Fighting the Urge
Ice cream or cookies? Chocolate or chardonnay? French fries or potato chips?
Nearly everyone gets that “gotta have it” feeling at some point. In fact, a survey published in the journal Appetite, found that 97% of women and 68% of men experience food cravings — often for high-calorie sweet, salty or fat-rich snacks.
The good news is that instead of caving to your cravings, you can fight back! Here are five foods that will fill you up, quell your hunger and keep you from blowing your calorie budget.
When it comes to cravings, the simple egg may be your best friend. That’s because eggs rank high on the “satiety index,” a scale that scores foods based on how full they make you feel.
A large egg has just 78 calories, but packs 6 grams of filling protein. What’s more, research shows that adding eggs to your diet may help you lose weight and feel fuller for longer. One study found that eating a turkey sausage and egg breakfast sandwich instead of a low-protein pancake breakfast helped people control their appetite and eat fewer calories at lunch.
If eggs aren’t your best friend, oats can help you battle your cravings. Oats have a type of fiber called beta-glucan that research shows can slow digestion, boost satiety and suppress appetite.
It’s not surprising that oatmeal was ranked as the most satiating breakfast food on the satiety index. Enjoy oats by keeping them simple: Skip the added sugar and instead pump up the flavor by topping with nuts and fresh fruit.
An apple a day may keep the doctor away — but one study found that three small apples a day can lead to significant weight loss. With just 75 calories and 3.5 grams of fiber, the mighty apple can keep hunger at bay. A study reported in the journal Appetite found that women who added three small apples to their diet each day lost a little more than two pounds in 10 weeks.
Apples also contain a compound called ursolic acid that may help to boost lean muscle mass. Researchers from the University of Iowa found that animals given ursolic acid supplements increased their muscle mass and burned more calories.
Pistachios are a powerful ally in the quest to beat cravings. They may be tiny, but they pack both fiber and protein in each shell — 49 pistachios have just 160 calories and 6 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. Pistachios contain fewer calories and more potassium and vitamin K per serving than any other nut.
Studies show that they top many traditional snack foods such as pretzels, chips, cereal bars and chips for satiety and nutrition and can help control weight and appetite.
If you’re a vegan, there’s even more good news about pistachios. A recent study found that pistachios are one of the few vegan sources of complete protein — meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids for building protein.
Next time you feel the urge to munch, crack open some pistachio shells. You can even find seasoned nuts, if you’re craving chip flavor. Pronutz, for example, offers seasoned pistachios with added probiotics.
Juicy and delicious, mangoes don’t just satisfy your taste for something sweet, they can also help you stay slim. Their diet-friendly power may be due to one of their bioactive compounds, mangiferin, which studies show may help control blood sugar and reduce body fat.
Mangoes are not only delicious, but they’re also diet-friendly. A study in the Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences suggests that mango-eaters weighed less and had better diets than those who missed out on mangoes. This stone fruit contains many bioactive ingredients, including mangiferin.
One cup of mango has just 100 calories and 3 grams of filling fiber. For a perfect filling snack, top a half-cup of non-fat Greek yogurt with mango cubes.
5 Healthy Foods to Fight Cravings:
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