The Art and Science of Foods That Fill You Up

A big part of healthy eating is filling up on the right foods. The problem is that trying to avoid cravings can feel crazy sometimes. Some people eat lunch and feel hungry again an hour later. What’s up with that?

The Science Behind Feeling Full

The reason you feel full after eating something is all in your head, literally. As your stomach digests your meal, it sends signals to your brain telling you that you’re not hungry anymore. Your body takes time to break down food into nutrients, releasing hormones that help you feel full and content.

Even your emotions are involved. Have you ever noticed how happy and satisfied you are after eating a meal that you love? On the other hand, when you’re stressed or depressed, you probably feel hungrier than normal. This is all because of hormones.

The Reason Some Foods Make You Feel Full Longer Than Others

Why are some foods more filling than others? One reason is that they take longer to digest. The more time your stomach spends processing food, the less time it has to feel hungry. Here are a few things that can make any meal more filling:

  • Fiber: Foods that are high in fiber take longer for your body to digest. Fiber turns the things you eat into a kind of gel, slowing them down as they move through your intestines. Another benefit of fiber is that it balances your blood-sugar levels, basically telling your body that your energy levels are good so you don’t need to eat anything else.

  • Protein: When you eat protein, your body releases specific hormones responsible for feelings of fullness. High-protein foods are the best snacks for calming the munchies. Eggs have a lot of protein, and so do nuts and different types of fish.

  • Water: Getting enough water with meals is a great way to calm your appetite. Not only does water have zero calories, it contributes to fullness. Fruit that naturally has high water content is very filling, such as a slice of watermelon or some fresh pineapple.

Other foods help you stay full longer because they have a low energy density. In other words, they have a lot of volume but not very many calories. You feel satisfied without feeling guilty.


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The Best Foods for Calming Hunger

The munchies can make cutting calories from your diet easier said than done. To have success with your weight loss goals, reach for these foods at meal time:

  • Soup: Cooked veggies and protein with plenty of water are the perfect recipe for a filling meal.

  • Greek yogurt: This healthy treat has a lot of protein and probiotics to calm hungry feelings.

  • Vegetables: Did you know that broccoli is 90% water? Leafy greens are packed with fiber, too. Carrots are another filling choice.

  • Fresh fruit: Apples, bananas and oranges have plenty of fiber and water, and they’re super-fast to grab on the go.

  • Potatoes: Boiled or baked potatoes are among the most filling foods on the planet. Scientists think they have a special protein that suppresses appetite.

My personal recommendation is to add a salad to everything (but skip the ranch dressing). If you’re making spaghetti for your kids, make some salad, too. That way you eat fewer calories but still feel satisfied. This helps calm nighttime snacking temptations a lot.

How To Make a Weight-Loss New Year’s Resolution That Will Actually Stick!

Measuring Tape

We open up a shiny new year by declaring all the things that will be different this year. We'll eat better. We'll exercise more. In reality, though, our resolutions last maybe a week, and then it's back to the same old thing, right? What if there was a trick to making a new habit stick? What if this trick worked even for habits you had tried (and failed) to cultivate many times in the past? News flash: There is such a trick, and it really does work. (Spoiler alert: It's actually not a trick at all. It's science.)

2021

Remember Your Why

Take a bit of time to dig down into why you want to lose weight this year. Get specific. Don't settle for a vague feeling of nostalgia. Instead, write down the personal and health benefits you want to gain by losing weight. Focus on outcomes, such as playing with your grandchildren without getting winded or being able to climb stairs without knee pain from the extra weight on your joints. Post your "why" somewhere you can see it often.

Goals

Set Specific Goals

Now that you know exactly why you want to lose weight write down what that will look like for you when you've accomplished it. Will you be down a certain number of pounds or pants sizes? Will you know you've hit your goal when you can walk a set distance without feeling like you need a nap? Write it down, whatever it is.


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Focus on Habits

After completing the two steps above, you've got your resolution. Now comes the part where you make it all happen. You already know how to lose weight. Although the details may vary depending on your health and other circumstances, it basically comes down to eating better and moving more. What new habits do you need to incorporate into your life to make weight loss happen for you? Create two category headings: one for food and one for movement. Under each heading, write down one or two habits to start with. One could be about filling up on fruits and veggies, and another could be about doubling your average daily steps. Try to choose new habits that are slightly out of reach but don't feel impossible.

