Hunger is your body's way of alerting you that it's running low in fuel. If your appetite is excessive, however, it can make reaching and maintaining a healthy body weight difficult. Foods that help control appetite can keep your hunger pangs at bay between meals, and guard against emotional stress and frustration. Because many filling foods are nutritious, doing so can also enhance your overall wellness. For individual guidance, seek counsel from a registered dietitian.
Starting a meal with low-calorie appetizers can increase the volume of your meal, while reducing your overall caloric intake, according to a "Today's Dietitian" article by registered dietitian Sharon Palmer, published in April 2009. And, the longer you wait to eat the more hungry you're likely to become. Eating a light appetizer before your main dish guards against this. Examples of low-calorie meal starters include broth-based soups, gazpacho and leafy green salads with light dressing.
Whole grains are grains that have not been stripped of nutrient content during food processing. As a result, they provide more fiber and protein -- which promote fullness -- than refined grains. Eating whole grains as part of a balanced breakfast may be particularly important for curbing hunger, according to research published in the "Journal of Nutrition" in January 2011. In the study, the breakfast eating frequency and quality of children and adults were analyzed. Researchers found that participants who consumed nutritious breakfasts routinely were least likely to struggle with an excessive appetite and poor weight control compared to participants who skipped breakfast or chose less healthy fare. Particularly nutritious whole-grain foods include 100 percent whole-grain cold cereals, steel-cut oatmeal, pearled barley, quinoa and wild rice.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables provide rich amounts of water and fiber -- both of which allow you to fill up on greater food portions, while taking in fewer calories, according to MayoClinic.com. Carrots, for example, consist of 88 percent water and provide a mere 25 calories per half-cup. Particularly fiber-rich fruits and vegetables include dark leafy greens, artichokes, broccoli, raspberries and pears. Varieties exceptionally high in water include melons, tomatoes, kiwi, grapefruits, celery, cucumber, lettuce and oranges.
Lean Protein-Rich Foods
Protein also has a mild impact on blood sugar levels and a positive impact on appetite control. It's important to keep your caloric intake in check, however, according to Palmer. Opting for low-fat protein sources is one way to stave off excessive calories prevalent in fatty foods, such as steak, whole milk and fried chicken. Lighter filling options include low-fat milk and yogurt, skinless white-meat poultry, fish, egg whites and tofu. Beans and lentils provide significant amounts of protein and fiber, making them particularly useful for minimizing hunger.
- Today's Dietitian; Taking Control of Hunger -- Lessons on Calming Appetite and Managing Weight
- Journal of Nutrition; Breakfast Frequency and Quality May Affect Glycemia and Appetite in Adults and Children
- MayoClinic.com: Energy Density and Weight Loss: Feel Full on Fewer Calories
- MayoClinic.com: High-Fiber Foods
- Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
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