Physical or emotional hunger is what drives people to eat, and they are the main reasons people have trouble losing weight. This is why dieting usually backfires, because the less you eat, the hungrier you become. In a review about hunger and satiety, the website NutritionData explains that one of the biggest factors that contributes to satiety and causes people to stop eating is the type of food eaten. Some foods or combinations of foods cause a greater feeling of fullness and/or take longer to digest, which can leave you feeling more satisfied after eating. This feeling of fullness helps to control hunger cravings until your next meal, which may have you eating less and may even help you to lose weight.
Whole Grains and Protein
Pairing whole grains with a good source of protein can help you to feel satisfied after eating and keep you satisfied until your next meal. The fiber from the whole grains contributes to a feeling of fullness. Researchers at the University of Toronto found that when protein was combined with carbohydrates, there was a lower blood sugar response than when carbohydrate was given by itself. The protein helps to slow the digestion of the carbohydrates, which keeps the blood sugar stable and controls the release of insulin. When too much insulin is released to due to high blood sugar, the result is a blood sugar crash. Good sources of protein include chicken, fish, peanut butter, almond butter, raw nuts, low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat cheese, low-fat yogurt and tofu. Combine any of these protein sources with whole grain bread, tortillas, crackers, rice, or hot and cold cereals.
Fruit and Protein
The combination of fruit with protein can also result in feeling of fullness and satisfaction. Fruit is full of water and fiber, which contributes to the feelings of fullness. Protein slows the digestion process down and keeps you feeling satisfied for longer. Examples of this combination are: a smoothie made with fruit and yogurt or tofu; cottage cheese or low-fat cheese with fruit; and nuts with fresh or dried fruit.
Vegetables and Protein
Similar to fruit, vegetables are also full of water and fiber, which contributes to fullness and satisfaction. Examples of this combination are: vegetables with hummus dip; raw vegetables with peanut butter; a salad with hard boiled eggs or chicken; vegetables with cottage cheese or low-fat cheese; and scrambled eggs with mixed vegetables.
Three Food Groups
The combination of three food groups at a meal--a whole grain, protein, and fruit or vegetable--will provide you with the most satisfaction after eating and keep you feeling satisfied until your next snack or meal. For example: oatmeal mixed with almonds and blueberries; a chicken sandwich on a whole grain bun with lettuce, tomatoes and avocado; bulgur salad and grilled vegetables; brown rice, tofu, and grilled vegetables.