You’re at work and then suddenly you hear something—your stomach. The familiar sound of your stomach grumbling is a regular occurrence for many of us halfway through the day. This is especially true for many of us on a diet, when our brain thinks your body is consistently hungry and kicks into survival mode. This is one of the easiest ways to derail a diet. Here are a few ways to prevent those mid-day food cravings.
1. Eat Breakfast
There’s a reason why breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Skipping breakfast is a guaranteed way to develop hunger pains. Hunger pains usually develop 12 to 24 hours after the last ingestion of food. So, if you skip breakfast, you’re almost guaranteed to experience some intense hunger pains by lunch time, which will likely lead to snacking and binging later on in the day.
2. Drink lots of water
3. Eat protein
Studies have shown that eating protein-rich foods can also suppress ghrelin levels, meaning that they help create a long-term feeling of fullness. An easy way to do this is by adding whey protein to your morning low-calorie smoothie.
4. Stick to a regular eating routine
Research has also shown that these ghrelin levels rise and fall during your usual eating times. This means that sticking to a schedule will prevent ghrelin levels from spiking and causing you to eat more than you should. If you find yourself unable to eat at your usual lunch time, bring a bag of nuts with you to tide yourself over until you can eat a proper lunch.
5. Don’t skip lunch
Most of the food we eat gets converted into glucose, which provides us with the energy we need to get through the day. However, after a few hours, our blood sugar drops and our liver tells the brain it’s time to eat again. This is why it’s absolutely crucial that you don’t skip lunch because if you do, by mid-afternoon your gas tank will be empty and you will have barely enough mental or physical energy to finish off your work day.
6. Consume more complex carbs
Insulin and ghrelin work in sync with each other. When insulin goes up after you eat, your ghrelin levels go down. If you eat the ‘bad’ kind of refined carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta, your blood sugar rises dramatically. This causes your body to release a surge of insulin to clear that sugar from the bloodstream. The insulin does its job very efficiently, and the resulting low blood sugar causes hunger sooner.
7. Drink tea or coffee
The warmth of these two hot drinks has been found to soothe your belly and help ease those stomach pains. Just make sure you don’t make matters worse by adding sugar to your tea and coffee—you’re only adding extra calories.