It's 9 o'clock on Tuesday night.
You've just sat down after a long day to the brand new episode of Americal Idol.
You're sitting there reminiscing about the glory days of American Idol and the sexual tension between Paula Abdul and Simmon Cowell when all of a sudden it hits you...
You're three weeks into your new diet, and the last thing you want to do is reverse the progress you've made.
You're able to fight it this time, but the very next night 9 pm rolls around and the same insatiable feelings of hunger strike you. This time, your willpower isn't as strong, and you crack open a cold beer and a bag of pita chips with hummus.
Hunger is a dieter's worse enemy.
Eating low calories and exercising is fun when your tummy is satisfied, and you're steadily dropping weight, but the fun ends when hunger enters the equation.
One of the key steps towards achieving long-term weight loss success is through reducing the amount of hunger you experience.
Luckily, there are many foods that can naturally help you stay full for fewer calories!
Qualities of Hunger-Fighting Foods
Fiber Content - Fiber is an essential nutrient that has an important role in digestion. It's correlated with a reduced risk of many adverse health complications like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Fiber can also increase the satiety of food. When combined with water, fiber swells and fills your stomach making you feel full.
Water Content - People commonly confuse thirst with hunger. By eating foods that are naturally high in water (like fruits and vegetables), you'll both quench your thirst as well as fill your stomach with water.
Food Taste - Eating foods high in fiber and water can help increase fullness, but it won't matter if the food you're eating doesn't satisfy you.
Along with choosing foods high in water & fiber content, ensure you actually enjoy the food you're eating, so you're left feeling physically and mentally satisfied
If you are struggling with staying full, start eating more foods with these hunger-suppressing qualities.
There are lots of foods that have these qualities, but here are some of my personal favorites. These foods are so filling that they make eating in a deficit almost too easy...
When I am trying to build muscle or maintain my weight, I have to reduce how often I eat these foods, or I'll get too full! - But for dieting, they're perfect.
The 6 Best Hunger Fighting Foods
Tubers include foods such as potatoes and yams (sweet potatoes). Potatoes are packed with water and fiber resulting in a ton of volume for fewer total calories.
Here is a chart that compared the estimated fullness factor against the actual reported fullness factor:
As you can see, potatoes provide an incredibly high fullness factor.
Having said this, the way you prepare your potatoes can have a big impact on how filling they are...
Where baked and broiled potatoes are incredibly filling, things like french fries and potato chips don't provide the same hunger-blunting benefits.
While most fruits provide a lot of fiber and water, I have found that apples take the crown for the most filling fruit.
I am not entirely sure why apples are so filling - it may be due to the high amount of pectin ( a soluble fiber) and the crunch factor they provide.
Either way, apples can be a great snack when you want to suppress your hunger in between meals.
Carter...what the heck are gourds???
Gourds are foods like cucumbers, zucchini, and squash. These foods are chock-full of water, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
I have two favorite ways to cook gourds. One way is to take a few zucchinis, cut them into fourths and bake them in the oven.
My other favorite way to use gourds is to take a yellow spaghetti squash, bake it, and then use it as a replacement for actual wheat pasta. It's actually pretty incredible how similar spaghetti squash tastes to regular spaghetti.
4. Leafy Green Vegetables
Whenever I am trying to lose weight, salad becomes a staple in my diet.
Personally, I have never understood all of the hate towards things like spinach and other leafy greens.
Put in the effort to make a delicious salad with other veggies and a low-calories dressing and you'll have yourself a tasty and satiating meal.
Beans have the unique property of having a good amount of both protein and fiber (two food qualities that are proven to increase satiety).
The other great thing about beans is that there are a ton of varieties with a broad range of tastes. My favorite kind of beans are black beans, And my favorite recipe for them is....Chipotle ;).
6. Dark Chocolate
I know, I know... dark chocolate doesn't really have much water content. However, dark chocolate has a surprisingly high amount of fiber.
What's more is that dark chocolate fulfills the third quality I talked about earlier - Food Taste.
I typically end my night with a half bar of dark chocolate, and it completely satisfies my sweet tooth and hunger cravings.
Find the Foods that Fill You
We all have different food tastes and preferences. Therefore, it's up to you to find foods that satisfy you physically and mentally.
Use the three qualities of hunger-fighting foods that I provided and figure out what foods you enjoy that also fit the bill for keeping you full and satisfied.
What are your favorite hunger-fighting foods? Comment down below!