Do you ever eat a healthy lunch only to find yourself starving by 3 p.m.? You’re not alone. This a common frustration I hear from my clients, and in most cases, the explanation is the same: The meal was missing at least one key element that plays a major role in satiety, satisfaction, and energy. Luckily there’s an easy fix: Use my simple formula for crafting meals that stave off hunger—but don’t leave you feeling over-stuffed or sluggish. I’ve also included five simple examples that fit the bill below.
1. Add fiber-rich veggies
I highly recommend working veggies into every meal (even breakfast!). They’re nutritious, full of antioxidants, provide very few calories per portion, and are packed with fiber—which is filling because it takes up space in your digestive system. Fiber also slows digestion, which means you’ll have a steadier supply of energy over a longer period of time.
For breakfast, veggies can be added to an omelet, whipped into a smoothie, or eaten as a side. Many of my clients even enjoy salad at breakfast (dressed with citrus vinaigrette), or a serving of raw veggies that act as a palate cleanser at the end of the meal. All veggies provide some fiber, but a few top sources include artichokes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and kale.
2. Choose lean protein
Aside from boosting metabolism, lean protein also wards off hunger better than carbs and fat, according to research. Be sure to include a lean source (think eggs, seafood, poultry, or Greek yogurt) in each meal. If you’re vegan, reach for pulses—the umbrella term for lentils, beans, and peas, like chickpeas and black eyed peas.