By Lisa Lillien, a.k.a. Hungry Girl
It’s tough to maintain a healthy weight when you’re always hungry! I’m Hungry Girl Lisa Lillien, and I’m here with five foods that’ll fill you up without weighing you down.
Pouched Tuna and Other Lean Proteins
Lean protein is king when it comes to combating hunger. I try to include protein in every meal and snack. It satisfies my hunger and keeps me from mindlessly munching, and research backs me up.
Studies have found that protein makes people feel fuller than other nutrients. One of my favorite sources of protein is pouched tuna: StarKist makes ready-to-eat pouches that are pre-seasoned and perfectly portioned. I’m also a fan of boneless skinless chicken breast, lean ground turkey, and extra-lean ground beef. One good way to get lean protein into every meal is to cook up a bunch of plain chicken or turkey in the beginning of the week and incorporate it into different meals every day. And I always have a sizable stash of those tuna pouches on hand!
Spaghetti Squash and Other Supersizing Veggies
It’s no secret that eating big portions will fill you up. But big portions of the wrong foods will add major calories to your day. That’s why I like to fill out my meals with low-calorie, high-volume veggies like spaghetti squash.
Supersizing your meals and snacks will help you feel full. Remember, high-volume foods take up more room in your stomach!
Jerky and Other High-Protein Snacks
When you’re hungry between meals, it’s often because you’re not getting enough protein. Always keep some protein-packed snacks nearby—bonus points if they’re also shelf-stable so you can keep them in your purse, car, and/or office drawer.
Jerky is one of my go-to emergency snacks: It’s delicious, full of protein, and available in tons of flavors… including ones made from turkey and chicken! There are even vegan varieties. Tey one of my favorite kinds of jerky. I’m also a fan of fat-free Greek yogurt as a high-protein snack.
Another vital nutrient that’ll fill you up: Fiber! Fiber is satiating, and it’s known to help with weight loss. Fruit is a terrific natural source of fiber. I love Fuji apples, but the most fiber-ific fruits around are raspberries and blackberries. You can eat around 1 1/2 cups of those berries for about 100 calories, and that serving packs about 12 grams of fiber! Top fat-free Greek yogurt with berries for a mini meal that’s loaded with both protein and fiber, and say goodbye to those hunger pangs.
Old-Fashioned Oats and Other Complex Carbs
Sure, some carbs are unnecessarily high in calories. But foods that contain complex carbs—like whole grains, beans, and green vegetables—are slow burners that give your body the energy it needs. It’s definitely important to watch your portions when you’re eating carbs, but reasonable servings are great for keeping hunger at bay. Old-fashioned oats are one of my favorite sources of whole grains: check out this guide to making oatmeal while you sleep!
One possible culprit for that nagging feeling of hunger is actually thirst. It’s easy to confuse thirst with hunger, so make sure you stay hydrated all day long. Steadily sip on that water bottle and you may find that your munchies go away.