We often hear the importance of eating a balanced diet and everything in moderation. This gets difficult when you’re constantly feeling hungry. There can be many reasons why you still feel hungry after you’ve finished eating. Here are some of the top reasons why and some suggestions to help get those feelings of hungry in check.

Did you eat breakfast?
Is breakfast is the most important meal of the day? YES! Your body has been fasting, resting and healing while you slept. Overnight, it’s been working hard to get your engine ready for another day. Starting your day off right with a good breakfast helps break the fasting “regeneration” cycle and gives your body the nutrients it needs. Some people say they can’t eat first thing in the morning. No problem, just be sure to have some healthy food ready when you do get hungry.

What did your last meal look like?
The more sugar and junk food you take in, the more likely you’ll be looking for more food. How is this? Sugar is the most primitive nutrient around. It’s the most basic source of calories. A sugar load immediately activates your body to release the hormone Insulin. Insulin stimulates all cells to aggressively grab the excess sugar you just ingested and store it. But It also stimulates the body to ravishingly search out for more sugar. (Kind of like the bear in the fall ravishingly eating berries). The stomach and the body’s cells absorb sugar really quickly leaving us feeling hollow and wanting more food. How does this happen? After insulin completes its task to store your sugar load, you are left with excess insulin floating around, but with no excess sugar, this causes you to feel hollow and drives you to search for more sugar. You know that feeling. This is even worse with sugary drinks, e.g. drinking pop. The liquids you intake can affect your hunger both (positively and negatively) as much as the food you eat.

When was the last time you had a glass of water?
When you become dehydrated, your body sends signals to your brain looking for water. These signal can often get confused as hunger pains. So, if it’s not close to your meal time, have a glass a water and wait 10 minutes. If you still feel hungry, then it’s time to eat… Consider vegetables if it’s only a snack you need.

How fast do you eat?
If you’re typically the first one done eating at a family meal, chances are you’re a fast eater. It takes the body a while to realize it’s full (approximately 20 minutes). So if you’re looking for food within 20 minutes of finishing a meal, chances are your body hasn’t caught up with those feelings of hunger. If this is you. Slow down and enjoy your food by:

  • Talking a bit more during the meal

  • Putting your fork down in between bites

  • Having sips of your water

Are you getting enough fibre?
What is fibre? Dietary fibre is a term that is used for plant-based carbohydrates that, unlike other carbohydrates (such as sugars and starch), are not digested in the small intestine. As dietary fibre is not digested in the small intestine it reaches the large intestine or colon (5). This leaves you feeling full longer after a meal. Some foods you can try that are rich in fibre include:

  • Wholegrain breakfast cereals, whole wheat pasta, whole grain bread and oats, barley and rye

  • Fruit such as berries, pears, melon and oranges

  • Vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and sweetcorn

  • Peas, beans and pulses

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Potatoes with skin

If you are having trouble remembering all these tips feel free to print out the infographic below to stick on your fridge. :)

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