15 Hunger-Fighting Foods

By , SparkPeople Blogger
The day started innocently enough.  I ate my healthy breakfast, and I really wasn’t hungry after that.  A car trip later and I’m drooling like Homer Simpson at the sight of a Dunkin’ Donuts sign.  Should I or shouldn’t I?  One won’t hurt.  No, usually one doesn’t, but it does cause cravings--mad crazy cravings!  I find myself staring straight into the abyss that might be a downfall of super sugary and fatty portions.  I control it by driving through and getting one and leaving.  If I get any more than that, I’m in trouble.   
Surely you know the foods you eat that cause cravings.  They are the magical ones like chocolate that send you into another world with just a thought.  Everyone has their personal favorites.  We often concentrate on what we shouldn’t eat in large quantities or what triggers our hunger, but what about those foods that satisfy us?  Finding foods we should be eating that are healthful, tasty, and filling can be fun.   

Hunger sometimes has much to do with emotions and comforting, rather than true stomach hunger. (Stop emotional eating before it starts.)

It has to do with what others are eating and what time of day it is.  Hunger many times is just triggered by the setting of being somewhere or doing something.  Smell is a very strong hunger trigger.  So with all of these false signals telling you to eat, what do you do?   
What I do is stay full.  I keep water around at all times.  I also eat every 3-4 hours, so I’m in no danger of real physical hunger ganging up on me with some false signal and sending me on a binge.  I enjoy healthier comfort foods than I used to eat.  Fiber and protein both take longer to digest than simple carbohydrates.  Basically timing is everything.  Your body breaks down carbohydrates within the first half to two hours after you eat them.  During hours two through four, your body is working on proteins, while in hours four through six your body is breaking down fats.  This is why it is important to get a mix of foods at every meal and not wait longer than every 4 hours to eat. I have many favorite hunger fighting foods now, but for the sake of time, I will tell you 15 of my basic must-haves.  These foods are generally high in fiber, protein, or both and may have healthy fat included.   

  1. Veggie and fruit trays are wonderful.  They look pretty and cost no more than a big fast food meal.  Whether you want to cut up your own fruits and vegetables or buy them precut at the store, they are an easy to grab snack that will fix either a sweet or a salt tooth.   
  1. Nut butters are satisfying and quick.  They really last as far as a hunger fighter goes.  Most are full of healthy fats, protein, and convenient.  I like to pair mine with anything from whole grain bread and oatmeal to fruit.  A secret to making it spread farther is to microwave it for 15-30 seconds.  It can also be melted enough to be a dip.   
  1. Oatmeal is a soothing food.  When I’m upset or have a sick tummy, I get out the oatmeal.  I make it with milk rather than water to add protein, vitamins and minerals.  I especially like this for a night time snack and mix things like peanut butter, cinnamon, and raw stevia in it.   
  1. Whole grain cereal is a great sweet snack that is crunchy and rich with fiber and b vitamins.  My personal favorites are all in the Kashi line of cereals.  Be sure that the ingredients say whole grain _____ first and do not list enriched ingredients. (Learn How to Pick a Healthy Breakfast Cereal.)

  2. Fat free milk is a staple for me. I choose organic for a variety of reasons, and I think it has made a difference in my weight loss.
  3. Yogurt is a sweet dessert like treat for me.  I don’t buy light because I don’t particularly want the artificial sweeteners.  My favorite is Brown Cow Cream Top.  It’s a real treat to me. I also like Greek yogurts for their extra protein.   
  4. Whole grain breads, crackers, and pastas are great bases for sandwiches, snacks, or your favorite Italian cuisine.  Whole grains provide fiber and don’t digest quickly so you stay full longer.   
  5. Tomato juice and sauce are staples for me too.  I often find myself on the short end of my vegetable requirements.  Both ingredients can be used to make soups, pasta sauces and more.   
  6. 100% pure fruit juices make a sweet drink mixed when with sparkling water. It's a great to have a mocktail.  Sometimes a cool fruity drink just hits the spot.   
  7. Popcorn is a wholegrain snack that you can make in either healthy oil on the stovetop, as I do, or air pop.  Either way, it is yummy and takes a long time to eat.
  8. My favorite hunger fighting snack is an apple with melted peanut butter as dip.   The mix of sweet and salty together really crushes cravings.   
  9. Almonds are a simple fast snack that can last you for awhile.  Almonds are full of healthy fats and fiber.  I avoid the roasted ones with added oils and opt for the raw ones.  
  10. Cinnamon adds antioxidants and a spicy sweet flavor.  Often, I stir cinnamon and a little nutmeg into warm milk for a satisfying drink that's similar to those I can buy at a coffee house, without the hefty price tag!  It is really filling and soothing before bed.   
  11. Kidney beans are fiber packed and easy to whip into a salad with no fat.  Just add some of your favorite vinegar and seasonings to a can of drained kidney beans and you are ready to go.   
  12. Most fruits are very filling and keep the calorie count down.  They will definitely satisfy a sweet tooth. Keep a list of what is in season and when.  Then try all the new seasonal fruits you never thought to try before.   
You may have your own list of staples and I would love to hear them!  I’m always looking for ideas to stay full and lose weight.  I hope my list helps give you some new ideas.   
What are your go-to fill-you-up foods?

