It is normal to feel hungry after a couple of hours without eating as your body constantly relies on food for energy. However, if our stomach is on a persistent growl even after a meal, it is not good news for your body and health as it could lead to excessive eating, a major contributor to obesity.
Obesity is a rising epidemic, as more and more people are struggling to manage their weight. Increased meal portion sizes are believed to be the main culprit for overeating and excessive weight gain. The solution to this epidemic may seem relatively straightforward: if you are trying to lose weight, start by eating less. Yes, people tend to eat, or attempt to finish, almost all of what is being served on the table, and as such, controlling your portion size can certainly help prevent you from overindulging.
But how far do you scale your portions back without feeling hungry? Since we are in a giving mood, we offer you a few great tips to decrease your food portions without making you feel any hungrier.
Fill Half of Your Plate with Veggies
The incredible thing about vegetables is that they contain a truckload of filling fibre and water, but comparatively lower amounts of calories. By substituting half the starch or protein of your meal with non-starchy vegetables, you can consume the same amount of food and still slash overall calories.
In fact, one particular research has shown that the amount of food you eat influences how full you feel after a meal. Subjects in the study were each served with equal amounts of pasta, albeit differing amounts of vegetables. It was later found that the participants ate similar amounts of food, regardless of the amount of veggies that were initially served. This means that those who had consumed the highest proportion of vegetables essentially ate the least calories without even realising it.
So, try scaling down the servings of other foods by a notch and load the majority of your plate with non-starchy vegetables. You can employ this exact same concept when whipping up mixed dishes. Simply add more vegetables to your favourite recipes to reduce the calories in the dish and make them more nutrient-dense.
Include Protein Sources in Every Meal
Numerous studies have continually shown that protein elevates feelings of fullness or satisfaction more than carbs or fat. One particular study from 2012 analysed the results of consuming high-protein meals on feelings of fullness, with subjects handed meals consisting of approximately 20–30% of calories from protein. The researchers found that subjects who consumed the protein-loaded meals felt fuller in both the short and long-term, as opposed to when their meals comprised of half that amount of protein.
Take full advantage of protein's filling properties by incorporating it into your meals and snacks. You should place greater emphasis on lean sources of protein, such as fish, eggs, seafood, lower fat content dairy and poultry. Plant-based proteins, like nut butters, beans, tofu and bean dips are also good choices to help you feel satisfied even with a smaller portion.
Drink A Glass of Water Before Meals
Chugging down a glass of water right before a meal could help fill you up and minimise the chances of you overeating. In one study involving older adults, participants who drank at least two 500ml cups of water before lunch were found to eat about thirteen per cent less as opposed to those who did not drink any water before eating. You can also drink water or other zero-calorie beverages with your meal to help you feel satisfied faster. Avoid drinking calorie-rich beverages such as soda or juice. These beverages not only make you feel bloated, but they also leave behind extra calories that you do not certainly need.
Use Smaller Plates and Utensils
Yes, as strange as it may sound, the sizes of your plates and eating utensils directly affect how much you are likely to eat. Several studies have found that people have the tendency to fill their plates to about 70 per cent full based on plate sizes instead of their appetites or regular portions. Logically, this translates into a bucket load more food if you are eating with a ten-inch plate as opposed to an eight-inch plate — that is a difference of 52 per cent more food, to be precise. Moreover, the more you have on your plate, the more likely you are to finish them, or at least attempt to. In a separate study, it was discovered that individuals have served themselves more food and dessert with a big spoon as compared to when using a small fork.
Therefore, embrace the power of illusion and utilise smaller plates and utensils — the same share of serving will look greater and you are more than likely to eat less.
Eating less food and slashing your calories does not necessarily leave you feeling hungry. Bulk up your servings of protein and vegetables or trick your mind by eating from smaller plates. These simple tips and tricks can help you reduce and control your food portion without leaving you with an empty stomach.