The Plan: To Stay Full

There is nothing worse than feeling hungry after eating a huge plate of food.  The sporadic eating and stuffing your face with the most dense calories has got to stop!  And in order to do that the key is to get full on the smallest amount of calories.  Eating foods with water content help trick your body into feeling full.  Soups, leafy greens, and fruits and vegetables that do not contain any starch (such as broccoli, asparagus, and carrots) can assist you in feeling full.  Having a bowl of soup with your meals and drinking water can be great ways to fight off hunger pains.  Adding more fiber to your diet can also increase the time in between hunger.  Not only does fiber-enriched foods stay in your system longer (which means you stay fuller longer), they trigger brain signals that convince you that you are full.  Fiber can be found in whole grains, beans, and vegetables.  Look for at least 3 g per serving of fiber on your packages and aim for a total of 25-35 grams a day to make you feel full throughout the day.

Protein is a great additive to meals to help sustain hunger.  Have you noticed that a couple of crackers will only hold you for a short time, but when you combine them with peanut butter, which has protein, you don’t get as hungry as fast?  This is because protein helps sustain hunger longer than carbs or fat.  Be careful not to go overboard as the extra calories can do more harm than good.  Good protein foods include low-fat cottage cheese, string cheese, tofu, quinoa, tofu, edaname and the lean version of the meats you like.

Fat always gets the short end of the stick when talking about eating healthy.  Fat stimulates satiety- that’s why our body craves it so much.  The healthy fats include Omega 3’s, found in fish and flax seed, monounsaturated fats, found in olive oil, and polyunsaturated fat found in nuts and seeds.  Everyone needs dietary fat in their diet so don’t completely take fat out.  Using olive oil instead of butter to saute your food in a pan, eating nuts instead of potato chips, and eating fish high in omega 3’s at least twice a week are all ways of incorporating healthy dietary fat in your diet to help you stay full longer.   You can also limit the intake of the unhealthy fats by switching to low-fat salad dressings and milk and limiting the intake of french fries or other trans-fat or saturated-fat goodies.

Here is a sample menu of high protein, high fiber foods to help you stay full and satisfied:

Breakfast:

1/2 cup of high-fiber cereal, 1/3 cup of low-fat milk, & 1 cup of fruit (strawberries, cantaloupe)

Lunch:

Turkey Pesto Wrap- whole wheat tortilla with 1 tablespoon of pesto and 2 oz of turkey breast & a piece of fruit

Dinner:

Grilled chicken, 1 cup of broccoli, 1/2 cup of brown rice, and a piece of fruit

Snacks:

1 oz almonds

hummus with whole wheat crackers

1 cup of light popped popcorn

Everyone has heard that it takes about 15-20 minutes for your brain to feel full, right?  So, take your time to eat.  Enjoy and focus on little bites so you can decipher when your stomach is satisfied.  With these few tips and a little will power, you can achieve a stay-full plan to eating healthy all day.

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