Do you start thinking about your next meal within an hour of finishing your last? Instead of suffering through gnawing hunger or diving into an impromptu cheeseburger and fries, try one of these five waist-friendly, appetite-crushing foods instead.
Blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, you name it—any berry will work. Their secret? They pack a triple threat. Not only do berries contain belly-filling fiber, but they’re also low in calories—you can munch on an entire cup of any of these berries for under 100 calories—and they contain a phytonutrient that increases fat metabolism. Want a treat? Sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar over a cup of berries. Let sit for 5 minutes then drizzle with several tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Research shows it will help you to eat less. Here’s why: The broth fills your stomach with lots of liquid while the vegetables fill your stomach with fiber, which slows digestion, so you don’t feel hungry moments after you’ve eaten it. The most hunger-proofing minestrone soups also contain beans. Beans rank high on the satiety chart thanks to their high fiber and protein content.
Build the Perfect Soup
At just about 75 calories each, eggs are packed with appetite-controlling protein that will keep you satisfied, helping you to avoid bingeing later in the day. In fact, research shows eating two eggs for breakfast reduces calorie intake over the next 24 hours. (Note: If you have high cholesterol or have heart disease or are at risk for it, you should limit your egg yolk consumption.) In a hurry? Hard-boil your eggs on the weekend, so you can eat them on the go with a piece of fruit.
Olives are a source of good-for-you unsaturated fat. Foods that are high in fat take longer to digest, which leaves you feeling satisfied longer. A little goes a long way. Look for travel-sized half-cup servings of olives that are great on the go and will keep hunger at bay. Team it with a low-fat string cheese. You can also add a couple of teaspoons of chopped olives to salads and sandwiches at lunch to kiss afternoon insatiability good-bye.
Just one cup packs a whopping 4.3 grams of fiber for just 41 calories. People who consume spinach during a meal feel much more satisfied that those who abstain, according to a recent study. One possible reason? Spinach is a voluminous veggie that helps to fill the stomach. (Related: 12 Ways to Volumize Your Meals) If you want to eat steamed spinach during the workday but didn’t bring leftovers, simply place spinach and a teaspoon of water in a microwaveable bowl. Cover tightly and microwave until the spinach starts to wilt—usually 30 seconds to 2 minutes depending on your microwave. Or, sprinkle spinach with a teaspoon of Parmesan and use it as a salad base or in soups or stews. Add it to minestrone soup for a super appetite suppressor.
Tammy Lakatos Shames and Elysse “Lyssie” Lakatos—otherwise known as the Nutrition Twins—are registered dieticians, certified personal trainers and authors of Fire Up Your Metabolism: 9 Proven Principles for Burning Fat and Losing Weight Forever.