4 Ways to Feel Fuller After a Meal

Are you routinely making a trip back to the kitchen for seconds because you’re hungry after a meal? That won’t do much for your waistline. Here are four ways to feel fuller and more satisfied after a meal without overeating.  

 

You’ve just finished dinner, and you’re starving. You’re tempted to mosey back into the kitchen for seconds, but you realize you’ve already eaten too much. Why do you still feel hungry after eating, and what can you do about it? If you’ve eaten a full meal, and you’re still ravenous, chances are you’re putting the wrong things on your plate. Here are some simple ways to feel full after a meal.

 

Choose Foods with a Low-Energy Density

 

Energy density is the number of calories per gram of food. When you choose foods with low- energy density, you’ll get more tummy-satisfying food but fewer calories. If you’re spooning foods with a high-energy density on your plate like creamy mashed potatoes with sour cream, ice cream or pastries, you’re taking in a lot of calories with each bite. Better choices are foods with a lower energy density such as fruits and vegetables. These foods are high in fiber and water, which expands in your intestinal tract and make you feel full faster. In addition, these foods are nutritionally dense.

Start your meal with a serving of broth-based soup. It’s the ultimate low-energy density food with its high water content. Studies show that sipping soup before a meal, even a cream-based one, reduces the number of calories you’ll eat when the main course arrives.

 

Eat a Lean Protein Source with Every Meal

Adding protein to every meal can make you feel full faster. Research shows that a diet higher in protein increases satiety more than a lower protein one. Protein also has a greater thermic effect, which means your body burns more calories to absorb and process it. To feel fuller faster, enjoy a lean source of protein like turkey, skinless chicken breast or fish with each meal or try a fiber-rich source of protein like beans or lentils.

 

Slow Down the Pace of Your Meals

Do you rush through your meals? According to a study published in the Journal of the American Dietician’s Association, eating a meal slowly maximizes satiety and reduces overall calorie consumption. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the signal that you’ve had enough to eat. Take the time to chew your food slowly, and savor its taste and texture rather than wolfing it down. Here’s a quick trick to slow down your eating speed. Put your fork down, and grab a pair of chopsticks instead. It’s hard to eat too fast when you’re using chopsticks!

 

Change Your Plates

 

Surprisingly, the size and color of the plate you eat on can affect how much you eat. Research suggests that people eat less overall when they eat off of a smaller plate. Choose plates with dull colors in shades of blue or green. These colors suppress appetite, while brightly colored plates in red, orange and yellow hues are appetite stimulating. That’s why fast food signs are usually in red or yellow. Think McDonald’s.

Watch the size of your bowls too. In a study published in JAMA, Super Bowl attendees ate 56% more popcorn when they ate out of large bowls compared to smaller ones. When you splurge on ice cream, spoon it into a small bowl, but put your healthier foods like veggies into large ones.

 

The Bottom Line?

Use these simple tricks to get full faster. They’ll keep you from heading back into the kitchen for seconds and thirds.

 

References:
Mayo Clinic. “Energy density and weight loss: Feel full on fewer calories”
J Am Coll Nutr October 2004 vol. 23 no. 5 373-385.
J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Jul;108(7):1186-91.
JAMA. 2005;293(14):1727-1728. doi: 10.1001/jama.293.14.1727

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