Most of us have long, busy days, and there's nothing worse than feeling starving when you're trying to be productive. You could continue to snack all day long, but you could also opt for healthy foods that keep you full, so you don't have to frequent the vending machine more than you would like to. Eating the right foods can not only keep you satiated throughout the day, but they can help improve your focus and take your mind off of what you're going to eat for dinner.
Eating a balanced meal can help keep you feel full, but certain foods have "satiating power," meaning they keep you satisfied for longer than other foods with the same amount of calories, according to the European Food Information Council. Foods with high satiating power usually include protein, fiber, and water.
"Starchy foods like chips will only fill us up for a short time, while nutrient dense foods full of protein and healthy fats keep you fuller for longer," says Millie Wilson, registered dietitian at My Fit Foods, over email. "When hunger hits, many start to crave not-so-good-for -you foods that are overly saturated in fat and high in calories, which satisfy cravings in the short term, but will leave you open to hunger cravings later on in the day."
If you're looking to nibble throughout the day to stay fed and satisfied, try incorporating these seven healthy filling foods into your everyday diet.
"Eggs contain protein, essential fatty acids, and other key nutrients, and are a great option for any time of the day," says Brian Tanzer, MS, CNS, nutritionist of the Vitamin Shoppe over email. A study from the University of Pennsylvania found that eating eggs in the morning helps people feel fuller for longer before lunch than people who just a grain-based breakfast such as oatmeal or cereal.
"Avocados are somewhat magical in that they taste delicious, but also add a lot of fiber and healthy fats to your meals," says Erinn Gregory, RDN over email. "Stick to about 1/4 of an avocado as a salad topper or as a substitute for mayo in your sandwich." A study in Nutritional Journal found that adding avocado to your lunch decreases desire to eat by 40 percent for the following three hours, and it also leaves you feeling satisfied.
Popcorn is filled with fiber, and one serving actually provides you with more than 70 percent of your intake of whole grains, according to Gizmodo. A study from Nutrition Journal also found that popcorn is more satiating as a snack than potato chips. "Skip the extra butter drizzle and pop your own on the stove top," says Gregory.
"A nutritious source of low-glycemic carbohydrates and packed with fiber, oatmeal is an excellent breakfast option that will help get you going in the morning and prevent the mid-morning slump you often get from a bagel, sugary cereal, or muffin," says Tanzer.
"Nuts are one of the best go to foods," says Gregory. "They've got it all: fat, protein, and fiber. I always recommend walnuts, pistachios, pecans, and almonds. Pre-portion each in little baggies for a satisfying snack on the go."
6. Greek Yogurt
"Packed with protein and calcium, unflavored Greek yogurt contains very little sugar (only naturally-occurring lactose)," says Tanzer. Because it is so high in protein, Greek yogurt is good for hunger control, according to Livestrong.com.
Despite their bad reputation, potatoes are actually a good choice when it comes to managing hunger. According to Time Magazine, potatoes rank highest in satiating foods. They also happen to be rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Everyone's body is different, so be sure to listen to your own hunger cues to discern when you need to eat or when you're feeling satisfied.
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