Hunger is one of the more common issues individuals encounter when transitioning to a nutritious diet. Many people aspire to eat healthier in an effort to lose weight gained due to overeating. That can make the adjustment more difficult, as individuals are accustomed to eating to a point of fullness. But there’s good news for people in that situation, as a variety of healthy foods can provide a feeling of fullness and put an end to between-meal hunger pangs.
Water: Water may not be food, but drinking more of it can provide a feeling of fullness that people are accustomed to. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics notes that symptoms of mild dehydration often present as feelings of hunger. In addition, the PKD Foundation reports that clinical studies have found that 37 percent of people mistake thirst for hunger because signals that indicate thirst are weak. Dry eyes, feeling sluggish, and headache are some potential warning signs of thirst. So when mid-afternoon hunger pangs hit, try drinking some water before reaching for a snack.
Vegetables: One of the misconceptions concerning food and fullness is that low-calorie foods are unlikely to fill up the proverbial tank. That’s not true, and vegetables are a testament to how filling certain low-calorie foods can be. According to the Mayo Clinic, most vegetables are low in calories but high in volume or weight. That means they can contribute to feelings of fullness without compromising individuals’ efforts to eat healthy.
Baked potatoes: Nearly 30 years ago, researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia developed a satiety index in an effort to measure how effective certain foods were at helping people feel full. No food finished with a higher satiety ranking than baked potatoes. That’s good news for individuals looking to transition to a nutritious diet, as baked potatoes without any added butter or other toppings are low in sodium and do not contain any cholesterol. Baked potatoes also are a good source of vitamin C and dietary fiber. Buttering a baked potato can compromise its nutritional value, so consider sprinkling pepper in place of butter if you need some additional flavor.
Pulses: One thing to look for to overcome hunger pangs while trying to eat healthy is slowly digested foods. Pulses fit that bill. Carbs that the body does not digest quickly can help individuals avoid hunger pangs, and pulses are slow to digest. Beans, lentils and peas are some examples of pulses. Adding pulses to salads or even using pulses like lentils as the foundation for a salad is a great way to eat healthy and avoid hunger.
Hunger pangs can compromise a healthy diet. Thankfully, many healthy foods pack a nutritional punch and provide a feeling of fullness that can reduce the likelihood of potentially harmful between-meal snacking.