Craving ice cream? Cookies? Chocolate? What about Crisps?
You sometimes find it hard to control your food cravings, especially in the evening. At night, after school or work, you’re bored, probably watching TV and feel like snacking on something right?
Food cravings are killers when you want to lose weight. The good news is there are some ways to reduce your appetite towards these unhealthy foods that make you gain weight!
Here are 4 tricks that help you control your appetite during the day and reduce your foods cravings at night:
Trick #1- Pump Up Your Morning Protein
Having a protein rich breakfast affects the drive to eat later in the day, when you’re more likely to crave high sugar or fatty foods and snacks. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who ate a protein rich breakfast had improved satiety and snacked less on unhealthy stuff at night compared to those who skipped breakfast or had ready to eat cereals.
A protein rich breakfast reduces your cravings for foods by regulating your key appetite hormones: it reduces ghrelin, your hunger hormone and increases Peptide YY, your satiety hormone.
Make it Work: Reduce your desire to eat at night by having 20g of protein for breakfast. This can be done by adding 1 scoop of whey protein powder to your oats or having 3-4 eggwhites!
Trick #2- Eat Frequently
Not eating regularly or skipping meals was shown to cause food cravings. How? When your body doesn’t get foods at regular intervals throughout the day, your blood sugar levels drop; this drop is associated with food cravings, especially for sugary stuff.
Consuming 1 or 2 big meals a day was shown to cause quick rises and falls in blood sugar levels, while eating small frequent meals was found to help in maintaining your blood sugar levels steady; keeping you away from food cravings!
Make it Work: Don’t skip meals. Have your breakfast within one hour of waking up. Then try eating every 2-3 hours to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
Did you know that snacking on nuts reduces your appetite? Nuts have protein, fat, and fibers. Foods combining these 3 nutrients together were found to provide the greatest satiety. A study published in the International journal of Obesity concluded that people who snacked on almonds had better satiety levels than those who snacked on granola bars or other carby snacks.
Make it Work: Buy some almonds, walnuts, pecan, macademia or brazilin nuts. Choose unsalted, plain and natural ones. Keep some in your drawer or your bag. But make sure you consume a handful, not the full pack. Nuts are very healthy but they’re high in calories and can make you gain weight if you eat a lot of them!
Trick #4- Sleep at Least 6 Hours
Not getting enough sleep is highly correlated with food cravings! How? Little sleep disturbs your appetite hormones. It increases your ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates hunger and reduces leptin, the hormone that tells your brain you’re full and to stop eating. A study published in PLOS Medicine pinpointed that disturbance in leptin and ghrelin levels increases appetite resulting in increased cravings for food throughout the day.
Make it Work: Sleep for at least 6 hours every night to keep your key appetite hormones under control!
Fromentin, G., Darcel, N., et al. Peripheral and Central Mechanisms Involved in the Control of Food Intake by Dietary Amino Acids and Proteins. Nutrition Research Reviews. 2012. Published Ahead of Print
La Bounty, Paul M., et al. “International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: meal frequency.” J Int Soc Sports Nutr 8.4 (2011).
Leidy, Heather J., et al. “Beneficial effects of a higher-protein breakfast on the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals controlling energy intake regulation in overweight/obese,“breakfast-skipping,” late-adolescent girls.” The American journal of clinical nutrition (2013).
Taheri, Shahrad, et al. “Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index.” PLoS medicine 1.3 (2004): 62.
Wien, M. A., et al. “Almonds vs complex carbohydrates in a weight reduction program.” International journal of obesity 27.11 (2003): 1365-1372.