Foods to Eat If You’re Always Hungry
You’ve probably heard of the 3 p.m. slump: that time of day when you’re tired and feeling hungry, but your lunch was only a few hours ago.
Now, imagine that 24/7 — that’s what it’s like to be always hungry. You might even feel that way after eating a pretty hearty meal. What gives?
To fuel an active lifestyle, you may need more calories than others do, or you might have an undiagnosed medical condition that could be causing your hunger levels to rise. But if neither applies, then your hunger may be due to poor food choices and low satiety levels (the feeling of fullness) from those foods. By choosing foods with high protein or fibre content, both of which increase satiety significantly more than carbohydrate-rich foods do, you can keep yourself fuller for longer periods of time (and avoid overeating later on). And while they’re filling, these foods won’t make you feel heavy or bloated — because nobody wants to feel like they need a nap two hours after lunchtime!
Read also: 8 Ways to Move More During the Workday
Eat Lean Proteins
The next time you feel like snacking, reach for a healthy high-protein food. Protein is the most filling macronutrient, so it helps promote fullness, slow digestion and keep your appetite in check (1).
To increase your intake of lean protein, include these foods in every meal and snack:
- Lean beef (e.g., tenderloin)
- Chicken breast
- Other white meat poultry (e.g., turkey)
- Fish and seafood
- Dairy products, such as milk or whey protein shakes
Eat High-Fiber Foods
“Fiber is a filling nutrient that helps prevent hunger, which is why high-fiber foods are often recommended for people who want to lose weight. You should try to choose whole foods that contain fiber, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains. This will not only help you feel full but also provide other health benefits. When possible, choose fresh or frozen produce over canned in order to avoid added sugar and sodium. For example:
- Fruits – Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, apples and pears
- Vegetables – Broccoli, carrots and tomatoes
- Whole grains – Popcorn (especially air-popped), oatmeal and brown rice
- Legumes – Peas, lentils and beans (black beans are especially high)”
Eat Complex Carbs
These carbohydrates are broken down slowly by the body and absorbed gradually, creating sustained increases in blood sugar levels over time.
Complex carbs also take longer to digest, so they provide you with long-lasting energy. This is important if you’re feeling hungry mid-day because you won’t be experiencing a quick spike in blood sugar. Instead, you will receive slow and steady energy throughout the day.
What are some examples of complex carbs? Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa and oatmeal; starchy vegetables including sweet potatoes and squashes; beans like black beans or chickpeas; lentils; corn; high-fiber cereals like bran flakes or whole grain Cheerios; bulgur wheat; barley
You’ve probably noticed that the snacks in this article are both high in protein and high in fiber. Protein and fiber, more than any other nutrient, are satiating — meaning they make you feel full for a long time after eating them. So if you’re always hungry and you want to be able to stop eating whenever you want, make sure your diet includes plenty of foods that contain lots of protein and/or fiber.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are the best foods to eat if I’m always hungry?
Protein, fiber and water are all key components of satiety—feeling full and satisfied after a meal. So it’s important to incorporate foods that contain adequate amounts of these three nutrients. Protein can be found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy products (such as yogurt and cheese), nuts, beans and legumes. Fiber is found predominantly in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes/beans. Water is found in most food types. A good rule of thumb is to drink at least half your body weight in ounces per day (for example: 100 lb = 50 oz). You can also increase your water intake by choosing healthier beverages like tea or sparkling water instead of sugary alternatives such as soda or juice drinks.