-grain crackers
  • Half of one fresh avocado on a slice multigrain toast
  • A handful of edamame with a scoop of almonds
  • A small bowl of cut cantaloupe with four ounces of cottage cheese

More healthy snack ideas

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