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GEORGE815 6/20/2021
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BOB5148 12/3/2020
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Proteins always work better for me than carbs. Report
great list Report
Helpful information Report
thanks for sharing Report
Good need-to-know information, thanks! Report
Love this list! I never thought fruits were filling, but I've started eating one in the afternoon and have pleasantly surprised. Report
Helpful Report
I disagree w/ cereal & whole grains. Stick w/ fiber, protein & fat to feel full & satisfied. Carbs make you hungrier, it's like an addiction. Report
Awesome ideas Beth. I love PB but I never thought of warming it to use for a dip. I usually just try to dip and then complain because it doesn't stick. Love it with celery. Report
Thanks for sharing! Report
Thank you for the tips. Report
thanks Report
Thanks for the great recipes. Report
Beans are a go-to for feeling full! Report
Unsweetened Almond milk[ only 15 cals per half cup!} is my go-to with a whole grain cereal{ and a fruit topping ~usually blueberries ~LOTS of antioxidants!} for breakfast.
Salads when I can get to make them ~for lunch~!
Dinner~ Chicken breast and TWO sides of veggies
Vanilla yogurt with fruit or an apple for my snacks.
Unfortunately, I still crave sweet~cookies,chocolate, so I am trying my anecdote~eat an apple BEFORE going for the craving to fill myself up! It has worked for me! Report
For snacks, I chow down on carrots and celery, my drink of choice is V8, and lentil's, northern beans and chicken are staples in my diet. Report
Thank-you for sharing your list. Oatmeal is also a good bedtime snack as it has tryptophan in it. Tryptophan helps one to have a good night's sleep. I also like to put some craisins in it for a bit of tart & sweet flavor. Report
Thanks for reminding me of the warm milk with cinnamon and nutmeg. Learned that years ago in a weight loss class and had forgotten how good it is. Report
Love all the positive comments!! Helps to make me think I can do this:) Report
Great suggestions! I also have some standby recipes that I make for low cal/high flavor salads: black bean salad, carrot salad with cashews, and beet/apple salad. When those are in the fridge I know snacks and healthy sides for meals are taken care of. Report
My favorite snack is hummus and carrot sticks together with pepper slices. Very yummy and filling! Report
grapes, almonds and cheddar cheese cubes are a great, healthy snack that incorporates some of the foods mentioned ... it sounds weird, I know, but tastes really good together! Report
Thank you for sharing your list of foods!! I am going to try some of them!! Report
Great ideas! Just when I needed them. An apple & a low sodium V8 is my afternoon snack. I snack on carrot sticks & celery at work. It's SOOOoooo hard when people bring bagels, donuts, M&M's, & candy galore to work. I put them in drawers so they don't stare at me! So hard when every birthday party is something I can't have! I just think of that 2 sizes smaller swim suit I MUST get into next summer. I just think my feet don't hurt anymore! I just think of how much better I feel! I feel at least 10 years younger! I don't have balance issues anymore. I'll live longer to quilt more quilts! It is SO worth it! Love this site! Report
What a great blog...you look amazing! Some of your food suggestions I have tried...the peanut butter and granny smith apple are one of my favorites too! Now I have several new ideas to help me thru the snack times. Thanks and keep up the good work! Report
I add cinnamon & nutmeg to warm milk, too! It's sort of like a "comfort food" for me at night. It helps me relax before bed. I may have to try that melted PB dip idea. Report
Zannachan, I love eggs and eat them, too. I'm allergic to corn, and that stuff is in just about everything! So, I consider it a good tradeoff. :D HAHAHAH How's that for justifying? Report
Black beans! I add them to everything lately, even to a healthy butter chicken recipe. I like crunch, too, and add water chestnuts to stir fry, again, butter chicken, and some salads.
I also add ground flax seed to just about anything, and add cinnamon to coffee. If I could put it in the grounds I would, but my hubbyhunk wouldn't be happy. :) Report
HI! I definitely can't keep crackers (Triscuits, Ritz) and cream cheese in the house. I will down a whole package of crackers and half a block of cream cheese and still want more!!! Chips and dip is another trigger. For my crunchy cravings, I really like Veggie Chips, or Sensible Portions Veggie Fries with Rosemary. For sweet and salty, like you, I love microwaving 1-2 tbsp. peanut butter to stretch it farther and dip apple slices with it. Salads with strawberries and feta is a good sweet and salty meal. For sweet, I love mixing fruit, usually blueberries, into flavored yogurt. It's like dessert and you get protein and it's a delicious way to get a serving of fruit. I also try to have cucumber slices and Fit 'n Active lite ranch dressing instead of chips at lunch. I am starting to like that as a substitute. Report
Thank you. Great tips! Report
Thank you for the extra tips!!! The fruit and veggie tray, the popcorn and the skim milk and light chocolate soy/almond milk is also my secret weapons. Snacking happy makes me feel full and satisfied also! But I usually have to keep my husband at bay since he's a vegetarian, my fruit and veggie tray is usually gone by mid afternoon! LOL :) Report

Try some strawberries they are in season and yiu can have plenty since they are low in calorie. You don't need any sweetener. Report
That's a great list!

