Top 10 Healthy Foods to Eat When You're Always Hungry
Finding healthy foods to eat when hungry can definitely be a struggle.
It’s easier to reach for that bag of chips or make you some ice cream than it is to actually take the time to prepare something healthier for yourself.
Hint: That’s all from personal experience.
I think we can both agree junk food is not something you want to do all the time especially if you’re trying to stay fit or lose weight.
Oh and by the way if you haven’t had a chance to just yet, I encourage you to read the following article: “Does The Average American Have A Healthy Diet?“
It’ll give you some perspective as to whether your diet is a healthy one or if there’s room for improvement.
If you need an eye opener then I believe that’s it.
Give yourself some time to read that post. For now let’s get back to the healthy foods to eat if you’re always hungry.
I think before we take a look at the list of foods, you need to also understand why you may always feel hungry even after eating.
Hunger can be a good or bad thing depending on the situation.
Realizing some of the reasons why you’re always hungry may help you not feel as guilty and also make healthier decisions.
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5 Reasons Why You're Constantly Hungry Even After Eating
1 - You're eating too much sugar
Maybe not literally but it could be that your diet is one that’s high in sugar.
Remember my chips and ice cream example above? Junk food can for sure be a contributing factor.
Sugar increases your level of appetite leading to that constant hungry feeling or the need for a sugar rush.
2. Low Fiber Diet
Fiber is a natural appetite suppressant.
It helps regulate the hormones involved in appetite control and also delays digestion which all help keep you feeling full.
If you have a diet that’s lacking in fiber then there’s a high chance you’ll always feel hungry.
3. Lack of Protein and Healthy Fats
Protein can help keep you from feeling hungry all the time and limit the amount of food you eat.
Good news is there are plenty of healthy protein snacks you can take in between meals.
One of my favorites is this Planters P3 Protein Variety Pack.
Healthy fats on the other hand are not only another key component for a balanced diet but they are also generally slower to digest.
So if you’re not consuming enough of these 2 essential macronutrients, that could be preventing you from feeling full.
4. Lack of Sleep
Adequate sleep is extremely important for your overall health and well-being.
Think about how great you feel after a good night’s (or day’s) rest.
Lack of sleep has been linked to higher Ghrelin levels which is a hormone that stimulates appetite.
So get yourself plenty of rest. Technically if you’re asleep, you can’t eat.
5. You're on a Diet Regimen
You may not necessarily think about it because dieting is almost always associated with eating healthy but it could also be contributing to your hunger.
Not all diet regimens are the same.
A restrictive or low calorie diet can lead to more hunger spells especially if you’re just getting started on said diet.
It is something worth considering.
After looking at those reasons did you find any that feel relatable?
What they essentially tell us is that there’s usually something else that may be causing you to feel hungry all the time.
If you know what it is then your approach will be completely different.
I also get that sometimes you may just be truly hungry and if that’s the case then you may want to add the following list of foods to your diet.
10 Healthy Foods to Eat if You're Constantly Hungry
1 - Broccoli
You can’t go wrong with broccoli.
It is a very nutritious vegetable and if you’re working on eating healthier, you should probably consider making it a staple in your diet.
Broccoli also has an incredible amount of health benefits such as bone health, prevention of certain cancers, lower cholesterol and a good dose of vitamins.
They’re also one of the highest filling vegetables because they contain lots of fiber and water.
The high amounts of fiber take time to digest so you feel fuller for a longer period of time.
This makes it an excellent high volume, low calorie option to keep you full.
You can obviously eat your broccoli raw or cooked but cooking them gives you the most nutritional benefits.
2 - Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are part of the same cruciferous vegetable family like broccoli and provide similar nutritional value.
They’re low in calories and contain a lot of nutrients particularly Vitamin C and Vitamin K.
They also contain large amounts of healthy filling fiber.
Brussels sprouts can be a hit or miss depending on who you talk to but the key to enjoying them depends on how they’re prepared.
If you want to get rid of the bitter taste you should roast or char them for more flavor.
Here are a few tasty brussels sprouts recipes you can try:
3 - Steel Cut Oats
All oats in general are healthy for you but steel cut oats are one of the best because they are minimally processed and have more fiber than the other forms of oats.
It’s not just the fiber that makes them filling but their coarse texture as well.
That texture does however mean you need to soak and cook them a little bit longer but their nutritional value makes it well worth the effort.
They’re one of the healthiest grains you can eat if you’re always hungry.
They can help improve your energy levels, they’re a good source of iron, they’re gluten-free and also contain decent amounts of protein to keep you full.
4 - Sweet Potatoes
Truth is sweet potatoes and regular potatoes are relatively comparable in nutritional value.
