Stay healthy and lose weight with these top tips on what to eat when you're feeling a little peckish.
It’s easy to succumb to hunger at around 11:30am and stuff your face with everything in sight. We’ve been there – almost every morning. The problem is, we don’t listen to our bodies closely enough. When they tell us we’re hungry, we don’t take into consideration that we might actually be extremely thirsty (often the case) and when our tummy starts to rumble, we try putting it off instead of giving it what it needs.
So, instead of reaching the point of desperation and eating everything in sight before lunch, try a smart mid-morning snack that will nip your hunger in the bud without completely ruining your appetite. You’ll be surprised at how much a banana or goat’s cheese on rye crackers can help quieten down those belly rumbles.
It’s easy to confuse your body’s signals for thirst and hunger. Before eating, have a glass of water, wait 30 minutes, then see how you feel.
This combo is a great alternative to cereal bars which are often packed with sugar. Berries provide a shot of antioxidants and you can make your own muesli from oats, nuts, dried fruit and seeds.
A cup of soup is a great weight-loss aid – even in the morning. When water is blended with food it stays in the stomach longer and keeps you feeling full. To make your own soften a mix of veg in a little oil, add water, simmer until tender and blend.
This retro diet classic stands the test of time. ‘Rye crackers have a low GI, and you can further slow your appetite by adding cottage cheese, which is a great source of protein,’ says Simon Lovell, author of The Lunch Box Diet.
Packed with good fats and protein, nuts are a sustaining alternative to crisps, which we crave for their crunchiness. Avoid roasted and salted varieties completely, and keep an eye on quantity because of their high fat content. ‘A small handful is a good portion guideline,’ advises Jacqui Lowdon, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association. Or buy a dried-fruit and nut mix, which allows you to eat more.
A piece of fruit should be your first option for a snack. Dieters often choose apples or pears over bananas, but they are a great choice, says Lowdon. ‘Bananas are high in potassium, which will give you an energy boost, and the satisfying starchiness comes from good carbs,’ she adds. Buy kid-size packs and eat when slightly under-ripe – the GI is much lower, so energy is released more slowly.
Lovell loves this satisfyingly chewy, solid protein snack that is low in fat. ‘Buy it from a health food shop if you can as supermarket jerky is high in salt,’ he says.
Chop up a container-load of raw carrots, celery, peppers and broccoli, and you can pick throughout the day. ‘Vegetables are really the only food that you can eat without worrying about the quantity,’ says Lowdon. They are low-calorie, the bulk and fibre will reduce your apetite at mealtimes and they deliver a powerful dose of vitamins.
If you eat put of frustration or boredom, keep a packet of sugar-free gum on your desk. OK, you should deal with the underlying emotional issues but, as Lowdon says, ‘sometimes you just need something in your mouth’. Contrary to popular myth, gum does not stimulate your appetite.
New research is flagging up the benefits of drinking tea. Up to eight cups a day will deliver a level of caffeine that can help improve concentration along with antioxidants that protect against heart disease and other illnesses. Add a dash of milk for a drip of energy.