Trying to curb cravings can be a task that often leaves you feeling defeated and leads to the derailment of healthy eating goals. Finding ways to suppress these unwelcome, but frequent, cravings can be a challenge. While synthetic appetite suppressants are flooding the diet marketplace, they can also be dangerous and harmful to your health. We turned to health experts to help us compile a list of the 20 healthiest, best appetite suppressants and filling low-calorie snacks to keep the hunger monster in your belly under control.
1. Drink more water. Adequate hydration is necessary to any weight loss program. It helps flush toxins that have been stored in fat. Thirst may actually be perceived as hunger, so when you feel hungry between meals, drink some water.
2. Eat more protein. Protein helps keep you feel fuller longer than carbohydrates do. Also, having adequate protein is a signal to your body to burn fat as its primary energy source. Check out 10 protein-rich foods to add to your diet and browse our recipe index for skinny meals high in protein, like this Southwestern Hasselback Chicken!
3. Meditate. Research also backs up the use of meditation for both weight loss and appetite control as meditation can train the mind to be self-aware and not automatically react to habitual patterns like emotional eating. Instead, training the brain to stay in tune to the body's real hunger sensations allows for weight management.
4. Drink green tea. Unlike unhealthy things that may suppress your appetite — such as diet soda — green tea will not make you hungry later. It works in a natural way and also has the added benefit of boosting your metabolism. Try our Detox Green Tea for a delicious health boost!
5. Eat eggs for breakfast. Research has shown that eating eggs makes you feel fuller, which cuts back on short-term snacking throughout the rest of the morning. Gear up in the morning with our Avocado Egg Scramble, Breakfast Stuffed Peppers or Skinny Pepper and Onion Frittata.
6. Get more mint. That tingly feeling can be a pick-me-up, but it's also a strong taste that discourages you from eating (and it can interfere with the smell-craving association), which is why many people advise brushing your teeth after you eat to stop post-meal snacking.
7. Talk. Unless you're impolite, you're less likely to talk with your mouth full, so engaging in conversation can pull us away from eating until we stuff ourselves. Try this at a party or social engagement where you're tempted by unhealthy foods.
8. Eat your fruits and vegetables. You hear this enough, but it’s important to note that fruits and vegetables are fibrous and healthy and can be a low-calorie way to address hunger for an hour or so.
9. Orgasm. An orgasm can be a brain reboot and gives pleasure through something other than food, which can suppress your appetite short-term. So, if you needed an excuse… there you have it.
10. Take natural collagen supplements. High protein supplements of collagen provide a feeling of fullness in the stomach. This feeling lasts for several hours after consumption.
11. Eat chia seeds. In the stomach, chia forms a gel which coats the stomach and provides a feeling of fullness that lasts for several hours. Add them to salads or smoothies for easy consumption like Green Monster Smoothie or Skinny Blackberry Banana Smoothie!
12. Avoid insulin spikes. Insulin at normal levels is absolutely necessary, but at elevated levels, insulin promotes fat gain, inflammation and indirectly causes hunger. In order to control your insulin levels and appetite, you need to control your carbohydrate intake. Start your day with a minimal amount of carbohydrates (five grams or less) coupled with adequate protein, allowing your body to burn fat for fuel.
13. Exercise. Data suggests exercise is a natural appetite suppressant. Plus, who wants to ruin all that hard work in the gym with fattening foods that lack nutritional benefits? Get results quick using our fitness index and fat-burning, calorie-torching workouts!
14. Don’t skip meals. Skipping meals slows your metabolism and leaves you feeling unsatisfied and more likely to overindulge later.
15. Eat in regular intervals: This goes hand-in hand with the tip above. The best meal and snack pattern to help you control your appetite is one that has three meals each day with 1-3 snacks spread out throughout the day. The trick with this pattern is to not allow too long of a time interval to go by which will leave you feeling famished. A plan like this is easy on your metabolism and doesn't send you into starvation mode, which throws your metabolism into absolute whack.
16. Eat slower. Slow down your eating. It takes your stomach approximately 20 minutes to register to your brain that it's full, so slow down your eating pace. Also, while you're eating and enjoying your food, think about how full you're beginning to feel and focus on that satisfied feeling rather than mindlessly noshing away!
17. Fiber up. Foods that contain natural fiber also have a filling quality that helps you feel full and satisfied with less food. Examples include whole-grain bread products and cereals, oatmeal, fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, peas and lentils.
>> Read more: 12 High Fiber Foods to Keep You Full + Fit!
18. Eat more healthy unsaturated fats. Healthy unsaturated fats are good for the body as they contribute to lowering your cholesterol and your risk of heart disease. They also are slow for the body to digest, keeping you fuller longer. Create a snack with nuts, nut butters or avocados to keep you full, like Skinny Blueberry and Almond Trail Mix or Skinny Avocado Tuna Salad.
19. Eat water-rich foods. Another way to feel full, stay hydrated, and get plenty of water in your diet is through water-rich foods. These include celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, melons (cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon), peaches and oranges.
20. Eat almonds. Eating 1.5 ounces of almonds daily curbs hunger without increasing calorie intake or body weight. When eaten as a snack, almonds were proven to significantly reduce desire to eat without increasing calorie intake or body weight due to spontaneous energy compensation.
Contributors: Josh Anderson, AFAA Certified Personal Fitness Trainer | Anna Beyde, Consumer Foods | Francy Pillo-Blocka RD, FDC, Consultant, Thick and Thin Enterprises | Dr. Ramani Durvasula | Max Highstein MA in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica in Los Angeles | Jenn Lotz, Yuma Regional Medical Center | Dr. Donald Strong, M.D. Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine | Jackie Vanover, CHHC, AADP, Certified Pilates Instructor | Carol Wasserman, Certified Holistic Health Practitioner