Top 4 Ways to Make Meals More Filling
Have you ever eaten a meal or snack and heard your stomach growling less than an hour later? You may be eating enough calories without a proper makeup of macronutrients. Try these top four tips for fueling your body with filling and nourishing foods, so you can make it until your next meal without hitting the vending machine or getting to the dreaded ‘hangry’ point.
1. Fuel Up With Fat
Fat takes longer for our bodies to digest and absorb than protein or carbohydrates, which increases our satiety when we eat meals filled with healthy fats. Adding fat to meals or snacks can also help to control a big blood sugar spike after eating. This adds to the fullness factor because big spikes and crashes in blood sugar can cause increased hunger and cravings. Another benefit is that adding fat just makes food taste better! Try adding nut butter to a smoothie, a drizzle of olive oil on roasted vegetables, or adding half of an avocado to a green salad.
Our bodies can’t digest and absorb fiber completely, leading meals with this unique type of carbohydrate to be much more filling. Similar to fat, a fiber-filled meal will also slow down a blood sugar spike. A wide variety of fiber-rich foods will benefit gut microbiome diversity, which also plays a role in maintaining a healthy weight. Fiber is found in all plant foods, especially beans, legumes, fruits, and vegetables. Try adding beans to an egg scramble, a handful of kale into a smoothie, or adding a cup of berries to Greek yogurt.
3. Pack in a Protein Punch
As the third macronutrient that our bodies require, protein is essential for helping you to get full from a meal — and stay full. Although protein is found in the highest amounts in animal foods, like meat, poultry, eggs, and fish, many plant foods contain plenty of protein, like tofu, nuts, beans, and lentils. We all have different protein needs, but aiming for a minimum of 20 to 30 grams per meal is a good place to start.
4. Double Up
Sometimes the combination of foods we eat can contribute to their fullness factor. For example, a banana on its own may leave you feeling ravenous mere minutes later. But, if you slather it with almond butter, you have a much more filling snack. Other food combinations that support satiety are apples with string cheese, nuts with jerky, or hard-boiled eggs with avocado. What do these combinations have in common? They all include two or more of the filling macronutrients: fat, fiber, and protein.