Even with the best of intentions, it’s hard to resist the allure of tasty, salty snacks that offer little nutritional value. Whether it’s stress, boredom, or just plain hunger that’s driving the urge to snack, finding ways to suppress those cravings can be challenging.
However, there are ways to tame the hunger monster without sacrificing health or adding inches to your waistline.
To help you achieve your goals, we’ve compiled a list of 18 healthy, science-backed appetite suppressant ideas and low-calorie snacks that will keep you feeling full and satisfied.
So the next time the cravings strike, you’ll be armed with the tools you need to keep them at bay.
1. Drink more water.
Adequate hydration is necessary to any weight loss program. It helps flush toxins that have been stored in fat. Thirst may actually be perceived as hunger, so when you feel hungry between meals, drink some water.
2. Drink coffee.
Don’t feel so bad about your morning (mid-morning, and afternoon) coffee. The caffeine significantly revs up your metabolism and can even boost fat oxidation (when your body uses fat as fuel) when you have a cup after a meal. Some studies have also suggested that decaf coffee can seriously curb hunger. Keep this in mind if you’re looking for an afternoon pick-me-up that won’t leave you jittery. Try, if you can, to avoid added sugar and milk.
3. Drink green tea.
Want to fight midday munchies? Make a mug of green tea or stir a couple spoonfuls of matcha (ground up green tea leaves) into hot water; the caffeine can help curb your appetite. Plus, you’ll enjoy a mild metabolism boost since green tea has fat-burning properties. According to a study conducted by the University of Alberta, people who drank four to five cups of green tea every day, and broke a sweat at least 180 minutes per week, lost more stomach fat and total-body weight after 3 months than those who exercised alone.
4. Eat more protein.
Protein helps keep you feel fuller longer than carbohydrates do. Also, having adequate protein is a signal to your body to burn fat as its primary energy source.
Data suggests exercise is a natural appetite suppressant. Plus, who wants to ruin all that hard work in the gym with fattening foods that lack nutritional benefits? Get results quick using our fitness index and fat-burning, calorie-torching workouts!
6. Don’t skip meals.
Skipping meals slows your metabolism and leaves you feeling unsatisfied and more likely to overindulge later.
7. Eat slower.
Slow down your eating. It takes your stomach approximately 20 minutes to register to your brain that it’s full, so slow down your eating pace. Also, while you’re eating and enjoying your food, think about how full you’re beginning to feel and focus on that satisfied feeling rather than mindlessly noshing away!
8. Eat more fiber.
Foods that contain natural fiber also have a filling quality that helps you feel full and satisfied with less food. Examples include whole-grain bread products and cereals, oatmeal, fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, peas and lentils.
9. Eat more healthy unsaturated fats.
Healthy unsaturated fats are good for the body as they contribute to lowering your cholesterol and your risk of heart disease. They also are slow for the body to digest, keeping you fuller longer.
10. Eat water-rich foods.
Another way to feel full, stay hydrated, and get plenty of water in your diet is through water-rich foods. These include celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, melons (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon), peaches and oranges.
11. Eat almonds.
Eating 1.5 ounces of almonds daily curbs hunger without increasing calorie intake or body weight. When eaten as a snack, almonds were proven to significantly reduce desire to eat without increasing calorie intake or body weight due to spontaneous energy compensation.
12. Eat dark chocolates.
The bitterness of dark chocolate is thought to help decrease appetite and diminish cravings for sweets. Researchers also believe the stearic acid in dark chocolate can help slow digestion, further increasing feelings of fullness.
13. Spice up your meals.
Capsaicin, found in hot peppers, and capsiate, found in sweet peppers help decrease hunger and increase feelings of fullness. What’s more, the ability of these compounds to generate heat may also increase the number of calories burned after a meal.
14. Reduce stress.
Excess stress is known to raise levels of the hormone cortisol. Although the effects can vary between individuals, high cortisol is generally thought to increase food cravings and the drive to eat. Finding ways to reduce your stress levels may not only help curb hunger, but also reduce your risk of obesity and depression.
Meditation can control both weight loss and appetite – meditation can train the mind to be self-aware and not automatically react to habitual patterns like emotional eating. Instead, training the brain to stay in tune to the body’s real hunger sensations allows for weight management.
16. Have sex.
Not that you need an excuse to have sex, having an orgasm can give your brain a pleasure reboot – and getting pleasure through something other than food, can help suppress your appetite short-term.
17. Get enough sleep.
Getting enough quality sleep can also help reduce hunger and protect against weight gain. Studies show that too little sleep can increase hunger and appetite, and decrease levels of some fullness hormones.
18. Start your day right.
You’ve been hearing it since you were in grade school, but breaking the fast, the origin of the word breakfast, is a rule to live by. In addition to jump-starting your metabolism, a morning meal has a ripple effect on your intake. Breakfast skippers eat 40 percent more sweets, 55 percent more soda, 45 percent fewer vegetables and 30 percent less fruit than those who eat breakfast. In addition, breakfast skippers are 4.5 times more likely to be overweight.