A healthy, consistent diet plan is all well and good, but cravings can sabotage even the best laid plans. Cravings and hunger spikes are two of the biggest obstacles to losing weight. The good news is that there are natural ways to stay on track, lose weight and maintain your ideal weight.
You can increase your chances of success by making foods that are natural appetite suppressants a part of your diet. Reduce urges to snack and overeat with these 10 healthy, satisfying naturally appetite suppressing foods:
Snacking on almonds can lead to increased feelings of fullness and satisfaction throughout your day.
They’re a rich source of vitamins and healthy fats, boosting your metabolism and staving off those cravings.
A single serving of almonds contains your daily antioxidants, magnesium, and vitamin E requirements.
Almonds are used in popular weight management programs because they increase fullness and reduce overeating.
In one study, researchers found that consuming almonds could displace certain foods from the diet and stabilize weight – meaning no weight gained or loss.
Some experts suggest that the fat content in almonds is not fully digested and absorbed so you won’t get the full energy content listed on the label. But don’t let the fat content of almonds stop you from enjoying them. The fat contained is the healthy monounsaturated variety that is proven to improve blood cholesterol.
Almonds are extremely versatile and delectably sweet, so you can easily work them into your baked goods and savory dishes. Eating raw almonds daily can get boring fast.
For more exciting alternatives, toss them in your salad, sprinkle sliced almonds on your morning oatmeal, fold them into your favorite muffin recipes, or spread almond butter on your whole wheat toast. A glass of almond milk in the morning also packs the same appetite suppressing power of a handful of almonds.
2. Caffeine (Coffee, Green Tea)
Caffeine is a highly effective natural appetite suppressant. Green tea in particular is full of powerful antioxidants that have numerous health benefits.
While the caffeine in coffee and green tea will temporarily squelch your appetite, don’t rely on your daily intake to help you lose weight – especially if you stick to the daily recommended dosage of 1-2 cups.
While upping your intake will suppress your hunger cravings, it’s not advisable since drinking too much will increase your sleeplessness and anxiety, and kick your heart rate and blood pressure into high gear.
To get the best of your caffeine fix, limit your intake to the recommended 1-2 cups. But take the calories from sugar and cream into account.
For example, mocha drinks have as much as 350 calories in a small cup, and those calories won’t fill you up as they would if you took them in solid form. The sleep deprivation associated with caffeine can also sabotage your weight loss program. Skip a few hours of sleep at night and you’ll be tired and hungry the next day.
The upside is that drinking coffee and/or green tea will help increase your metabolism and burn more calories. Just pay attention to the limits and go easy on the cream and sugar.
Have a sweet tooth? Apples can help to satisfy it, yet the sugar content is on the low end of the glycemic index.
Apples are also high in fiber – a soluble fiber called pectin- which leads to a full, satisfied feeling that lasts.
Pectin also reduces the amount of calories and sugar absorbed into your bloodstream after meals. That’s terrific news for diabetics and people who want to ward off type 2 diabetes.
So you can see that an apple a day truly keeps the doctor away – at least when it comes to unbalanced blood sugar. Apple is a terrific snack for dieters because pectin eliminates blood sugar spikes that are responsible for fat storage. Apples also prevent the blood sugar crash that increases cravings for more food.
Eat an apple or two and the pectin (the satiating compound in the apple) will cause you to feel full for at least 1-2 hours. That should hold you off till your next meal.
For best results, eat the apple just before and immediately after a meal to stay fuller for a longer period. Taken between meals, an apple will keep your blood sugar balanced. Pectin powder offers the same appetite suppressing effects of an apple, so consider mixing it into your shakes, oatmeal and porridge.
Dehydration can actually cause sensations and symptoms that feel like hunger, when your body is actually craving more water.
The next time you feel a hunger pang try drinking a glass of water first before snacking. Yes! Drinking water is a powerful way to suppress your appetite.
If you reach for a glass of water when you first feel pangs of hunger, you’ll find that it suppresses your appetite – every single time. A glass of water is so satisfying that you should have a glass before each meal.
If you suffer from hyperacidity or have gastric ulcers, drinking water might not be the ideal solution for curbing hunger. In order to prevent flatulence, bloating, and acidity from developing in your stomach, you might need to eat a cracker (or apple) if your hunger persists after drinking your first glass of water.
Some people cringe at the thought of drinking 8-10 glasses of water daily. If water doesn’t work for you, try drinking natural organic vegetable broth that’s available at your local health food store.
Check the labels because you’ll want to ensure there are no excitotoxins in your broth. Organic chicken broth is another safe alternative. Heat the broth and eat it like a soup to get your daily fluid requirements and curb hunger with only 20-30 calories.
5. Lean Protein
Eating fewer carbs and instead going for lean protein during meals can help to reduce your appetite throughout the day and regulate cravings.
There is growing evidence to support the power of boneless, skinless chicken and turkey breast, lean red meat, soybeans, eggs and fish as filling and weight loss inducing foods.
Proteins are more filling that any other nutrient, including fiber and fat because it wipes away hunger.
Participants in one study maintained their muscle mass and felt more satisfied after getting 30% of their daily caloric intake from lean proteins.
Simply adding an extra 3-4 portion of lean meat on your plate is enough to curb between-meal cravings. Inadequate protein intake has been linked to overeating, so include high-protein foods in your diet.
While it’s helpful to have a turkey sandwich at lunch or grilled chicken for dinner, researchers believe that loading up on protein at breakfast is the most effective.
Try having a corn burrito with two scrambled eggs, toasted bread with peanut or almond butter, whole wheat with hummus, tomatoes and goat cheese, or apple walnut oatmeal made with skimmed milk. These are all high-protein breakfast ideas that will take you through the morning and empower you to make healthy choices throughout the day.
