Pushing your will-power to its limits in dietary terms isn’t necessarily a good thing… it can easily lead us to over-indulge and binge eat because we get overly hungry. Not eating until your stomach feels completely empty is the perfect way to sabotage that diet – you’ll snack on foods you don’t need, or you might just grab that ‘quick fix’ which is full of processed sugars. So, how do we curb those mid-morning and mid-afternoon cravings?
I have a few tips to control these cravings which should help leave you feeling more satisfied after a meal, and therefore less inclined to reach for the biscuit tin:
1) Eat protein in the morning
‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ – how many times have we heard people say that? Well, breakfast is important because it kick starts your metabolism and helps reduce hunger throughout the day. But an even better breakfast is one full of protein because it takes more energy for you to digest than carbs, therefore leaving you feeling full for longer. This helps stop that mid-morning slump – and if you do still get hungry – get up, have a walk and make yourself a cup of green tea… because it’s probably just boredom!
2) Always keep some healthy snacks in your cupboard
Having cupboards filled with chocolate, crisps, sweets and biscuits will only ever lead to bad things. You’ll get hungry, binge eat, and then regret it after. Instead, throw everythingunhealthy in the bin. Instead, stock up on nuts, cheese and dark (over 70% cocoa) dark chocolate. Nuts and cheese provide you with healthy fats which will leave you feeling much fuller than a packet of crisps. I find dark chocolate is great too, because you only need a couple of squares to satisfy the sweet craving. I actually like keeping cooked meat in the fridge so if I am tempted to eat I can just grab a bit of protein and voila – no more hunger!
3) Cut fructose out of your diet – completely!!
Fructose is the devil here – it is highly addictive and doesn’t stimulate the release of a hormone called ‘leptin’, which is what suppresses our hunger once we have had enough to eat. The sweet craving you get after every meal will probably be because you’re addicted to fructose… cut it out of your diet and see how quickly your cravings disappear! (Note: it will be hard at first).
4) Drink water
I often find after a meal that I think I am still hungry – when in actual fact I am just thirsty. After your lunch or dinner, have a glass of water and a cup of green tea and you’ll soon realise that those hunger pangs are no longer there. Just be patient and give yourself 30 minutes before grabbing something else to eat – more often than not you will feel satisfied once you’ve re-hydrated your body and given yourself time to digest the food you’ve just eaten.