What to Eat When You Are Hungry
Hunger is such an odd word. It means so many things to so many people. In fact, it can mean many things to the same person. Hunger - eating when you are bored. Hunger - eating because you have physical symptoms of needing food - hunger pangs, lightheadedness, low blood sugar, etc. Hunger - are we really hungry? Let's explore.
Water is the Key to Health
Sometimes our body sends a signal that we are thirsty and we interpret that as being hungry. When you feel hungry, try drinking a glass of water. Not only does water help to quiet the stomach, it also helps to keep the body working at peak efficiency. If you are still hungry 15 minutes later, try a light snack. Your goal is simply to make it to the next regularly scheduled meal.
Consider the Time Factor
Hunger is like the little light on your dashboard that says you are low on fuel. Food is energy. So the key to being healthy and losing weight is to eat for peak energy. When you are hungry between meals, eat a healthy snack. Limit that snack to about 100 calories or 15 total carbs. Keep in mind that carbs are produced in two forms - fast burning and slow burning. Slow burning carbs are typically good and include whole grains and fruit. Fast burning carbs are not usually great for you and include foods such as pasta, bread, sugar, candy, donuts, etc. The energy from fast burning carbs will not help you make it to your next meal before you are hungry again.
- Half of an orange, apple, or peach
- A portion of dried fruit
- A small salad
- A yogurt with 15 total carbs - It pays to read the label because sometimes a single serving yogurt can have enough carbs to make it part of a meal. So as a snack, stick to the 15 grams of total carbs.
- A portion of nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and cashews.
The key here is portion size. Keep in mind that in terms of taking in energy, a snack is only putting enough gas in your car to get you to your next regular meal.
The Psychology of Hunger
Hunger is a psychological game. We never want to see the "low fuel light" come on because we are hungry. Our brain releases hormones that cause us to overeat. This is a survival instinct that dates back to the days when food was not plentiful. Finding food was a driving force in a day’s adventure and that ties directly into energy. Fight-or-flight is a high energy mode and our body is primed to keep energy on hand to help us survive. Don't be fooled by what is essentially old technology. Eat to make it to your next scheduled meal, which is an option that our earliest relatives did not have.
In short, drink plenty of water to avoid the "low fuel light" and be prepared with healthy snacks that have slow burning carbs so we can make it safely to our next meal. To discover more of our hidden weight loss and health secrets, head over to the Metabolic Research Center and learn the tricks and tips to gain health and lose weight without being hungry.
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