Always Hungry? Here's Why
Posted on March 05 2020
There’s nothing more frustrating than eating a seemingly healthy meal, only to end up back in the kitchen an hour later, looking for more food. The good news is, eating a truly healthy diet will keep you feeling full and satisfied, rather than deprived and hangry. So, if you’re trying to lead a healthier life but are sick of uncomfortable hunger pangs, here’s what you might be doing wrong.
1. Your meals... contain the wrong type of carbs
Broadly speaking, carbohydrates can be broken into two main categories: low GI or high GI. In case you’re not up to speed, the GI (read: glycaemic index) of a food is a measurement of how quickly it’s carbohydrates are broken down.
Foods with a high GI are broken down quickly, which results in a rapid spike and crash in blood sugars – hello cravings! You’ll typically find these types of carbs in refined foods like white bread, short grain white rice, pastries, lollies and soft drinks.
Foods with a low GI, on the other hand, are broken down slowly, so your blood sugars experience a gentle rise and fall. For long-lasting fullness, these are the types of carbs you want in your meal. Think wholegrain bread, long-grain brown rice, pasta, sweetcorn and sweet potato.
2. Your meals... are lacking protein
Protein provides a fullness factor because it’s harder for your body to breakdown. So, it’s a wise idea to include a source of protein in each and every meal.
If you’re a toast-for-breakkie kinda girl, replacing your usual vegemite with an egg or spoonful of peanut butter can provide a much-needed protein boost. If you’re into salads for lunch, a tin of tuna or handful of shredded chicken breast are some good options for protein. And if your evening meals tend to be rice or pasta-based instead of the traditional meat and three veg, try the addition of something like fish, tofu or chicken for a much-needed protein punch.
The buck doesn’t have to stop with main meals, either. A high-protein snack can help to keep cravings at bay between meals, too. Most people are surprised to hear that dairy foods like milk, yoghurt and cheese contribute a significant amount of protein. The best part is they make for the perfect between-meal bites.
3. Your meals... don’t have enough fibre
Fibre doesn’t just support a healthy digestive system. Surprise, surprise – it keeps you feeling full, too. In a similar fashion to protein, fibre takes a little while to digest, so you’ll stay fuller for longer after a good dose of fibre.
If you’re looking to boost your fibre intake, you’ve got five main options:
- Wholegrains. Think: wholegrain bread, wholegrain crackers and brown rice. Use them as a base for your dinner, or as a snack on their own.
- Veggies. The only rule here is to leave the skin on because that’s where most of the fibre lies. Your goal is five veggies a day, but obviously, the more, the better.
- Fruit. Same goes for fruit, too. Seriously – throw away that peeler! Aim for two a day and you’ve got yourself a dose of gut-loving goodness.
- Legumes. Beans, chickpeas and lentils are nutrition superstars, partly because they are jam-packed with fibre. Try baked beans for breakfast, chickpeas in a salad for lunch or lentils in a soup or curry for dinner. They’re so versatile and oh-so good for you.
- Nuts and seeds. Not only will adding nuts and seeds to your diet boost your fibre intake, you’ll get a dose of heart-healthy fats, too. Try them atop your cereal, thrown into your smoothie or just on their own as a snack.
And there you have it! Three possible culprits to your incessant hunger – and what you can do to fix it.