I confess I don't like oatmeal, and I don't find cereal very satisifying for breakfast, but I liek the idea of finding a whole grain cereal for a snack. A friend of mine introduced me to granola mixed with plain yogurt. I don't like unsweetened yogurt (can't stand it) so I add a little honey to mine.

Veggie trays are a staple for me now. They are expensive, but buying them 1) gives me variety and 2) I don't have to worry about cutting carrots or otherwise preparing vegetables that my husband is acutely allergic to. So the money is worth it for me. I don't find vegetables very filling by themselves, but I combine them with other things.

Trail mix is another go-to snack food for me. It's got fruit (dried) and nuts--so it's got that yummy mix of salty and sweet, plus a mix of carbohydrates, fats, and protein. I pre -measure it so I watch my portion sizes though.

Eggs. I know a lot of people on sparks avoid them but I depend on them--full of protein and vitamins and minerals and fast and easy to prepare.

Yogurt (sweetened)

Among others. Report
Wasabi peas are my secret weapon. They keep me away from chips, etc., fill my craving for spicy foods, and fill me up. 1/4 cup is 120 calories and you can eat a lot of peas in 1/4 cup. I don't get home from work until about 6:15 & am usually starving by the time I get there which leads to fast food or pizza or...a handful of wasabi peas on the ride home gets me to the point that I can take the time to make myself a healthy dinner. It was easier when my kids were at home, but now that I only have to worry about myself, it is just too easy to talk myself into just "one more trip to Burgerville...". Report
Wow! Most of the foods on list list I am not allergic to! What a novelty. Thanks--I will try some of these suggestions. Report
Wow! I think I have found my identical twin! I enjoy everything that you do, plus a delicious smoothie for breakfast most mornings. I have raspberries, blueberries, protein powder, coconut milk (low fat), peanut butter and ice cubes blended with Citrucel and ground flaxseed for a fiber boost. Most yummy! Report
All of the above and Hummus Report
A small serving of homemade lentil soup can make a great in-between meal. I also love vegetable based meals, like 2 pounds of fresh green beans cooked in a few tablespoons of ground beef, olive oil, grated onion, tomato, and pepper paste. Packed with fiber and minimal calories. :) Report
I've been making fresh corn & black bean salsa. Great way to get some extra protein and fiber. Tastes great with low fat corn chips or as an addition to salad. Report
These are great hunger fighting foods. I usually have a fiber one bar to satisfy cravings for more! Report
I agree entirely with the approach in here, and I love many of these food. Favorited to remind myself, and maybe even add a few new foods to my repertoire. Report
I thought I was the only one who liked oatmeal with peanut butter. Yummy! Did you ever try putting a tiny bit of bitter dark chocolate in it. Double yummy!! Report
I love snacking on soy chips! they come in various flavors in my grocery store, my favorite is apple cinnamon...the serving size = 20 chips so I feel I'm getting a lot of satisfaction. They have a fair amount of protein and the crunch is great, too. I sometimes think they "can't be legal" because they're so sweet.
Thanks for sharing your list and starting this thread. Report
Beth - A pink lady apple and a tablespoon of crunch peanut butter has been my go to snack for a long time now. I agree - the protein and fat in the peanut butter have staying power and the apple adds sweet and one more fruit serving for the day as well as fiber. My go to breakfast is a heart healthy serving of cooked oatmeal - during the school year I make it the night before and microwave it - don't like the instant. Then I put a half cup of plain Greek yogurt and a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar - HEAVY on the cinnamon. Again the fiber and protein have staying power - for a little extra sweetness I throw about a tablespoon of golden raisins in the pot while the oatmeal is cooking - they plump up and add a delightful flavor to the bowl.
Have you tried humus and carrots or peppers or even as a spread on a pita to make a wrap - again you have the vegetable fiber and protein in the humus.
An apple and a string cheese hit the spot for me. If I am running late I can always grab them on the way out the door. Report
I really like your tips. My favorites that I use at home now are the apples & peanut butter and the oatmeal. They are the best filling snacks I can have. The other tips you give are also very useful and I will be sure to give them a try! Report
Most of those listed I have tried at sometime or other. But I do limit carbs. Even fat to about 30 gr's a day.
My favorite go to snack are red grapes. Good either cold, frozen or room temp.
They are naturally sweet and crisp., just the perfect snack.
As far as getting that one tempting donut or similar sweet fat food, I choose not to.
It took me quite a while to rid myself of that habit and taste's so I am not going to trigger the taste buds again.
I have tried eating a one bite sample of a donut as my produce store, They are fresh baked and delicious, But one bite doesn't seem to start a craving. And one bite is all I need. Report