We all know that getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, and getting plenty of exercise are the gold standards when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and body weight. But sometimes, no matter how hard we try, our appetites get the best of us. How can you possibly eat well when all you’re thinking about is that carton of leftover Chinese food in the fridge, or that bag of potato chips on the counter? Experts have long suggested keeping a food diary to track your eating habits, or locking tempting foods away in a cupboard. But who has the time to keep a journal, and how effective is a lock when you still have the key? Luckily, though, there are plenty of scientifically proven, and far less time-consuming, ways to keep your appetite on track. Read on to discover ways to control your hunger. Have a tip of your own? Tell us about it in the comments!
See Also: 5 Foods That Are Healthier Cooked
1. Eat an Apple Before Meals.
An apple a day just might keep your appetite at bay. A study in the journal Appetite found that people who ate an apple before meals went on to consume 187 fewer calories. Not only are apples rich in ultra-filling fiber, but they’re also chewy — something that has been linked to increased fullness.
2. Drink Tea & Wait 30 Minutes.
Whether it’s because of emotions, stress, or even boredom, so many of us are prone to eating when we’re not necessarily hungry. But instead of reaching for those cookies or potato chips, one study in the journal Psychopharmacology suggests reaching for black tea. After drinking the stuff, researchers found that participants experienced a 47% drop in the cravings-inducing hormone cortisol. Drink the tea, wait 30 minutes, and see if you’re still hungry before grabbing a snack.
3. Eat a Good Breakfast.
Skipping breakfast might sound like an easy way to cut calories, but studies have shown that the opposite is often true. Eating breakfast has been linked to increased fullness and fewer food cravings throughout the day. In particular, breakfasts rich in lean protein will keep you feeling full for longer — even longer, in fact, than the same meal would later in the day.
4. Reach for the Right Foods.
All foods are not created equal; 100 calories of oatmeal will fill you up much more than 100 calories of potato chips. The trick, then, is to reach for the most filling foods out there. Foods rich in fiber and lean protein are safe bets — beans, lentils, nuts, potatoes with the skin on, popcorn, oranges, and soups will keep your belly feeling full.
More: 5 Places You Can’t Visit
5. Walk Around the Block.
Instead of reaching for unhealthy snacks, go out for a 15 minute walk. One study found that people who took a short walk before eating chocolate ate half of the calories the non-walkers did.
6. Smell It.
Even just smelling a pleasant aroma can satisfy your craving. Vanilla and orange have been linked to decreased cravings for sugary snacks. Jasmine has been linked to a lower interest in chocolate. One study linked regular sniffs of peppermint to a decreased interest in food, too. Foods that have very strong smells also tend to lead people to eat less of them.