Have you ever arrived at 2:15 p.m., having had lunch less than two hours before, and found yourself so hungry that your office stapler actually takes the shape of a hot dog?
Despite what you may think, just because your stomach is literally a bottomless pit. You are probably just not eating foods that fill you up enough to hold you back until your next meal.
With this, protein usually gets all the attention – as it should. The muscle building nutrient will definitely leave you full. “A food that satisfies a person is usually one that takes longer to digest,” says Keri Gans, MS, RDN, CDN author of The little regime of change. This means that your body doesn’t convert it into glucose (a type of sugar) to burn it quickly for fuel.
Foods high in protein are generally digested more slowly than carbohydrates, which helps prolong feelings of fullness, Gans explains. Contrary to popular belief, however, loading protein alone will not always be enough.
“People tend to be so focused on protein when it comes to feeling full, but fullness also comes from fiber and fat,” says Alissa Rumsey MS, RD, founder of Alissa Rumsey Nutrition and Wellness . “If you only have a protein-rich meal and you lack fat and fiber, you won’t feel as full or as long.”
So what do these foods look like? Here are six filling options that aren’t necessarily all about protein. Hit them if you want to avoid that mid-afternoon snack attack for good.
“Pistachios offer healthier fiber and unsaturated fat, in addition to vegetable protein,” says Rumsey, a trifecta who works to keep your stomach happy. Use them to garnish your soup or oatmeal, mixed with a smoothie, or on their own as a midday snack. (We love these 100 calorie packs of Wonderful Pistachios.)
About 1/4 cup of pistachios will give you about 3 grams of fiber and 14 grams of healthy fat, in addition to 6 grams of protein.
Related: 6 reasons to eat a handful of nuts every day
Oatmeal is a good source of soluble fiber, says Rumsey. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, forming a gel-like material in your gastrointestinal tract, helping to slow your digestion, according to the United States National Library of Medicine. (Bonus: some types of soluble fiber may even help lower your risk of heart disease.)
“Increase the fat content by making your oatmeal with 2 percent or whole milk or adding nuts to it,” she says. Or, go beyond breakfast by puffing up your smoothies, soups, or salads with raw oats. Try these old-fashioned oatmeal from Bob’s Red Mill for 5g of fiber, 7g of protein and 3.5g of fat per 1/2 cup.
Oatmeal Honey Walnut Smoothie:
Artichokes are a good source of insoluble fiber, which passes quickly through your digestive tract, helping to relieve constipation. “Toss them with lots of other vegetables, a little olive oil and whole wheat pasta for a hearty meal,” Gans explains.
Artichokes offer about 8g of fiber per cup, in addition to 5g of protein. Plus, you’ll get an extra dose of fiber from whole wheat pasta and healthy fats from olive oil.
Related: 10 reasons why you just can’t poop
LEGUMES & LEGUMES
Gans and Rumsey both recommend stocking up on pulses and pulses, as they are all great sources of fiber.
Legumes (like beans, peas, and lentils) in particular are a great source of prebiotic fiber, which “help feed our gut bacteria and improve gut health,” says Rumsey. (Try these Eden Foods chickpeas for 5g of fiber and 7g of protein per 1/2 cup.
Related: How to hack your gut bacteria to lose weight and fight disease
Don’t have time to prepare an egg? Your favorite toast topper is definitely worth the hype, as long as you eat it with the right bread, says Gans. The monounsaturated fat in avocado is great for your heart. Combined with the fiber found in 100 percent whole wheat bread, you’ll have a filling, no-fuss breakfast, she says.
Related: How to choose truly healthy bread
Almonds are actually fatter than protein, Gans says, and they also offer a healthy dose of fiber at around 5g per 1/4 cup. Research suggests that almonds also increase your good cholesterol, which protects your heart health.
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