When you’re trying to lose weight, a growling tummy is like a best man’s speech: the longer it lasts, the more dangerous it gets.
But hormones, not your gut, are to blame for binges, and preventing them from going haywire is the key to reining in kilojoules without feeling ravenous. So dig in – here are 33 simple hunger-busting meal ideas to you fill up minus the fat.
1. Choose surf over turf
Fish is more satisfying, per kilojoule, than beef or chicken, according to Dr Susie Bergen’s Satiety Index, a rank of different foods’ ability to satisfy hunger.
2. Turn up the heat
The cooler a room, the more people tend to eat – which is why restaurants often keep thermostats low.
3. Can the juice
Whole fruit contains fibre that makes you feel fuller than juice.
4. Bulk up
Fibre expands in your GI tract to make you feel full, so make sure you get your RDA of 30g.
5. Love your bread
Dodge the wonder white and go for wholemeal – it’s 5½ times more filling.
6. Pass on diet labels
A study found that after eating full-fat muffins, subjects ate less in the next 24 hours than after a fat-free version.
7. Hold your nose
Just smelling a fresh-baked cupcake can induce insulin secretion that makes you think you’re hungry. Bet you’re not.
8. Munch raw carrots
Irish researchers found carrots are more filling when they’re raw. Get crunching!
9. Down vitamins
Research suggests your body may compensate for a lack of nutrients by increasing your appetite so you’ll eat more.
10. Be pro protein
A study found people ate 1846 less kilojoules a day on a 30 per cent protein diet versus a 15 per cent protein diet.
11. Shape up
Wedge-shaped foods like pizza and cake make it difficult to estimate proper portions.
12. Have some avocado
Your body burns carbs in about an hour, so eat healthy fat to buy time before hunger pangs hit.
13. Graze like a cow
Five evenly spaced, mini-meals (of around 1465kJ) a day will regulate your appetite and ward off sugar cravings.
14. Get nutty
Nosh on pine nuts – they have the most protein of any nut or seed, and their pinolenic acid stimulates powerful hunger-suppressing hormones.
15. Listen to Jack Johnson
Eating while listening to mellow music slows you down. Your stomach takes 20 minutes to tell your brain it’s full – that’s almost half of Sleep Through the Static.
16. Go ambidextrous
Switch your fork to your non-dominant hand to eat slowly and give yourself time to recognise you’re full.
17. Don’t eat by candlelight
Dim light can spark overeating, says a US study by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
18. Bag dried fruit
Go for 2 cups of grapes over ¼ cup raisins – both are 420kJ, but the grapes’ water content makes them feel more filling.
19. Slurp a smoothie
Make it with low-fat yoghurt and fruit for a satiety trifecta: protein (to decrease hunger), fibre (to fill you up without many kilojoules), and calcium (to help burn fat).
20. Whey your options
Boost that smoothie with 1 to 2 tablespoons of whey powder. New studies suggest that in addition to a protein punch, whey may affect the hormones that make you feel full.
21. Go fruity
Mixed fruit can curb a sweet tooth, and it has plenty of fibre, which helps regulate your blood sugar.
22. Have a seaweed spritzer
When you mix agar-agar, a fibre-rich thickening agent derived from seaweed, with fruit juice, it soaks up the liquid, making you feel full.
23. Go for cocoa
Participants in a study were significantly more satisfied 30 minutes after they drank low-fat chocolate milk than after a soft drink.
24. Be antisocial
People who eat with one other person consume about 35 per cent more than when they dine alone; at a table of four, that rises to 75 per cent more; and in a party of eight you’ll almost double your intake.
25. Go blue
Studies show blue to be an appetite suppressant. Use blue plates, napkins and placemats.
26. Boost your bean count
High-fibre beans cause glucose to release slowly into the bloodstream, preventing sudden slumps that cause hunger spikes.
27. Dig pop culture
It’s mostly air, so popcorn’s twice as filling as chockie, with fewer kilojoules. Try Riviana Air Popped Popping Corn (380kJ per 25g).
28. Skip soft drinks
High-fructose corn syrup, the main sweetener in soft drink, doesn’t spur insulin production to make the body process kilojoules, or trigger leptin, which tames appetite.
29. Start a pack-a-day habit
Chewing gum suppresses your sweet tooth. (But if you prefer chips, banish the gum – it may make salty cravings worse.)
30. Trade your corkscrew for a screw cap
Participants in a study ate more while drinking wine than while drinking beer.
31. Watch horror films
Nausea is responsible for a lack of appetite.
32. Find berry treasure
Raspberries are one of the most fibre-rich fruits, packing 8g into a cupful – that’s more than a quarter of your RDA.
33. Make miso
When your metabolism drags and energy dips, you crave things that give you a quick lift. New research reveals that protein-rich miso soup boosts metabolism.