Divide and Conquer Your AppetiteTo prevent getting overly hungry, try turning one regular-sized meal into multiple, smaller meals. For instance, if you normally eat soup and sandwich for lunch, eat your sandwich at lunch, then heat your soup later as an early afternoon snack. Or, "go halves" and eat half of both your sandwich and soup serving now and the rest a few hours later.
Fill Up on FiberIf you are feeling especially hungry when you sit down to a meal, you will likely take oversized portions or go for seconds. To avoid overdoing it, try filling up with fiber-rich vegetables before you eat any other types of foods. They may normally serve as side dishes, but using veggies as an "appetizer" is a low-cal, high-fiber way to control your appetite. If you still want seconds, another serving of veggies is ideal for rounding out your meal in a healthy way.
Be a Kid at Heart (or, at the Table)Sometimes we confuse appetite with a sense of deprivation. If you have been foregoing many of your favorite foods recently, perhaps you think you are hungry when you're really not. You may be craving those preferred foods while you are forcing yourself to eat only what you "should."
Remember how as a kid you ate all your favorite foods first and left that pesky little pile of broccoli until the last second? Just for today, eat only the foods that you really want and leave the rest -- your membership in the clean plate club is officially revoked.
Eat Enough at MealtimesRegular, healthful snacks are a great way to keep your appetite in check, but snacking just isn't for some folks. If you only eat three meals a day, you need to make sure you are eating enough at each meal to hold you over until the next one.
If you are following a diet plan that includes snacks, add those missing calories into your meal instead. Be sure to include protein such as eggs, lean meat, or fish in each meal as it will provide a longer-lasting sense of satiety and keep your energy level up.
Eat "Slow" SnacksRemember that it takes up to 20 minutes for your brain to get the "signal" that you have eaten and are full. The longer it takes to eat something, the better. Choose foods that require a lot of chewing when you feel likely to overeat. Here are some ideas for snacks that will slow you down:
- Baby carrots with low-fat dip
- Reduced-fat cheese on whole grain crackers
- Air-popped popcorn
- Microwaved apple with cinnamon on top
- Baked tortilla chips with salsa or fat-free bean dip