Exercise

Tie It All Together

Once you have your new habits in mind (and down on paper!), figure out how to tie them to habits you already have. For example, you already brush your teeth every morning. If you want to create a new habit of drinking a big glass of water first thing in the morning, attach the new habit to the existing habit by placing your water glass next to the toothpaste so you remember to grab it and fill it up. If your new habit is eating two servings of fruit at breakfast and you're a coffee drinker, place a cutting board next to the coffee maker and link chopping fruit with waiting for the coffee to brew. Once your new behaviors start to truly become habits, add a couple more, always piggybacking onto something you already do.

Happy New Year

Give Yourself Grace

The true secret to success in anything is never to give up. New Year's resolutions that really stick are those you don't give up on, even when you have setbacks. When you feel like you've failed at keeping your resolutions, dust yourself off and start again. You've got this!

Eat on the Go a Lot? This Is Why You’re Gaining Weight

Take out

Does any of this sound like your daily routine?

  • Eating lunch at your desk
  • Grabbing a toaster pastry on your way out the door
  • Stopping at a drive-thru on the way to work
  • Skipping meals
  • Buying a muffin or donut while you fill your gas tank
  • Eating at weird times of day
  • Ordering fast food over your lunch break
  • Getting your “lunch” from a vending machine

If so, you’re probably noticing that it’s hard to reach that slim waistline you’ve been craving. Rushing through mealtimes makes it harder for your body to burn calories. It adds literal pounds to your waistline. Here’s why:

Pastries

1. You Eat Too Much

Eating quickly doesn’t give your body time to signal when you’re full. This makes it easy to overeat. Any extra calories go straight to your waistline.

Taking your time to savor your food lets you digest what you’re eating. This balances blood sugar levels and reduces the amount of sugar turned into fat. Plus, relaxed eating prevents that nasty afternoon energy crash that leaves you reaching for caffeine.

Vending Machine

2. You Stay Hungry

Have you ever grabbed a candy bar and looked down to see the empty wrapper in your hand, but you don’t remember eating the candy bar? That’s exactly what happens when you eat on the go. Scientists have discovered that it’s not just your stomach that tells you you’re full; your brain does, too.

When your brain is distracted with something else — walking or working — you won’t feel full even if you’ve eaten enough. You’re going to have major munchies, and what happens next probably won’t make you proud.

2 Minute Ritual

3. Your Body Misses Out on Fat-Burning Nutrients

People who eat on the run often choose foods that aren’t exactly healthy. It’s tempting to grab toaster pastries, donuts, muffins or burgers and call them a meal because they’re so convenient. But they’re also nothing but empty calories that make you gain weight.

On the other hand, fresh fruit fills you up and gives your body tons of energizing nutrients. Many of these antioxidant superstars supercharge your metabolism and help you burn fat.

Eating at work

4. The Portions Are Huge

If eating on the go means swinging through a drive-thru, you have to deal with the massive portions of most fast-food restaurants. DON’T SUPERSIZE IT! Even normal burgers and fries are enough to blow past your daily calorie limits. The gigantic portions of most places can quickly undo any exercise you’ve done all week long.

Apples

What Can You Do?

How can you avoid gaining weight if you have a busy schedule? First, understand that eating on the go is dangerous and taking your time is healthy. People who rush through meals are at a much greater risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

If a busy schedule is the problem, cook healthy foods the night before that don’t take long to serve in the morning, such as a fresh berry smoothie. Set aside a reasonable amount of time to enjoy eating, such as 15 minutes for breakfast, and 30-45 for lunch and supper. During this time, RELAX.

If you’re at work, find a nice outdoor spot where you can sit and eat a tasty sandwich or salad. Savor the flavors, talk with friends, or just enjoy the refreshing air. This can help you lose weight, and I guarantee you will feel more productive.

High Calorie Foods That Are Actually Healthy

If you’re trying to eat healthy and watch your waistline, calories may seem like the enemy. It’s a well-known fact that some of the unhealthiest foods are absolutely full of empty calories. But not all calories are bad. In fact, they’re crucial for your health and survival.

Check out this list of nutritious foods that are surprisingly high in calories, and you’ll see firsthand that you can achieve optimum health by including quality high-calorie foods in your diet. Just make sure you eat them sparingly, because any high-calorie food can make you gain weight if you eat too much of it.

1. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is one of the most versatile high-calorie foods out there. You can find it in everything from Asian cuisine sauces to candy bars. It also happens to be good for you. This delectable nut butter provides a decent amount of protein, as well as vitamins and minerals such as zinc, magnesium and potassium.