Popcorn is a whole grain, which means it has lots of fiber and complex carbohydrates. The best way to pop your corn is with an air popper, and the worst way is in a microwavable bag.
Microwave popcorn is a health nightmare.
The bag itself is lined with PFOA, which is short for the very long name of a chemical found in Teflon pans, and it has been linked to infertility and cancer.
Some brands contain trans fats, which the Center for Disease Control says is responsible for 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths every year. Another chemical commonly found in microwave popcorn is TBHQ, which is made from butane.
The artificial diacetyl butter flavoring used in microwave popcorn passes through the blood-brain barrier that keeps toxins out of your brain, and has recently been loosely linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
So now that you know what kind of popcorn to avoid, let’s look at some delicious, homemade popcorn recipes that you can whip up in a hurry and snack on throughout the day.
For spicy buffalo ranch popcorn, pop two quarts of corn. Mix together one tablespoon of dry ranch dressing mix, a tablespoon of celery salt, a teaspoon each of garlic powder and powdered sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon of vegetable oil over the dry mix and blend well. Sprinkle the mixture over the popcorn, shake it up to distribute it evenly, and enjoy.
For a classier popcorn snack, melt a tablespoon of butter and add a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and two teaspoons of crushed rosemary.
Blend and toss this mixture with the popcorn, then sprinkle it with ¼ cup of freshly grated parmesan cheese, a teaspoon of garlic salt and a pinch of white pepper.
7. Cayenne Pepper
If you like it hot and spicy, you should always have some cayenne pepper on hand in the kitchen. Adding cayenne pepper to dishes will suppress cravings and rev up your metabolism.
Cayenne pepper takes getting used to, and it might not be your go-to spice when you’re cooking, but it should be.
Apart from stimulating your digestive system and detoxing your body, cayenne pepper is a powerful ingredient in the weight loss battle.
Spice up your breakfast dishes with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper and you’ll consume fewer calories throughout the day and boost your metabolism to burn excess fat.
The metabolism boosting power of cayenne is so powerful that experts believe it prompts your body to burn an extra 10 calories every time you have it in your meals. It will cut an average of 60-80 calories from your meals if you’re not accustomed to spicy foods.
Season your meals with chopped or powdered cayenne pepper or stir it into your soup, milk, tea, or juice to get the appetite suppressant benefits of this food.
Take cayenne pepper with two meals a day for an entire month and you’ll lose about 4 pounds without any real effort.
Avocados are a superb source of vegetarian protein, fiber and healthy fats, all of which lead to natural craving control.
Their texture and creamy taste are delicious and satisfying, and they’ll leave you with a full, satisfied feeling. They’re also rich in Omega-3s, which help you to burn fat and extra calories.
Avocados are loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, but that doesn’t mean you should shy away from them. While they may be higher in calories and fat than other fruits, they will suppress your appetite and help you lose weight as long as you’re moderate.
Oleic acid, found in avocados, is the ingredient responsible for the appetite suppressing ability of this fruit. Scientists discovered that oleic acid converts into OEA (oleoylethanolamide) in the small intestines.
OEA is a lipid hormone that activates the part of the brain that’s responsible for making you feel full. Therefore, avocados will curb hunger and make it easier for you to manage your calorie intake.
Now, before you load up on avocados, remember that it’s an energy-dense food. Therefore, a little bit packs a lot of calories, so the keyword is moderation. Chop pieces of avocados into your salads or combine with onions, garlic, lime juice and tomatoes to make a flavorful guacamole dip.
Having eggs for breakfast has been shown to keep you feeling full and satisfied for hours afterward. They’re an excellent source of protein and are perfect for staving off cravings.
Have a plate of scrambled eggs for breakfast and you’ll keep mid-morning hunger pangs at bay.
US researchers have studied the humble egg’s ability to sustain the feeling of fullness and have described it as “nature’s appetite suppressant.”
The appetite suppressing ability of egg may be attributed to its high protein content. Ghrelin and PYY are two hormones, which work together to manage hunger.
Low ghrelin levels ward of hunger and high amounts of PYY helps to make you feel full. Apparently, eating eggs helps to maintain the right balance of these hormones to make you feel full for an extended period.
Eggs do not have magical powers; they simply cut off your appetite for a few hours to give you the power to say no.
While you should have eggs for breakfast to prevent mid-morning snacking, it’s vital that you choose healthy cooking methods if you’re watching your weight.
Mixing your eggs with cheese, cream, and bacon and frying in butter increases the calorie content on your plate. Instead, you should boil or poach your eggs for a low calorie alternative.
10. Dark Chocolate
That’s right, chocolate lovers – dark chocolate is an appetite suppressant. So should you eat more chocolate and lose weight right now?
Absolutely! But to be clear, this only applies to the dark chocolate variety – this is the type that’s been highly rated for its health benefits.
Recent studies suggest that it’s the intensity of the flavor and the fat in chocolate that actually curbs cravings.
Eat a few squares of dark chocolate and you’ll not only ward off hunger, but also consume less at your next meal. What a delicious way to improve your calorie-cutting behavior!
So what makes dark chocolate ideal for suppressing appetite? Experts believe it’s the cocoa butter and flavor intensity that do the trick.
The combination of butter fat and cocoa butter in milk chocolate sends it quickly through your digestive tract. Dark chocolate, however, digests at a slower rate, which curbs your appetite for a longer period.
As a bonus, the included antioxidants actually strengthen your arteries to protect your cardiovascular system.
Grate dark chocolate over your morning oatmeal, add to your muffin or pancake recipes, mix into a delicious banana smoothie, or simply have a little nip as your mid-morning snack.