- An Apple a Day – The soluble fiber in Apples (called pectin) prevents spikes in blood sugar that lead to increased fat storage. Apples can also curb hunger for up to two hours. Adding an apple as a snack between lunch and dinner may help prevent dinner-time overeating.
- Eat Lean Protein at Each Meal – In a 2007 study at Pennington Biomedical Research Center they compared weight loss in dieters who ate either two eggs or a bagel for breakfast (the two meals were identical in calories and volume). The researchers reported that compared to the bagel eaters, the overweight participants who ate two eggs for breakfast five times a week for eight weeks, as part of a low-fat, reduced-calorie diet, lost 65% more weight, reduced waist circumference by 83%, reported higher energy levels, and had no significant difference in their blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels.
- Grapeseed Oil – Grapeseed oil is high in linoleic acid, which has been shown to help control hunger and reduce body fat by reducing insulin resistance. Grapeseed Oil also slows down the passage of food through the stomach keeping us feeling full longer. Try sautéing non-starchy vegetables in a tablespoon of Grapeseed Oil as part of a healthy dinner.
- Green Tea -Green tea increases the hormone responsible for making us feel full. Drinking Green Tea daily can help prevent excess fat storage, improve appetite-regulating hormones, reduce cravings and may also speed up metabolism.
- Pepitas -Pepitas (Pumpkin/Squash seeds) are high in omega-3 fatty acids that have been shown to decrease the body’s ability to store fat. Pepitas are also high in protein and magnesium which help curb cravings as well as strengthen muscles. Pepitas are great as a salad topping or afternoon snack.
- Pine Nuts - Pine nuts contain pinolenic acid, a naturally occurring fat that stimulates hormones that tell the brain we are full. Pine nuts also contain the highest protein content of any nut and are great on salads or sprinkled in with sautéed vegetables.
- Reduce Cravings with Fennel – Fennel can help to decrease hunger pangs. Fennel has a cleansing, refreshing flavor helping to reduce cravings. It also boosts digestion, increases nutrient absorption and reduces fat storage in the body. Try drinking fennel tea throughout the day or before you go to bed to diminish morning hunger pangs upon waking.
- Spicy Cravings Reducer – Capsaicin, the compound that gives spicy peppers their punch, curbs our appetites and boosts the metabolism by slightly raising our body temperature. Try adding peppers, or pepper seasonings to soups, eggs, sautéed veggies and more.
- Splash of Vinegar – Vinegar slows down the passage of food through the stomach, keeping us feeling full for longer. Making fresh salad dressing with Grapeseed Oil and Balsamic Vinegar can help keep your hunger levels manageable (check out this month’s Mixed Greens with Balsamic Vinegar recipe below).
- When Stress Threatens to Derail Your Plan -When we are under stress, our adrenal glands release the stress hormone Cortisol. Cortisol is meant to give our bodies a burst of energy as a fight or flight mode response. When we are under a sustained level of stress, Cortisol levels remain high and often cause cravings for high-sugar/high-carb foods. It also can cause our bodies to accumulate belly fat. Serotonin, on the other hand, has the opposite effect of Cortisol, calming us down and is a natural appetite suppressant. We can’t always control the amount of stress in our lives, but eating foods rich in folate such as Kale, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Broccoli, Asparagus, Lentils, Legumes, etc., can stimulate the production of Serotonin, limiting the chances of having or giving in to high-sugar/high-carb cravings.
If you have made a New Year’s Resolution to drop weight you may have gained over the holidays or weight that slowly crept up on you over the years, you may have decided to follow a meal plan with fewer calories, smaller portions, eliminate carbs, etc. Two of the biggest reasons people tend to abandon their newly adopted weight loss plans are due to hunger from eating smaller portions than they are used to and food cravings. To support those of you making dietary changes, I have included ten tips which are easy to add into most meal plans and will hopefully help you stay committed and meet your weight loss goal this year.
Stephanie Correa is a Board Certified Holistic Health Coach accredited by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP).