Does the holiday season have your clients feeling a little more Ho-Ho-Hungry? With all of the parties, family gatherings and cookie swaps on the calendar, it’s easy to go overboard and eat more than normal. After all, everything just looks so good! Your clients don’t have to skip the festivities to keep the pounds from piling on. They just need to be armed with a few tricks and tips that will help them feel fuller faster (try saying that five times fast) so they can enjoy what they’re eating without having to switch to stretchy pants.
TIP #1: Get Your Sleep
It's no surprise that appetite runs wild at this time of the year. Increased stress and lack of sleep alter hormones that affect hunger and fullness. Ghrelin, the hormone that tells you that you’re hungry, increases after a night of poor sleep. Couple that with a decrease in leptin, the hormone that tells you that you’re full and it’s a double whammy for overeating! That’s why logging enough sleep is so vital at this time of the year. Long days working, followed by late nights partying and even later nights checking email and surfing the net will definitely cut into valuable sleep time. Encourage your clients to power down the electronics at night and stick to a bedtime that will ensure at least 7.5 hours of sleep. Taking in supplemental magnesium will also help with stress and sleep.
TIP #2: Stay Hydrated
Your clients may not realize it, but their constant hunger pangs may actually be a sign that they’re dehydrated. Plus, studies show that drinking a full glass of water before a meal can help them to consume 75 to 90 fewer calories at that meal. A belly full of water leaves less room for food and offers a quicker path to satiety. Green tea is another stellar beverage choice, as it is full of EGCG, an antioxidant that can help boost metabolism and weight loss.
TIP #3: Power Up With Protein
High-protein diets are still getting plenty of attention, as there are studies that show they can help with muscle development and improve satiety. There is little consensus, however, as to how much protein your clients should be consuming a day. The minimum amount needed for sedentary adults to prevent a deficiency is 0.8 gram per kilogram of body weight (0.36 grams per pound of body weight) per day. We feel that this is too little protein to be eating and prefer a range of 0.55–1.0 gram per pound of body weight a day.
Getting enough protein from clean sources is so important because sufficient protein increases satiety, thermogenesis and energy efficiency, and improves body composition. The best sources of protein include hormone- and antibiotic-free chicken and turkey, grass-fed beef, wild omega-3-rich fish (Alaskan salmon, Pacific halibut, mackerel, herring, sardines, tuna), eggs, beans, lentils, organic tofu and edamame, and organic dairy products (milk, yogurt, cottage cheese).
TIP #4: Fill Up on Fiber
Fiber is the structural part of plant foods that cannot be digested. Because they take longer for your body to break down, digest and absorb, their extended time in your GI tract impacts satiety. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds are all excellent sources of dietary fiber (and unrefined carbohydrates) and should be included in every meal and snack. Some fiber-rich foods of note include chia and ground flax seeds. When these seeds are combined with fluid, they form a gelatinous-like mixture that delays gastric emptying, keeping your clients full for much longer. Additionally, both of these seeds contain anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and anti-cancer fibers, called lignans. If your client is currently consuming a lower-fiber diet, he or she should gradually increase fiber intake over the course of a few weeks, and also increase fluid intake. Rapidly increasing fiber can lead to constipation, which is no fun, especially during the holidays
TIP #5: Make Friends With Fat
Although studies don’t conclude that fat impacts your satiety in a physical way, it plays an important part in satiety by working with your hormones (leptin) to tell you that you're full. Dietary fat is a hot topic right now, especially with the emergence of numerous studies that have shown that high-fat, low-carbohydrate diets improve weight loss and increase metabolism. Plus, dietary fat lends to the mouthfeel of food and increases satisfaction with a meal. Most fats are a combination of saturated, monounsaturated (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acids PUFA). The goal is to increase intake of plant-based fats, such as avocados, olive oil, almonds, walnuts, chia and ground flax seeds, and coconut oil. The verdict is still out on butter and dairy fats, with many nutrition-based medical providers giving it two thumbs up while mainstream health organizations urging caution. However, all can agree that the trans-fats found in margarine, shortening and many processed baked goods should be avoided.
Favorite Meal Combos: The Trifecta
During the cold winter months, it becomes more important to nourish the body with warm, comforting foods, such as soups and stews. Not only do these foods provide balance and warmth, they are also perfect vehicles to deliver what we call the trifecta for reducing appetite: protein (helps you stay fuller for longer), fiber (makes you feel full right away) and fat (turns on hormones that signal fullness). Any of these food combinations can be enjoyed as a meal or snack or even brought to a potluck for all to enjoy.
- Black beans, brown rice, pico de gallo, guacamole or avocado slices
- Plain Greek or Icelandic yogurt topped with organic blueberries, cinnamon, chia seeds and slivered almonds
- Kale, butternut squash and feta frittata
- Tortilla soup with chicken and avocado
- Quinoa with white beans, sundried tomatoes, baby spinach, chicken and a sherry vinaigrette
- Roasted butternut squash and onions mixed with cooked quinoa, chicken and baby arugula with an almond butter-maple vinaigrette
- A slice of sprouted grain bread (toasted) topped with almond butter, cottage cheese, sliced banana, cinnamon and ground flax seed