“Sorry for the things I said when I was hungry.” Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there — that dreaded feeling of extreme hunger that all too quickly turns into anger. I think we can all agree — hanger is unenjoyable for all parties involved! Good news, we’re breaking down the top reasons why you may always feel hungry and giving you some delicious (registered-dietician-approved) filling foods to add to your shopping cart!
Top Reasons Why You Always Feel Hungry
Lack of Fiber
If you feel like you’re a bottomless pit, you may not be eating enough fiber! High fiber foods digest more slowly in the body, causing one to feel more full for longer periods of time, says Kelli Fierras, Registered Dietitian, Personal Trainer, and founder of Get Well With Kel, a private practice offering everything from running programs to nutrition counseling. High fiber foods cause a lower and more gradual rise in blood sugars, says Fierras. When you’re feeling hungry, swap out fiberless foods like refined grains for more fiber-rich, filling foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Not Eating Enough Satiating Foods
Low-calorie foods tend to make us feel full in the moment; however, it usually isn’t long term, says Fierras. Have you ever eaten a big salad with strictly veggies, only to find yourself back in the kitchen longing for a snack? If you aren’t adding any protein or fat to the salad, you may notice you are hungry an hour or so later. This is a tell-tale sign you’re not eating enough filling foods! Your body is smart. If you are constantly cutting out specific food groups (such as starches) or restricting yourself from something “tasty”, this could leave you feeling hungry and unfulfilled, says Fierras. Rather than restricting these foods from your diet, incorporate them in a healthy way!
Up Your Protein Intake
Eating protein-rich foods has been shown to increase our feeling of fullness, says Fierras. When protein is combined with carbohydrates, this can help control our blood sugar levels. If you’re looking for some protein-rich snacks, try these R.D. approved filling foods:
- Banana with peanut butter
- Homemade Trail mix
- Greek yogurt mixed with berries
- Chia pudding mixed with fruit
Too much of a good thing? An overload of sugar may lead to an insatiable craving! Simple carbohydrates (carbohydrates composed of glucose and fructose) are quickly utilized for energy by the body. However, this can lead to a spike in one’s blood sugar, says Fierras. The more sugar we consume, the more we crave! Look at your overall day when it comes to food intake, suggests Fierras. Sometimes when we are always hungry, it’s because we aren’t finding a good balance with macronutrients. When we don’t consume enough protein, carbs, and fat throughout the day, our blood sugars can decrease at an abnormal rate causing one to feel hungry and crave more sweets. Make sure you’re filling your plate with adequate proportions of filling foods!
The Best 8 Filling Foods To Eat If You Always Feel Hungry
Did you know that avocados contain more potassium than a banana, may support healthy cholesterol levels, and contribute close to 20 vitamins and minerals per serving? If that’s not enough to make you want to eat this delicious fruit (yes, avocados are a fruit!) one medium avocado contains 10 filling grams of fiber and is rich in essential fatty acids.
Nuts are an easy and healthful way to incorporate more filling foods into your diet. Try adding a variety of different nuts (such as brazil nuts, almonds, and walnuts) — this will help ensure you get a wide range of heart-healthy nutrients! Nuts are rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids and contain all three macronutrients: proteins, carbs, and fats. This makes them a great option to choose from as they are energy-dense and very filling without causing weight gain when incorporated into a healthy diet.
The high protein and omega-3 content in fatty fish (such as tuna or salmon) is a great way to keep hunger at bay. It’s well known that the fatty acids in seafood support heart health, but did you know it can support brain health too? In addition to being one of the most filling foods, fish may even boost mood!
Eggs are a great source of high-quality protein, says Fierras, which can help contribute to feelings of satiety. A 2011 study tested the satiety levels of those who ate eggs, chicken, or potatoes for lunch. In comparison with the potato, the study showed eggs had a significantly higher satiating effect! To get the most nutritional value of these filling foods, it’s important to eat both the egg yolk and egg white to get the omega-3s and maximum protein content.
There’s a reason oatmeal is a notorious breakfast option on any menu. This is a go-to filling foods source that is just as delicious as it is healthy. Oats can be incorporated into smoothies, made into overnight oats, baked into oatmeal, or made traditionally on the stove-top (hello, apple pie oats!). The soluble fiber (beta-glucan) in oatmeal is what makes us feel so full!
When you need to bulk up your plate, you can’t go wrong with adding extra veggies. Vegetables are rich in fiber which adds bulk to meals, says Fierras. Try filling half of your plate with veggies (start with leafy greens, then incorporate other veggies ranging in colors), which will help fill you up while keeping the rest of your proportions of macronutrients in balance!
Nature’s candy. When you’re looking for filling foods that will also satisfy your sweet tooth, reach for fiber-rich fruits like berries! Berries are filled with antioxidants, phytonutrients, and are rich in fiber, helping to slow down digestion and keep you feeling full for longer, says Fierras.
#8 Chia Seeds
If you’re looking to boost the fiber content of any meal, add a sprinkle of chia seeds — one of the best filling foods! One tablespoon of chia seeds provides 4 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein, and less than 60 calories! Try making a yummy chia seed pudding, like this FitOn PRO 2-Step Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding that will satisfy your dessert cravings while providing satiety and meeting your protein needs.
2-Step Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding
3 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
½ banana, mashed
Handful of berries
½ tsp cinnamon
2 drops vanilla stevia (optional)
Place the chia seeds in a bowl and cover with almond milk. Add the vanilla protein, banana, berries, cinnamon, and stevia, if using.
Stir to combine. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes before eating, or overnight.
Hungry Before Bed? Tips To Combat The Late Night Munchies.
Do you constantly find yourself hungry after dinner? Before you reach for a snack, consider why you might be hungry! Here are some reasons you may feel hungry at night, according to an R.D.
You may not have eaten enough at dinner, try increasing your portion sizes!
Make sure you are making an effort to have a carbohydrate, protein, and fat during dinner. Balance is key to satiety!
Make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day and with your meals. You may be thirsty, not hungry!
Is there a post-dinner food pattern? If you always find yourself hungry after dinner, ask yourself — is it a habit, or is it hunger? Reaching for certain foods (like something sweet) may not have anything to do with filling foods, it may just be habitual!
Bed-time snacking isn’t all bad! When late-night hunger strikes, be prepared with healthy food choices! If you do find yourself hungry after dinner, try these healthy R.D. approved late-night snacks.
It’s Not Always About Food!
Hunger beyond food? It’s true — when hunger strikes, the answer may not be as simple as eating filling foods! Fierras suggests your hunger pains could actually be due to a lack of shut-eye. If you’re feeling hungry, it may mean you’re not getting enough sleep. There are two main hormones that help regulate hunger: ghrelin and leptin. When we are sleep deprived, our ghrelin levels spike, and leptin levels fall. In turn, this causes one to feel hungry. Therefore, if you are always hungry, look at your sleep patterns and see if this is something that needs some work, says Fierras.
Other Tips To Consider:
- Drink adequate water throughout the day
- Eat every 2-4 hours (balancing carbs, fat, and protein at each meal and snack).
- Keep a food journal so you can see when you are most hungry throughout the day and if there is a pattern.
- Don’t restrict! Instead of cutting a food group or meal out of your diet, try making healthy swaps — you’ll sustain yourself with filling foods while satisfying your cravings!
Need more healthy food inspiration? With FitOn PRO, you can browse our library of delicious and nutritious meals and choose what’s right for you.