Hungry again? It’s not just you; as it turns out, feeling hungry all of the time is more common than you might think. These cravings don’t just disrupt our eating habits and food budgets, but they can also become highly frustrating and inconvenient.
In the UK, Google searches for “most filling low-calorie foods” have spiked by 250% in the past week, highlighting a rising interest in foods that keep us full for longer. This could reflect that Brits are feeling hungrier during the winter months, a time when colder weather and reduced daylight may influence cravings.
A UK-registered nutritionist from the meal-box delivery service Green Chef, Anna Tebbs, comments: “Persistent hunger serves as a crucial warning, indicating potential lifestyle and dietary imbalances that, if unaddressed, can not only disrupt daily energy, focus, and productivity but also pose risks to long-term physical and mental health.
“Constantly feeling this way is a reminder to check how our body’s needs align with our daily routines. Fixing this isn’t just about stopping the hunger; it’s a crucial step towards a healthier, more balanced life. When we understand and address why we’re always hungry, we can regain control and prevent feeling unnecessarily hungry.”
To help you combat these cravings, Anna Tebbs recommends these tips to help curb that persistent hunger:
1. Inadequate water intake
Dehydration can often be mistaken for hunger, as the body may interpret thirst as a need for food. To address this, make a conscious effort to stay hydrated by drinking around eight glasses of water a day. Additionally, incorporate hydrating foods like water-rich fruits and vegetables into your diet.
2. Lack of protein in the diet
Protein plays a crucial role in maintaining a feeling of fullness. Ensure you include a varied range of lean protein sources in your diet, such as chicken, fish, beans, nuts, and tofu. This not only helps control hunger but also provides essential nutrients for overall health.
3. Low-fibre diet
Fibre adds bulk to meals and promotes a sense of fullness. Opt for whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables to increase your fibre intake. Not only does this aid in satiety, but it also supports digestive health.
4. Mindful snacking
Avoid reaching for less nutritious snacks out of boredom or habit. Instead, choose nutrient-dense options such as fruit, nuts, or legumes, and pay attention to portion sizes. Practising mindful snacking can help regulate your appetite and contribute to a healthier approach to eating throughout the day.
5. Stress and emotional eating
For some of us, stress can lead to emotional eating, typically involving high-calorie comfort foods. Combat stress by practising effective stress management techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation.
6. Not enough fat in the diet
Healthy fats contribute to a feeling of satiety and support various bodily functions. Incorporate sources of healthy fats, such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil, into your diet for a balanced and satisfying approach to eating.
7. Over-reliance on refined carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates can cause rapid spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, leading to increased hunger. Opt for complex carbohydrates like whole grains, quinoa, and sweet potatoes to provide sustained energy and help regulate appetite.
8. Skipping meals
Skipping meals disrupts the body’s natural hunger and fullness cues, often leading to overeating later in the day. Plan regular, balanced meals and consider incorporating healthy snacks to avoid prolonged gaps between meals. This helps stabilise blood sugar levels and promotes more consistent energy throughout the day.
9. Lack of physical activity
Sedentary lifestyles can contribute to increased feelings of hunger. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week to not only support overall health but also help regulate appetite and promote a healthy metabolism.