Wednesday, September 19, 2012

5 Hunger Fighting Foods to Try

Cutting carbs, calories: You lose weight, that's for sure. But those between-meal hunger pains are vicious. Can you make it home tonight without chewing off your hand?

For more than a decade, nutritionists have investigated this issue of "satiety" -- feeling full -- to help us fight off hunger pains.
By strategically increasing a meal's water and fiber content -- with the addition of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains -- you can dramatically cut the calories per portion.
Fruits and vegetables naturally have a high water content, which allows you to eat more, because the food is "energy dense."

It's the grapes versus raisins concept: A cup and a half of grapes equals ¼ cup raisins for a snack that is about 100 calories. The water in grapes lets you eat more, so you feel fewer hunger pains.

Also, a tiny bit of fat helps you last longer. Your system burns carbs in an hour or two, so the hunger pains hit midmorning. If you add a little fat to your breakfast, low-fat rather than skim milk, or low-fat yogurt, or a smear of peanut butter on a bagel, you're not hungry so soon afterward.

5 Foods to Try

  1. Soup. Start with a broth-based soup (rather than higher-calorie cream soups). Add your favorite cut-up veggies, plus a protein such as beans, chicken, or fish, so you have all the elements of an energy-dense, satisfying meal.
  2. Smoothies. If they're made with low-fat yogurt and loads of fruit, you're getting protein, fiber, and calcium.
  3. Pasta primavera. Start with whole-wheat pasta, and then add a bunch of your favorite sautéed veggies, which can be pretty darn good. The more you increase the proportion of vegetables to pasta, the greater the satiety.
  4. Popcorn. It's truly energy dense, plus there's the volume effect. If you have air-popped popcorn (and don't add fat to it), you get a huge amount. That's good because it gives you lots of sensory satisfaction. There's research showing that the perception of eating a whole lot can trick the system.
  5. Big salads. A meal-sized salad needs a small amount of grated cheddar cheese,  grilled chicken, & low-fat dressing, plus an abundance of fruits and veggies to provide satiety.

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