There can be little doubt that hunger causes many a determined dieter to fall off the slimming wagon. However, pick the right fill-you-up foods and you can gain all the goodness of a healthy diet without the nagging need for a snack or treat, thereby shifting those excess pounds more quickly and easily.
Keep your protein lean
Protein is essential if you want to keep hunger at bay, and the lean variety does the job without the saturated fat of red meat. Choose chicken, turkey, or even the nutritional wonder that is an egg, to stave off hunger pangs. Fish fanatics should take in a healthy serving of oily fish, with omega-3 fatty acids that help to stop that tummy rumbling. A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that fish fans not only felt fuller than their beef-eating counterparts, they also consumer 75 fewer calories at the next meal. Beans and pulses are the perfect veggie alternative.
Stock up on soup
Soup makes for a surprisingly filling meal, and if you stick to the stock-based, vegetable-heavy varieties, you can even include two low-calorie soups in your daily diet. And they're a great starter choice if you're out for dinner or worried about overdoing your evening meal, as a study of 53 overweight adults revealed those who had soup before a meal ate 20 per cent less when it came to the solids.
Let wholegrains fill a hole
Wholegrains are not only associated with a reduced risk of a host of chronic illnesses like heart disease and type 2 diabetes, they will keep you feeling full much longer than the refined variety. Oats, for example, not only release energy slowly to stop you reaching for the snacks midmorning, they contain a fibre compound called beta-glucan, which helps the body to release CCK, a helpful hunger-suppressing hormone.
Add colour to your plate
It's no secret that most of us should be eating more fruit and veg, but slimmers could seriously benefit from consuming a wide variety. Loaded with fibre and water but low in calories, you can eat a sizeable portion of fruit and veg without worrying about piling on the pounds, and the greater the variety, the more likely you are to feel full. Green and orange veggies, for example, contain about 90 per cent water, keeping you happily satisfied. Try filling your plate with 50 per cent veg, and a quarter each of whole grains and lean protein for a fabulous meal without the fat.
Snacking all too often proves a dieter's downfall, largely because the easy option is a bag of crisps that does little to silence a rumbling tummy. While fruit and veg are the ideal choice, if they're not on hand, try choosing rice cakes instead of crisps or biscuits, as the air in these will make you feel full but with fewer calories. Alternatively, go for a handful of unsalted nuts - their mix of fibre, protein and fat will get rid of food cravings, and they may even increase metabolism, potentially speeding up weight loss as you eat.
What foods have you found fill you up without weighing you down? Leave your comments below...