The Get Fit Equation: One hour of working out + twenty-three hours of clean eating + eight hours of sleep = being healthy. Sounds easy. But once most people have mastered the exercise and sleep part, the clean eating part is still incredibly difficult – and no, making clean plate club doesn’t count as clean eating. Face it, most of us like to eat. A lot. So if, like many of us (including some of your favorite trainers), you’re having a tough time eating the healthiest options, you’ll do yourself a big favor by choosing the “fullest” options — the ones that keep you sated for the longest period of time. At least this way you’ll eat less of the bad stuff.
Here are some of our favorite tips and feel-full-foods:
- Eat fatty foods. Fatty foods are necessary to regular bodily functions, and will help you feel full longer. These foods form a compound in your stomach that sends a signal to your brain saying “I’m full!” You should be opting for unsaturated fats (Mayo Clinic) such as avocados, poultry, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. Omega-3 fats found in fish is also an excellent choice. Just don’t overdo it – you want to keep fats to about 30% of your diet.
- Drink skim milk. According to RealAge.com, a recent study suggested that people who drink 20 ounces of skim milk in the morning eat far less at lunch than those who drink other beverages for breakfast. Researchers believe this has something do with the proteins found in skim milk.
- Eat high fiber foods. Fiber literally fills your stomach, and takes longer to digest (Mayo Clinic). Vegetables and fruits are the best choices here, but high-fiber whole grains are a decent fall-back option.
- CARBS! You read that right. COMPLEX carbs, like the ones found in fruits and veggies, take longer to digest than other foods, helping you stay sated longer between meals. This does not mean we are suggesting you eat more donuts. Stick with the naturally occurring carbohydrates in fruits and vegetables. (Women’s Day)
- Drink lots of water. LOTS of studies bear this one out. Drinking a glass or two of water before a meal leads to eating less. Drinking water throughout the day leads to less sugary-drink guzzling. Water fills you up. And best of all, ZERO calories! PRO TIP: Fruits and vegetables with high-water content are big wins. Grapefruit and carrots are almost 90% water and have been proven to keep you feeling full longer. These are great mid-day snack choices.
- Grab some blueberries. In one study, dieters added a cup of blueberries to their daily routine and lost three percent of their body fat in three months! Blueberries not only make you feel fuller, but also affect your fat-burning genes, causing you to burn off fat while you chow down.
- Chew some almonds. Don’t go crazy on this one – almonds are full of fat (good fat!), but a little goes a long way here. In a recent study, one handful of almonds a day led to to a 14% reduction in waist size after six months! A handful of almonds a day keeps the Spanx away. They should be your go-to snack.
- Puzzles. We are not suggesting you eat the New York Times Crossword Puzzle. Especially if you do it on your iPad. But studies have shown that a powerful way to put off those food cravings is challenging your mind with a puzzle. Hungry gamers were able to waylay hunger signals for an hour by playing a mind-bending game or puzzle. So when all else fails, think your way to a better body.