Committing to exercise is only one facet of living a healthy lifestyle. Some of our biggest health challenges center around our food choices- especially when we’re feeling hungry.
When we’re trying to make positive dietary changes in our diet, it’s tough to resist the temptation of snack food. The hungrier we become, the more likely we are to eat whatever is available. One minute, you’re eating a snack to relieve your hunger pangs, and the next, you’re mindlessly chowing down on an entire bag of chips.
I remember one night early in my wellness journey when I had to work so hard to suppress my appetite. It was around 2 AM, and I woke up feeling so hungry that I couldn’t go back to sleep. The likely culprit for this intense hunger was the unfulfilling dinner I had eaten the night before. I ended up reaching for snack foods and eating way more than I should have to quell my hunger.
Its not how much you eat, but what you eat that makes a difference
My efforts to clean up my diet and get fit initially centered around eating less, but I kept having repeats of that 2 AM snack attack scenario. After some trial and error, I discovered that caloric restriction and portion control is not a sustainable means of curbing hunger. It wasn’t how much I ate, but what I ate that helped me rein in my insatiable appetite.
Calories are just units of energy, but they don’t tell us anything about the nutritional value of the food we eat. You can eat 500 calories of fries or 500 calories of apple slices, but the outcome of each choice is different. If you opted for the fries, there’s a good chance you’d be reaching for another snack sooner than if you had gone for the apple slices.
5 Common Snack Choices That Will Leave You Hungrier In The Long Run
I discovered that many of the things that I was eating wouldn’t relieve my hunger long-term. An hour after a snack, you’d find me prowling around in my kitchen to find something else to eat. Here are some of the ways that I tried and failed to satisfy my hunger.
1. Artificial Sweeteners
When I decided that I wanted to lose weight, I immediately started consuming products made with artificial sweeteners. I put Sweet n’ Low in my coffee, and I drank diet soda. It seemed like a great way to cut corners and still enjoy the things I loved.
This flawed thinking has destroyed many health plans. When you consume artificial sweeteners, your taste buds may be satisfied, but your brain is not. Artificial sweeteners leave the body craving actual sugar even more intensely than if you’d just had a regular soda. You’ll wind up reaching for snacks more throughout the day to make up for the sugar you didn’t have.
This one is tricky. Most of us feel like juice is a healthy alternative to drinking soda. It is made from fruit after all. How bad can it be?
When you squeeze all the juice out of a piece of fruit, you’re taking the sugar, and leaving the fiber behind. You’ll experience a spike in blood sugar, and you’ll flood your bloodstream with insulin in an attempt to process all that sugar. As your body works to regain equilibrium, your blood sugar will plummet, which will leave you feeling tired and hungry.
3. Fast Food
The drive-thru can be tempting even though you know almost nothing good can come from eating fast food. Fast food is loaded with salt, trans fats, and artificial ingredients.
You may satisfy your immediate need to eat at the drive-thru window, but you’ll end up feeling sluggish later. The high sodium in these foods leaves you bloated, trans fats make it hard for your body to understand when it’s full, and ingredients that you can’t pronounce can have long-term negative consequences on your health.
4. White Bread
Sometimes it just doesn’t feel like I’ve eaten until I’ve had a piece of bread or a dinner roll. I didn’t realize that my predisposition to eat white bread would leave me feeling hungrier later.
Carbohydrates are only half the problem with white bread. Your body treats white bread like a massive influx of sugar. Reach for whole-grain breads, which are loaded with fiber, have a lower glycemic index, and they typically have fewer carbs and calories than white bread.
5. Salty Snacks like Chips and Pretzels
Known for their saltiness and satisfying crunch, it can be hard to say no to a pretzel or twenty. Pretzels and chips may not seem that bad for you, but if you mindlessly munch on them, you’ll be raiding the break room for doughnuts in no time.
Many salty snacks are full of carbohydrates and processed sugar. They can affect your body in much the same way that white bread does. When you eat that bag of pretzels, your blood sugar spikes, which triggers the release of insulin, which causes your blood sugar to drop.
The added salt can leave you feeling thirsty, which you might interpret as hunger. Instead of having a glass of water that you need, you set out looking for something else to eat.
