Switched to a plant-based diet but feel like you’re starving all the time? We could go on and on about the benefits of a plant-based diet (OK fine, we HAVE gone on and on about it before), but we hear from many plant-based beginners struggling with hunger. Is it because a plant-based diet can't fill you up? Heck to the no!
You don't need meat to feel satiated, trust us. Chances are, you just need to look at the types of plant-based foods you're eating and make a few tweaks. Here are 8 pro tips for staying satiated (and happy) on a plant-based diet.
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8 tips for staying satiated on a plant-based diet
Not all plant-based diet foods are created equally, nutritionally speaking. Focus on whole plant-based foods. What is a whole food? Whole plant foods are those that are as close to their state in nature. They are consumed unprocessed and unrefined — or very minimally processed and refined as little as possible.
Think: whole fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
Wondering if you're eating too much vegan junk (which can lead to hunger quickly thereafter)? Take this quiz.
Want to eat more whole plant foods, but need help getting started? Order the MamaSezz Get Me Started Bundle.
Did you know eating too much salt can actually cause us to overeat? Unless you've been advised to do so by your medical team, you don't need to cut out salt completely, but Americans eat way, way, way too much of it, which can lead to high blood pressure.
image from HelloNutritarian.com
Cutting oil can not only lead to healthy weight loss, but can help you fill up on more nutrient-dense foods instead. Oil is technically a processed food and has been stripped of its fiber. It's high in calories and fat, and low in nutrients and it doesn't take up much space in our stomaches, which can lead us to over consume calories without realizing it.
Get up to speed on how to cook without oil here.
Are you eating enough fiber? While we often worry about getting enough protein, 97% of Americans are actually fiber-deficient.
Remember those whole foods we talked about earlier? Eating more of those will for sure up your fiber intake. (By the way fiber is only naturally found in plant foods.)
Why will high fiber foods help keep you satiated? They take longer to digest than refined foods which have been stripped of their fiber. This means you feel full longer (it's also great for your blood sugar and digestion).
At least 8 8-oz glasses of water a day! Are you hungry or are you thirsty? Sometimes they can feel the same. A good rule of thumb: Drink two glasses of water and wait a few minutes to see if you're still hungry.
Planning out your meals is a great way to ensure you're not only getting enough food, but that you're getting enough of the good stuff (high fiber, whole foods!) that will keep you full and happy. It's also a good strategy to avoid eating junk/whatever's around, which can leave you feeling less satiated the end.
Don't want to cook? Our MamaSezz Get Me Started bundle is ideal for plant-based beginners. It comes with hearty plant-based meals to heat and eat, plus a suggested meal plan. Order your MamaSezz Get Me Started Bundle now.
Next time you find yourself in the kitchen hankering for a snack, ask yourself, am I hungry or just bored?
Not sure? Here's a good way to find the answer: does an apple sound good?
If an apple does NOT sound good right now, you're not really hungry. If an apple sounds great, honor that hunger cue and enjoy that delicious, crisp, nutrient-packed apple!
If snacking mindlessly when you're not actually hungry is a problem for you, no worries — try one of these tips for keeping mindless snacking at bay.
8. Get your hormones in check
If you're doing all the above and still find that you're always hungry (and even struggling to lose weight because of it), it may be hormonal. Specifically, you could be leptin resistant.
Leptin is a hormone that tells your brain whether you have enough fat stored to maintain your energy. When all is working well, leptin keeps you from starving or overeating. But if you're struggling with leptin resistance, your brain may not be getting the signal that you've had enough. Here's more info on how hormones could be affecting your eating habits (and what to do about it).
A plant-based diet can help you prevent and reverse chronic disease, lose weight, sleep better, live longer. But all of that doesn't mean much if you're hangry all the time! Struggling to feel satiated on a plant-based diet? These 8 tips will keep you full and happy:.
- Eat more whole foods and fewer processed ones.
- Ditch the salt.
- Cook without oil.
- Eat lots of fiber.
- Drink a lot of water.
- Plan your meals (Don't want to cook? Get plant-based meals and suggested meal plans delivered with the MamaSezz Get Me Started meal bundle.)
- Make sure you're actually hungry before you snack.
- Get your hormones in check.
By Ali Brown
Ali is a mom, wife, and nutrition and lifestyle writer and editor. She has her Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.