Best Foods to Satisfy Your Hunger—and the Dish That Includes Them All
And two foods to stay away from.
We've all listened to our stomach say "feed me!" right after we had a meal. What gives? Well, the kind of food you eat can either stoke your appetite or leave you feeling satisfied for hours. So, when it comes to foods that really satisfy, it's OK to play favorites. Here, Ellen Albertson, Ph.D., R.D., serves up the best and worst foods to satisfy your hunger.
Best Hunger Busters
Get Full With Fiber
Pictured Recipe: Spaghetti with Quick Meat Sauce
Beans, pears, whole-wheat pasta, oats and other fiber-rich foods provide bulk and slow digestion, which keeps you feeling fuller, longer.
Pack in the Protein
Pictured Recipe: Chicken Quinoa Fried Rice
Eating about 25 grams of protein at a meal will help balance out the hunger-stoking effects of carbohydrates. And getting 25 grams of protein in one meal is easier than you (probably) think! Try incorporating a 3-ounce chicken breast, 1 cup of cottage cheese, 6 ounces of Greek yogurt with an ounce of chopped almonds or 5 ounces of canned tuna for a protein-packed meal.
Don't Be Afraid of Fat
Pictured Recipe: Salmon Avocado Poke Bowl
An easy way to prevent the insulin boom-and-bust at a meal is to add some healthy unsaturated fats. Since fat has nine calories per gram—in comparison to four calories per gram from proteins and carbohydrates—a little goes a long(er) way. And not to mention, fats are slower to metabolize, meaning oily fish, nuts, seeds and avocados will help us feel full for longer.
And along with eating healthy fats, don't be afraid of eating full-fat dairy. The higher fat content in whole-milk products can make you feel fuller faster. Even though they're higher in calories than their lower-fat counterparts, you'll probably eat less.
Related: 4 Good Foods to Eat Full-Fat
One-Stop Shop: Broth-Based Soup
Pictured Recipe: Mexican Cabbage Soup
Brothy soups and other foods high in water, such as fruits and some veggies (cucumber, celery, cabbage, tomato, etc.), bump up the food volume in your stomach, so you feel full faster. Also, broth-based soups are an easy way to get fiber, protein and fats all in one place. Make your own soup, fill it with fiber-rich veggies and lean protein and garnish it with fat-rich toppings—such as pumpkin seeds, avocado or a dollop of full-fat yogurt—for a super filling meal.
Worst Hunger Igniters
Processed carbs—such as white bread, white rice, white pasta and packaged goods—have had all of their whole-grain goodness extracted from them, meaning they're quickly metabolized. So, you're insulin levels will rise and cause a spike in your blood sugar causing you to be hungrier, sooner.
Sugar not only drives the insulin crash-and-burn, but it may also promote leptin resistance, which is a hormone responsible for regulating hunger. So, if leptin resistance does occur, hunger and food cravings will be spurred more easily.