Tips for Meal Planning to Stay Full: Foods for Hunger

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Meal planning for the week can make you feel like a confident, expert nutritionist — that is, until something goes wrong. Most of the setbacks that people experience when starting a new diet are due to hunger. Many people report doing well on their nutritional plan until hunger kicked in and they made discouraging choices that weren’t in the original plan. Recovering from off-plan decisions can leave you feeling guilty and sometimes even provoke you to abandon the diet. Before you give up, though, learn tips and tricks for meal planning so that you’re not always hungry on diet choices.

Goal Setting

Setting realistic goals and incrementally monitoring your progress is a critical practice in adopting a new diet.

Small Changes

Focus on small nutritional goals first. Sometimes too much change can be overwhelming and leave you with intense cravings and even withdrawal. Empty carbs and sugar cravings can cause extreme hunger pangs and become the ultimate dietary derailment.

Food Reframing

Set a goal to reframe the way you think about food. Learning more about foods' actual nutritional value is easier when you reframe what you consider good or bad. For example, you may be able to fit your favorite chocolate cake into your meal plan for one day, thanks to careful macros planning for the week. Rather than feeling guilty about eating cake, calculate its nutritional value along with the other food you eat as just numbers. In the beginning, the most satiating foods might be those that you schedule in as your cheat meal, but as time progresses, you may find that you feel better for longer with more nutrient-dense selections.

Backup Plans

Make it your goal to create a backup plan should you derail. Some people don’t even like to consider the possibility of deviating from their plan, but it happens all the time. Pairing up with a partner, friend, or family member to help get you back on track to meeting your nutritional goals without any judgment can be a helpful tactic on your health journey.

Plan Ahead

Luck favors the prepared. If you know that you are always hungry when beginning a new diet, some of that just may be breaking out of old habits. Plan activities and meals in advance to help yourself when you may not feel as dedicated as you do at the beginning of the week.

Grocery Shopping

Rule number one: Never go to the grocery store hungry. Rule number two: Never go to the grocery store without a detailed list that you made beforehand (such as one made using our tips). Rule number three: Never go to the grocery store if you can’t resist temptation. Luckily, grocery shopping apps and delivery services are readily available in many areas to obtain the items you need without you even having to step foot in the store. This convenience not only helps you stay on track but saves you time.

Meal Prep

Meal prep helps people stay full longer. When you plan each meal around nutritionally sound choices, you can ensure that you meet all your needs without overreaching in one area or another. Deprivation is not the name of the game; nutrition is.

Recovery Options

Even with careful meal planning, you may have to go out to eat or work into the evening from time to time. If you have to make alternate food options, have a macro meal planning app like Prospre downloaded and ready to use on your phone. You can choose foods that are the most macro dense out of the options that you have.

Food Choices

A satiating diet satisfies all your nutritional needs, provides you with energy, and leaves you feeling full for longer.

Macro Counting

An intelligent way to approach a successful diet is to plan your eating based on macros fulfillment. Choosing foods that are nutrient-dense to hit your macros goals helps you keep hunger pangs away:

  • Proteins should make up about 10-35% of your calories.
  • Carbohydrates should comprise 45-65% of your calories.
  • Fats make up the remaining 20-35%, based on individual needs.

Note: ranges above are based on the USDA’s Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution ranges (AMDRs).

Hydration

One way to stave away hunger is to stay appropriately hydrated. Drinking an ounce per two pounds of body weight (or 30mL per kg), or somewhere close to eight 8-ounce (~250mL) glasses of water, are two general rules of thumb for most people to follow. Consult with your doctor if you have additional questions about how much water is appropriate for you to consume.

Portion Sizes

A few smaller meals throughout the day rather than three large meals will help you stay full and relieve you of the lag you may experience after heavy eating. Your metabolism works more efficiently with smaller, more frequent meals than three serious eating sprees.

Learning to divide portions for your macros to meet individual goals saves you from being hungry on a diet. Keep track of your progress and which foods help you stay full for longer by downloading Prospre, the macro meal planning app.

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