[as seen in the Oxford Review April 26th, 2012]
If you don’t think that plant-based nutrition can fill you up then think again! Over the years one of the the biggest objection I get from clients is they don’t think they will feel full when eating their veggies. If you’re like a lot of people, conquering your appetite is one of the biggest challenges you face in your weight loss and fitness journey. It comes as no surprise that when dieting a lot of people start craving all the junk you know you’re not supposed to eat. The secret is eating the RIGHT foods to help calm the cravings. I have put together a list of easy-to-find tasty foods to help get your appetite healthy and you get back on track to health.
Capsaicin, the ingredient that gives peppers their heat, can also help control your raging appetite. A recent study published in Clinical Nutrition suggests that capsaicin-rich foods may help you eat fewer calories and support weight loss by suppressing your appetite and making you feel fuller. I add some spicey-hot to a lot of the food I eat. Other spicy ingredients may have similar effects, so try adding hot mustard and curry spices to your salads and meats. RULES: Use a small amount to start and add more as you get used to the heat.
These edible pine-tree seeds contain more protein than almost any other nut or seed, and their oil stimulates two appetite-suppressing hormones (cholecystokinin [CCK] and glucagon-like peptide-1 [GLP-1]) that tell your brain you’re not hungry. Blend pine nuts with basil, garlic, and a little olive oil to make pesto, or sprinkle them on your salad or oatmeal for a delicious, nutty crunch. RULES: Use a serving at a time.
This hot cereal is high in fiber and lower on the glycemic index, which means it fills you up and takes a long time to digest. I only recommend buying the steel-cut variety since it takes longer to digest and keeps you fuller longer. The research has shown that diets high in slow-burning carbohydrates like oatmeal suppress the hunger hormone grehlin effectively. In fact, when you eat oatmeal for breakfast, you may find that your appetite is lower at lunchtime. RULES: Use steel-cut as often as possible.
The fiber in typical salad vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, spinach, celery, cucumbers, broccoli, and peppers is very filling and helps slow the release of glucose into your bloodstream. Studies have shown that when people start a meal with a small salad, they eat significantly fewer calories in the meal itself. Just watch out for the high-fat dressings (or worse, fat-free dressings that are high in sugar). Try having the dressing on the side and dipping your fork into it for easy portion control, or simply add a dash of balsamic vinegar or a squeeze of lemon juice for a tasty, super-low-calorie option. RULES: Remember to look out for hidden sugar in the dressing (it will blow your mind!).
Not only are whole food apples nutritious, but what sets them apart from other fruits is pectin, a soluble fiber that helps regulate blood sugar, keeps you full, and sustains your energy. One medium apple with skin contains 4 grams of fiber, which is more than you’d get in an average slice of whole wheat bread. Add an apple and some cinnamon to your morning oatmeal for an appetite-suppressing breakfast. RULES: Apple sauce doesn’t count.
B o n u s – F o o d s:
The fiber in beans increases CCK, a digestive hormone that’s a natural appetite suppressant. A research study at the University of California at Davis found that men who ate a high-fiber meal containing beans had CCK levels that were two times higher than when they ate a low-fiber meal. Beans also keep your blood sugar steady, which helps stave off hunger. RULES: Skip beans in tomato sauce since they have too much sugar.
Flax is one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. The seeds are also very high in protein and fiber, making them excellent for appetite control. Sprinkle ground flax seeds over oatmeal, salads, or yogurt, or add them to smoothies to help stabilize your blood sugar and turn off the hunger hormones. RULES: Grind them before use!
New studies suggest that whey protein stimulates the hormones that increase the feeling of being full. In one study, researchers at the University of Surrey in England found that people who consumed whey protein felt fuller and more satisfied with less food. Whey also stabilizes blood sugar, and that can help control food urges. Make a drink with whey protein powder to calm your appetite any time of the day. I use the Warrior Whey brand and buy it at InsideU Health where I live in Woodstock, ON (their webstore is coming soon – I will keep you posted!). RULES: Vital for after a workout!
Until next time – Eat Healthy. Exercise Hard. Smile!