Unfortunately, you won’t reap the health benefits of peanut butter if your daily serving comes from a candy bar or cookie dough batter. Instead, try smearing a tablespoon of smooth and creamy peanut butter into the crevices of fresh celery stalks. The peanut butter will help satiate you and the celery will delivery a powerful punch of vitamins and minerals (plus, it has an incredible crunch).

2. Nuts

Nuts are amazing snack foods  because they fill you up so effectively. This is partially because of their high calorie content (which tops at a 190 calories per ounce for some varieties). But don’t let that scare you away.

Nuts are rich in protein, fiber and various essential nutrients. Try substituting a small handful of nuts for your favorite unhealthy crunchy foods, such as chips or cookies.

3. Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is a funny-looking grain that hasn’t yet become popular in many American dishes. But if people realized how nutritious this little grain is, they’d want to eat more of it every day! Quinoa is one of the few complete proteins in this world (which means it contains 9 essential amino acids). It’s also high in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, which are both great for controlling diabetes. Be careful to eat it in moderation, though, since a single cup of the cooked stuff contains 222 calories.

4. Olive Oil

There are some types of oil that have a bad reputation for a reason. Low-quality oils such as vegetable oil or canola oil are full of omega-6 fatty acids, which can be harmful for your body if consumed in large amounts. Olive oil, on the other hand, has a much healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. It also has strong ant-inflammatory properties and may help you manage your blood pressure. Who knew?

Olive oil has just under 120 calories per tablespoon, so try not to go crazy with it. Just a teaspoon here and there will do you good. Try drizzling a bit on a fresh salad or using it to cook your vegetables and meats.

How To Create Cheap and Healthy Meals for Your Family

How To Create Cheap and Healthy Meals for Your Family

Many people think that “healthy” is synonymous with “expensive,” but I love proving them wrong. With a little forethought, you can save money each month while still providing your family with nutritious and delicious meals every night (or as often as you want to cook).

Here’s how to create cheap and healthy meals you can proudly feed to your family.

Set a Budget

Listen up. Eating healthy isn’t going to cost you an arm and a leg unless you don’t set a budget for your groceries. The very first step you should take when creating a healthy meal schedule is to figure out how much you can spend on groceries.

Once you have a number, you can look for recipes that fit within your budget. This will take you a little bit of time, but it’s absolutely worth it.

“Healthify” Your Favorite Meals

You don’t have to completely change your palate to enjoy healthy foods. Instead, take recipes you already know you like and make a few tweaks here and there to “healthify” them.

Healthify

Here are some of the top ways to make the most delectable unhealthy recipes a lot healthier.

  • Make one or more healthy substitutions. Use fat-free milk instead of whole milk, trade enriched pasta with whole-wheat pasta, or cut the meat content in half and add more vegetables.
  • Reduce the amount of salt, fat and sugar. Too much salt, fat and sugar aren’t good for your health (not to mention your waistline!) Here are some easy ways to limit the amounts of these ingredients in your meals.
  • Salt - To cut back on salt, try using other seasonings to flavor your food. Thyme, cayenne, allspice and oregano can all add great flavor to your food and can reduce your need to use salt.
  • Fat - To make sure your baked goods are still deliciously soft while cutting back on fat from butter, just use half the butter. You can replace the other half of the butter with mashed banana, unsweetened applesauce or prune puree.
  • Sugar - To limit your sugar intake, add up to ½ less sugar than what’s called for in your favorite recipes. You can make up the difference by adding other sweet ingredients, such as nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice or cloves. Flavorings such as almond or vanilla extract can also add the most delightful hint of sweetness.
  • Make your portion sizes smaller. One of the easiest ways to cut back on calories is to simply make portion sizes smaller. This will not only help you save money, but it may save your waistline, as well!

Figure Out What Ingredients Your Kids Will Eat

A little experimentation with healthy foods can help you figure out what your kids love, hate and tolerate. Remember to be creative. Your kids may think they hate carrots, but might change their minds if you puree some cooked carrots with a bit of olive oil, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Kids Meals

Once you figure out what healthy components your kids like, you can rotate them into your meals regularly.

Take It a Week at a Time

Making nutritious meals can get overwhelming if you think too far ahead. While some people thrive on creating month-long dinner schedules, most people do best when they take it a week at a time.

Every weekend, take a few minutes to figure out your meal and grocery needs for the next week. Pick up all your groceries in a single trip, if possible. This will save you precious time and stress.

Healthy Breakfast