Eat The Right Snacks That Squash Hunger
After I realized I was reaching for the wrong types of foods, I knew I had to change my eating habits. I educated myself about which snacks would leave me feeling fuller for longer so that I wouldn’t feel hungry all the time. This made it possible for me to end my mindless snacking habits and focus on creating a healthier lifestyle.
Some of the best snacks for satisfying hunger are full of lean protein. Lean protein leaves you feeling full without consuming lots of extra calories and processed sugar. 
High-fiber foods take longer for your body to break down, which means that your blood sugar will increase gradually and remain stable for longer. . Water-rich foods can also help you feel full while consuming fewer calories, and they’ll keep you hydrated.
10 Foods To Keep You Feeling Fuller For Longer
Here are my top-ten go-to snacks for staving off hunger without sacrificing your health goals.
Not all popcorn is created equally. If you head to the movie theater and down a bucket of salty buttered popcorn, you are not doing yourself any favors. Homemade popcorn seasoned with herbs or nutritional yeast can give you the satisfying crunch without all the calories.
Popcorn’s high fiber content makes it a filling alternative to empty calories that you might get from a bag of chips.
2. Dark Chocolate
Nothing brought me more joy than realizing I could eat chocolate without sabotaging my health. The key with this snack is to look for quality. Going to the gas station and picking up your favorite candy bar isn’t going to set you up for success. That kind of chocolate is full of sugar, fat, and unpronounceable ingredients that do nothing but add to your waistline.
Dark chocolate that contains a high percentage of cacao will taste more bitter than milk chocolate, but it has many health benefits. The bitterness of dark chocolate slows down your digestion, which translates into feeling fuller for longer. It also curbs the production of a hormone that stimulates hunger.
3. Greek Yogurt
Yogurt has always been considered a healthy snack, but some yogurt is laden with sugar. Low fat and fat free options aren’t so great either. Some of the nutrients in yogurt are fat soluble, meaning that your body needs to consume fat to benefit from the nutrients.
Greek yogurt is a solid snack choice for suppressing your appetite because it has half the sugar and twice as much protein as regular yogurt. It’s also an excellent source of calcium, and the probiotics in Greek yogurt are great for your digestion.
High-protein, high-fiber, and an excellent texture make almonds a go-to snack for a busy day.  Limit your consumption to a single serving to reap the most benefit.
5. Water-rich Fruits and Veggies
This works similarly to drinking a glass of water before you indulge in food. Water-rich foods such as cucumbers, carrots, and watermelon can satisfy your need for a snack with some texture, and they’ll help you hydrate. These foods are rich in fiber and nutrients that you need to feel your best.
This is my go-to hunger busting snack. Avocados are high in monounsaturated fat (good fat) and fiber. Spread some avocado over a piece of whole grain toast or scoop it out of the rind for a quick and satisfying snack.
Hummus is made of chickpeas, which makes it an excellent source of protein and fiber. When you pair hummus with water-rich veggies like carrots, cucumbers, celery, or snap peas, you have a winning combination that will leave you hydrated and satiated.
8. Beans and Legumes
Beans are the unsung heroes of the food world. They are relatively inexpensive, versatile, and satisfying. They are low-calorie, high-fiber, protein-rich powerhouses that we almost certainly could stand to eat more often if we want to lose weight. Chickpeas, peas, peanuts, and lentils all fall into this snack category.
Having some celery with one serving of peanut butter, a handful of roasted chickpeas, or a small bowl of homemade lentil soup can keep you from emptying the cookie jar later.
Despite the bad press that eggs have faced over the years, nothing stomps out hunger like an egg. Eggs contain protein, which leaves you feeling fuller for longer. A recent study demonstrated that people who ate two eggs for breakfast ate less at a lunch buffet than the experimental group that ate a bowl of cereal with the same number of calories.
If you’re feeling the urge to snack, you might be thirsty. Your body will look and feel better when it’s fully hydrated, and you’ll consume fewer calories if you drink a glass of water before reaching for a snack.
Healthy snacks don’t have to be boring
Mindless eating can wreck your diet plans. Listen to your body, and find snacks that suppress your appetite and pack a nutritional punch. These snacks stick to your ribs, which will help you stick to your plan.
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