Do you find yourself reaching for the biscuit tin not long after a meal? Or feel like you’re always battling hunger pangs? Whilst we wouldn’t suggest you deprive yourself, if you’re someone whose tummy is constantly rumbling here are some simple ways to get your appetite under control…
Rise & Shine With Protein
Nutritionists are constantly raving about lean protein, and for good reason – it keeps you full and takes your body more time to digest and absorb. But what’s less well known is when you eat it also matters. Studies have shown that eating protein for breakfast (eggs, salmon, Greek yoghurt) keeps you satisfied longer than if you were to consume it at other times of the day.
Add Vinegar & Cinnamon
Looking to add flavour to your meals? Forget sugar or salt – there are myriad spices and flavours that will make your meals both more filling and tastier. Vinegar – which has been shown to lower the glycaemic index (meaning you metabolise food more slowly) – adds flavour to salad dressings, sauces and roasted vegetables with minimal calories. For warmth and a sweet taste, add cinnamon to everything from porridge to chilli. Like vinegar, cinnamon slows the rate at which food moves from your stomach to intestine, keeping you fuller for longer.
Drink More Water
The old adage rings true – drink at least two litres of water per day, ideally more, to keep your appetite in check. Mild dehydration can easily be mistaken for hunger, so be sure to sip throughout the day and drink a large glass 20 minutes before each meal. At the same time, steer clear of liquid calories –our brains aren’t wired to recognise them, even from a healthy smoothie, so stick to whole foods where possible for the ultimate satiety.
Instagram Your Food
Research suggests that taking a photograph of your meal just before you eat it can concentrate the mind to eat not only healthier foods but also less of them. In a recent study, this trick appeared to deter binge eating. The same goes for keeping a food diary.
Get Enough Sleep
While not an instant fix, making sure you get at least eight hours of sleep per night is crucial to controlling appetite. Two hormones – leptin and ghrelin – regulate our appetite, and both are directly affected by how much sleep we get. These hormones work in a kind of ‘checks and balances’ system to control feelings of hunger and fullness; adequate sleep means things will tick along nicely and they’ll keep everything in check.
Do some HIIT
Hitting the gym for an HIIT class not only burns calories but also helps you consume fewer of them. An increasing amount of research suggests high-intensity cardio can reduce appetite for up to two hours afterwards as the body redirects all its blood flow and energy to areas where it’s needed, such as the lungs and muscles. Conversely, long, low-impact workouts such as swimming and yoga can increase the appetite, leaving you hungrier.
Packed with energy from natural fructose, vitamin C, flavonoids and pectin fibre, your body absorbs the sugar in citrus fruit slowly, keeping you fuller for longer. They can also help to temper your appetite, ‘trick’ your body into fat-burning mode and calm inflammation.
Pop A Pill
If you constantly crave sugary treats, it could be worth taking a chromium supplement. The mineral (naturally found in broccoli, potatoes and grapes, albeit in small quantities) helps the body to break down carbohydrates, fat and proteins as well as use the blood sugar-lowering hormone, insulin, more effectively. In short, it can help to reduce cravings by keeping blood sugar steady.
Chewing each mouthful at least ten times will naturally cause you to eat more slowly, allowing your mind to catch up to your stomach. It takes us around ten to 30 minutes to feel satiation from our food, so slow down and you’ll be more satisfied with what’s on your plate.