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5 reasons you're always hungry

5 reasons you're always hungry

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Certain eating habits lead to constant hunger. Constant hunger causes uncontrolled eating, followed by weight gain, and in the end, results in overall diet frustration. Consider the following eating habits you may have fallen into, and make a change to control your hunger instead of letting it control you.

You skimp on breakfast.

Your morning meal should provide 20 to 25 percent of your total calories for the day. Since the average person needs 1,600 to 2,000 calories to maintain their weight, breakfast should be between 400 and 500 calories.

A sustaining breakfast should include whole grains, 10 to 20 grams of lean protein, healthy fat, and a high fiber fruit or vegetable. My favorite 400-calorie breakfast is:

½ cup of rolled oats, cooked with 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts for a healthy dose of Omega-3 fatty acids. Top it with cinnamon, ½ cup of low-fat milk, and ½ cup of berries or a banana.

You are eating too much at night.

If you are not hungry in the morning, and a full breakfast sounds overwhelming, you are eating too much at night. People who skip meals during the day are hungrier at night. That means it’s easy to eat too much at dinner and with nighttime snacking, which leads to weight gain over time. To break this cycle, start with one or two slices of whole-grain toast in the morning, add a morning snack and so forth until nighttime eating is under control, and you’re eating a balanced breakfast.

You go too long between meals.

Eating every two to three hours maintains our energy levels and keeps hunger controlled. That allows us to make more mindful decisions about what we should eat. To stay focused on your work, instead of what is in the office break room, eat within 90 minutes of waking up, and follow that with nutritious meals and snacks about every two to three hours.

You eat too many processed foods.

Choose quality whole-grains, fruits and vegetables and incorporate more protein and fiber into your diet. This slows digestion, keeping you full longer. Processed, enriched carbohydrates contain the same amount of calories as whole-grain versions, but they digest more rapidly, leaving us hungry and looking for more.

Your diet is too low in fat.

In our efforts to eat healthy, fat can get lost as fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins fill up our plates. Fat is what makes us feel full, so a diet too low in fat leaves us never fully satisfied. Combine healthy fats into your meals and snacks. Examples include:

» 2 tablespoons guacamole, in place of salsa, with one serving of corn chips.

» Avoid the office candy jar by packing 10 whole cashews with five dried apricots to work for an indulgent afternoon treat.

» Add 1-2 tablespoons of ground flax to your morning cereal or yogurt for a boost of inflammation-fighting Omega-3 fatty acids.

» Since butter is high in cholesterol and saturated fat, dip your bread in 1 tablespoon of olive oil for heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.

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