Ever had a big plate of pancakes topped with berries and a side of bacon only to find yourself wanting a muffin barely an hour later? It’s kind of the worst. Struggling to feel full, or even just satisfied, is incredibly frustrating, especially when you are trying to watch your weight. I turned to holistic health and nutrition counselor Molly Lee for tips on how to eat to best sustain yourself, regardless of your diet type or preferences.
First and foremost, to feel fuller longer, one of the main things to look for in food is protein. If you include protein with each meal, you will be less likely to crave as many between-meal snacks during the day.
Lee advises selecting high quality forms of protein, as in whole foods (not processed protein powders or processed soy). If you’re a meat-eater, some of the best choices you can make include organic or grass-fed chicken or beef. However, if you’re a vegetarian, there are still plenty of nutritious options. Use superfoods like chia seeds and hemp seeds for added protein. Lee also recommends almond butter, sunflower seed butter, hummus, or lentils.
You can get fiber in at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Whether it’s an apple before a meal, an avocado on the side with lunch, or oatmeal in the morning, a fiber-rich diet is good for you and helps to curb cravings. Given the wide range of fiber-rich options, from broccoli and brussels sprouts to raspberries, pears, and almonds, including fiber in your diet is pretty simple.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to avoid carbs with a ten-foot pole — just make sure you’re eating the complex sort rather than the empty ones, i.e. quinoa over Wonder Bread. Lee notes, “Unlike refined carbohydrates, these balance your metabolism and serotonin levels, which allow for longer-lasting energy.”
Look to quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, beans and lentils to get these into a balanced meal.
Like carbs, misconceptions about fats abound. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are actually good for us. Monounsaturated fats, for example, the type found in avocados, do the opposite of all the things for which bad fats (trans fats and saturated fats) are maligned. Including healthy fats in your diet can in fact help manage one’s weight and preserve heart health. Beyond the superfood that is the avocado, good fats can be found in olives, nuts, and fish such as salmon, trout, and tuna. Lee also recommends cooking with coconut oil for another added source of good fat. For a fuller and healthier belly, it's an easy switch to make.