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The Secret to Busting Cravings

Imagine a world in which you can be surrounded by food and have the ability to manage your appetite and push past your cravings. Perhaps even eat fewer calories and not feel hungry all day long. Sound like a pipe dream? It’s not! By learning how to harness the power of the two most satiating nutrients, it’s possible to eat less, feel satisfied, and ultimately control your cravings and even lose weight. By combining the power of protein with the force of fiber you can arm yourself with a two-punch strategy to fight cravings.

The Protein + Fiber Double Whammy. Protein is a powerful nutrient for managing your hunger and weight. Of all the macronutrients, protein is the nutrient that makes you feel the fullest, and simple carbs (that’s sugar!) are the least filling. 

Fiber is not far behind protein in terms of satiating strength. Fiber not only takes longer to digest, but the digestion process produces hunger-taming hormones that send signals to your brain to suppress your appetite

How to Create Hunger-Busting Meals. Getting the right balance of protein and fiber doesn’t mean you need to load your dinner plate with meat or eat a big bowl of bran every morning. To really tap into the feelings of fullness on offer, you need to include protein and fiber-rich foods at each meal and spread the nutrients throughout your day. It’s smart to aim for about 25 to 30 grams of protein at each meal, which for most means adding a bit more protein to breakfast and lunch, and eating slightly less protein at dinner. 

When it comes to fiber, aim for at least 25 grams a day if you’re a woman, and 38 grams if you’re a man, spread throughout your meals and snacks each day—that’s at least 5 to 10 grams of fiber per meal. You can easily track your numbers using the food logging feature in the Fitbit app.

Wondering how to translate nutrients into real food on your plate? Top protein-packed foods include chicken, fish, meat, beans, tofu, dairy products, eggs, nuts, and whole grains. And plants deliver the most fiber, so reaching for whole grains like barley and oats, fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, and legumes can help reduce hunger cravings between meals. 

Here are 14 tasty ways to tame your appetite. 

Breakfast ideas: 400–500 calories, 25–30 g protein, at least 5 g fiber

  • Creamy Apple Overnight Oats: ½ cup oats, 1 cup low-fat milk, 1 cup chopped apple, 3 chopped walnuts, ½ tsp cinnamon, 6 oz low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • Cheese & Mushroom Omelette: 2 large eggs, 1½ oz low-fat cheddar cheese, 1 cup sautéed mushrooms, served with ½ avocado, sliced, and 1 to 2 pieces of whole-wheat toast
  • Breakfast Burrito: 1 whole-wheat tortilla filled with 1 scrambled egg, ½ cup black beans, sautéed peppers, and ¼ avocado, sliced, topped with 3 tbsp shredded cheese
  • Mango-Coconut Smoothie: 1 cup frozen mango, 1 cup low-fat milk, 6 oz low-fat plain Greek yogurt, 1 tbsp chia seeds, and 1 tsp coconut oil

Lunch and dinner ideas: 300–500 calories, 25–30 g protein, at least 5 g fiber

  • Turkey Burger: 3-oz turkey burger patty with sliced tomato, a generous handful of arugula, and 1 tablespoon of mashed avocado, served on a whole-grain bun
  • Chickpea Salad: 1 cup chickpeas, tossed with 1 cup mixed greens, balsamic vinegar, and 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, topped with 1½ oz crumbled feta cheese
  • Lox & Cream Cheese Bagel: 3 oz smoked salmon, on a whole-wheat bagel smeared with 2 tablespoons cream cheese, topped with sliced tomato and red onion, and 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • Steak with Classic Sides: 3-oz lean sirloin steak with  2 cups roasted asparagus sprinkled with 1 tablespoon sesame seeds and served with 3 roasted rosemary new potatoes
  • Chicken & Pasta: 3-oz skinless, boneless chicken breast strips, mixed into a spicy ratatouille pasta sauce and served over 1 cup whole-wheat pasta

Snack ideas: Approximately 200 calories, 10–20 g protein

  • ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese with 4 mini whole-wheat crackers and 1 cup carrot sticks for dipping
  • A hard-boiled egg served on 1 slice of whole-grain toast with sliced tomato
  • 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt topped with raspberries
  • 1 oz almonds with a low-fat mozzarella cheese stick
  • Chocolate banana smoothie made with cocoa and unsweetened soy milk

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