The enemy of everyone on a diet is hunger! Those hunger pangs ruin more diets than anything else. Get rid of the pangs and you stand more chance of making your diet a success.
Feeling hungry is a natural human response and you cannot just stop it. Ignoring it is almost impossible for most people. The frequency with which you feel hunger will vary according to your age, metabolism and the amount of physical activity that you do. The most satisfactory way of dealing with hunger pangs is to eat something that keeps them away for longer!
A balanced diet doesn’t include lots of fat or sugar. They do not make you feel full for very long and leave you craving more food. Here are some foods that will eliminate the feeling of hunger and so they will naturally reduce your hunger and allow you to stick to that diet.
Fruit and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals and are low in calories so they fit in well with any calorie controlled diet. However, they also contain a lot of fibre which stays in the stomach for a long time and keeps us feeling fuller for longer.
You can crunch on raw fruit and vegetables or you can make fruit smoothies if you would prefer a liquid to drink. All you have to do is mix a few pieces of fruit and blend them with water or fruit juice. Vegetable juice is a healthy alternative but does not have the same amount of fibre as a smoothie.
Gazpacho is another healthy option. It basically a smoothie made from tomato, pepper and cucumber which needs to be consumed without straining it so you get all the natural fibre.
Most of the food that we eat today is highly refined and digested very rapidly. We get hungry again so quickly afterward. White bread and biscuits are typical examples. You will feel satisfied for much longer if you substitute highly refined foods with the whole grain version. Choose whole grain breads and rolls. Also select the whole grain version of pasta and rice to accompany your meals. Many wholegrain foods have a delicious nutty taste that adds flavour to any meal.
Agar agar is a species of seaweed that helps set foods – it acts in a similar way to gelatin. It acts as a thickener in the stomach and stops you from feeling hungry. It reacts on contact with the gastric juices in the stomach and physically increases in size. Your stomach thinks that it is full of food and stops sending signals to your brain that you are hungry. Agar agar is also very cleansing as it removes toxins and improves intestinal function. As a result is stops you from becoming constipated. You can eat agar agar in soups and stews but it can also be added to desserts to give them a jelly-like texture.
Legumes (pulses) have been a staple human food since ancient times but are not so popular today. They are rich in protein and are excellent when mixed with vegetables and spices. They are rich in fibre and excellent for keeping bowel motions regular. When you eat a meal containing legumes you feel full for a long time afterwards and do not crave more food.
Help from history
Here is an ancient recipe that will help you cut down your portion sizes. All you have to do is mix equal parts linseed, wheat germ and psyllium (a medicinal plant used as a natural laxative) carefully in a bowl. Then take one or two spoonfuls of the preparation and mix into a glass of water. Drink this around 10 minutes before every meal and you will be putting far less on your plate.
Most of us are very poorly hydrated and confuse thirst for hunger. When you next feel hungry start by drinking a glass of water. It is best if the water is not too cold as it cools the digestive system and can interfere with digestion. If you’re still hungry after five minutes, then eat something.
“Emotional hunger” is a need to put something into your mouth. It does not have to be food! Drink some water instead!