What munchies? For those mid-afternoon cravings that get us reaching for whatever’s greasy and salty or processed and sweet, try these six healthy tricks to keep between-meal hunger away:
- Fill up on fiber. Found in plant-based foods, fiber packs all sorts of benefits, including the ability to make us feel full and satisfied longer. Adding more whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans to your diet gives you fiber that does wonders in keeping hunger at bay.
- Go big with protein. Protein takes longer than carbs to digest, which serves as an appetite suppressant. Meat, poultry, seafood, low-fat dairy, and plant-based alternatives (like tofu) are all great sources of protein—the building blocks of muscles and cells. Bonus: Consume beans for a two-fer boost of protein and fiber.
- Home in on healthy fats. Sources of plant-based, unsaturated fat are good for your heart and your waistline. Like fiber and protein, fat can help boost satiety and curb cravings for longer. Avocado, nuts, and seeds are some of our favorite fat-rich foods, which make for great snack options.
- Hydrate for success. It’s easy to mistake hunger for hydration needs. Next time you’re hankering for a snack, challenge your craving by first drinking a large glass of water. Then, wait 15 minutes before deciding if you really need the extra fuel.
- Learn to love breakfast. The saying that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” has merit. After fasting overnight and depleting your energy, a complete breakfast that incorporates fiber, protein, and healthy fats gives you a great way to keep you going well into the day.
- Snack on a schedule. Much like the benefits of sticking to a consistent sleep routine, conditioning your body clock with an eating schedule can pay big dividends. Consider two to three light snacks (like fruit, nuts, or yogurt) to avert cravings between meals. Preventing hunger pangs keeps us from overeating.
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