That surely opens up room for a lot of argument to be made as to which one you should choose over the other.
Short and simple answer is both!
Yes they both deserve a place in any healthy, balanced diet which means it really comes down to personal preference.
They all have similar amounts of nutrients except for the fact that sweet potatoes have no fat, they contain more Vitamin A, are lower in sodium and have a lesser amount of calories than their counterpart.
Personally I’d take sweet potatoes over any other type of potatoes.
They taste better and contain decent amounts of water and fiber to keep you fuller longer.
That said, just know all potatoes are generally very filling so pick one that best suits you.
In fact boiled potatoes have the highest satiety index score of most common foods.
5 - High Fiber fruit
As we’ve seen fiber is excellent because it helps add bulk to your diet and slows down digestion.
If you haven’t already, you should consider eating as much fruit as you can.
Not only do they contain plenty of fiber to help meet your Recommended Daily Allowance but they also possess so many other incredible health benefits.
Some high fiber fruits include: oranges, apples, bananas, mangoes, strawberries, raspberries, avocado, pears and blackberries to name a few.
6 - Fish
Fish contains Omega-3 fatty acids (polyunsaturated fat) which play an important role in lowering your bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and reducing your risk of a stroke or heart disease.
The human body unfortunately cannot make its own Omega-3s so they need to be gotten from your diet.
That is where the fish comes in.
A pubmed study showed that Omega-3 fatty acids can also help modulate satiety keeping you fuller longer.
In addition to that fish also contain lots of protein which helps keep hunger at bay.
7 - Brown Rice
Brown rice is good because it is less processed and contains a higher amount of nutrients than white rice.
It is also low in density which means even though it is heavy and filling, it has fewer calories making it great for preventing hunger strikes and also adequate for weight loss.
Brown rice also has a very low glycemic index (GI) so it helps prevent blood sugar spikes which are a key contributing factor in you feeling hungry all the time.
Even though some people tend to avoid carbohydrates at all cost, brown rice is a good, healthy whole grain for you.
Just in case you’re curious, wholegrain Basmati rice has the lowest glycemic index of all rice types.
8 - Other Whole Grain foods
Whole grains contain complex carbs which take a longer time to be broken down and digested in the body.
The slow digestion is what helps keep you full longer.
They also contain plenty of fiber which as you now know does a good job at curbing your hunger.
Some other whole grain foods you should consider include: quinoa, millet, whole grain breads, and whole grain pasta.
9 - Legumes
Chickpeas, beans, lentils, peas, and so on are all very high filling foods.
They’re also low-energy-density foods, are high in protein and contain high amounts of fiber.
Basically a complete checklist of all items you need to keep you full longer.
10 - Bok Choy
Last but not least is bok choy which is another healthy veggie with a lot of nutritional value.
It contains excellent amounts of Vitamins K, C and A which all have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits for your body.
Bok choy also has plenty of fiber and water to bulk up your meals and keep you full for longer periods of time.
One of the best ways to prepare bok choy while maintaining most of its nutrients is by a Healthy Saute.
Bonus (Worthy Mentions)
11 - Lean Meat & Skinless Chicken
Meats contain good portions of high filling protein.
Substituting leans meat and skinless chicken in your diet is a much healthier option because they contain lesser amounts of unhealthy fats.
12 - Popcorn
Popcorn is an excellent snack to keep you full without without all the excess calories.
It is another perfect example of a low-calorie whole grain since it is packed with fiber.
Popcorn also tends to be eaten in high volume which contributes to its filling effects.
Air-popped popcorn is a healthy way for you to prepare them since it helps eliminate a lot of the fat from the oils.
13 - Water
Drinking lots of water not only keeps you hydrated but it also takes up more space in the stomach which helps you feel full.
You should also try drinking some water before your meals because it can help reduce the amount of food you eat.
If you’re still hungry after your meals, another glass or bottle of water definitely won’t hurt.
Also if you’re just like me and have a hard time drinking water then think about adding some lemon or lime for a little bit of flavor.
You could even spritz in a little bit of some healthy juice mix if you prefer.
If you’re always hungry and want to eat healthy or lose weight you should choose low energy density foods over anything else.
That’s because most foods within that category allow you to eat larger portions with a fewer amount of calories.
As we’ve also seen, fiber-rich foods are your best friend.
Fiber helps slow down digestion and also causes a slow rise in blood sugar which helps curb your sugar cravings and hunger spells.
You should also incorporate proteins because they’re healthy and very filling.
Avoid processed foods (junk food) as much as possible and also drink lots of water.
Stock up on veggies, fruits, whole grains and other healthy snacks to help resist the temptation of picking up unhealthy alternatives.
The key to eating “more” and staying healthy is by picking the right food options.