We've all had those days that no matter how much we eat, we still don't feel satisfied. For instances like that, you're not going to want to load up on nutrient-empty foods 24/7 — that won't help you feel full! — so it's important to know what foods to eat if you're constantly hungry. Certain foods are not only more filling, but they can also keep you satisfied over time. You'll want to load up on these kinds of foods when you find your appetite is larger than normal, because they'll help you feel satiated for longer.
The reason some people may feel hungry often might also be because of the foods they're eating, funnily enough. "Some people feel a constant sense of hunger because they are eating foods that digest quickly, like refined carbohydrates and low-fat foods, rather than filling up on satiating foods, which are rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats," culinary nutrition expert Jessica Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, tells Bustle.
Sometimes hunger is caused by other factors like thirst or lack of sleep — but if you're truly just hungry, you might want to switch around your diet, and consider incorporating these foods into your day.
"Nuts are an excellent source of healthy unsaturated fats and a good source of protein and fiber," Levinson tells Bustle. According to Harvard Health Publishing from Harvard University Medical School in 2012, nuts can be a filling option to add to salads, or a grain-based bowl. "Throw in some nuts and you have a very delicious, appealing, filling, satisfying meal," assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Helen Delichatsios, told Harvard Health Publishing.
Potatoes rank the highest in satiating foods, according to research from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which is good because they're pretty much the most delicious item of food ever. Eating boiled or baked potatoes with your meal can help round out your meal, and keep you from getting hungry later.
"Avocados have the trio of healthy fat, fiber, and protein that gives it the staying power you need to stay full," Levinson tells Bustle. "Some research shows that people report greater satisfaction following a meal that included avocados." According to Keri Gans, RDN in an interview with Health.com, avocados contain a large amount of monounsaturated fats, which helps people feel fuller after eating them.
"Beans are rich in fiber, especially resistant starch, a type of fiber that slows the release of sugar in the bloodstream, keeping your blood sugar levels steady," Levinson tells Bustle. According to SF Gate, the more fiber in the beans you eat, the longer you'll feel full and satisfied after eating.
5. Greek Yogurt
According to Health.com, a study from the Nestlé Nutrition Institute found that consuming dairy proteins increases satiety and keeps blood sugar steady — so, in other words, you'll feel full after eating it for a while. "Since Greek yogurt is higher in protein than regular yogurt, it will be more satiating," Levinson tells Bustle.
"[Oatmeal] blood sugar levels steady and takes longer to digest," says Levinson. A study from the Journal of American College of Nutrition in 2013 echoed this: In the study, researchers found that eating oatmeal results in increased fullness and greater reduction of hunger than eating a normal cold breakfast cereal.
7. Brown Rice
Other whole grains like brown rice work the same way as oats to keep your energy levels steady. "The extra fiber helps fill you up, plus whole grains offer important vitamins and minerals that we tend to miss out on," Isabel Maples, MEd, RDN, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells Bustle.
Some fruits are also high in fiber, which can help increase satiety — but you have to make sure you choose the fruits that have more fiber than others. Some good options, Levinson tells Bustle: apples, pears, bananas, and berries.
Protein, protein, protein! It keeps you feeling full longer, and it's no secret that eggs are packed with it. So, unsurprisingly, a 2005 study from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that people who ate eggs for breakfast felt more satiated for longer periods of time than others who ate different breakfasts.
Get out the tuna salad with crackers or that salmon avocado sushi roll. Fish ranks the highest on the satiety index of all protein-rich foods — including eggs and beef — according to research from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
You might think that a meal full of liquid would make you less satisfied than a solid one, but research from European Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that soups may actually be more filling than solid meals containing the same ingredients. Avoid soups that are cream-based, however — that won't help you feel more full — and look for ones filled with vegetables and other high-fiber ingredients.
"Our signals for thirst and hunger can get crossed in our brains," Maples tells Bustle. "We think we feel hunger when maybe we are a little dehydrated. If you suspect you haven’t been drinking enough, drink a glass of water, and then delay food for 15 to 20 minutes, to see if the extra fluid helped. If you notice that you have a headache or darker urine, drink two glasses."
To avoid hunger pangs, reach for foods that are high in fiber and protein — your stomach will thank you.
This article was originally published on June 11, 2016 and was updated on July 2, 2019.
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