A is for Appetite


A | Appetite

by Lindsey Herr

This article is the first of many in a whole new Nutrition Tip Thursday segment- ABC's of Nutrition! Each week will be a new topic that starts with the next letter of the alphabet. If you have any ideas for articles you would like to read- email them to content@lifestart.net.

Appetite is the mental desire to eat. Hunger is the physical need to eat. Controlling the urge to eat when not actually hungry can play an important role in managing snacking, meal sizes, and in the end- your weight. We all have different triggers that make us want to eat- coming home from work/school, smelling your favorite dessert, or a stressful day. The human appetite is controlled by many factors. Hormones, the nervous system, and the digestive organs all play a role in this complex system. What we eat can play a huge role in keeping control of our appetite.

5 ways to keep your appetite in check:

1. Protein- Consuming high-protein foods will satiate you and allow you to go longer between meals. Protein has been found to be the best macronutrient for appetite suppression. Carbohydrates have been found to be the worst for appetite suppression.  

Try: Eggs for breakfast, turkey sandwich at lunch, and a lean meat with sides for dinner. 

2. Drink Water- Many times that you feel hungry, your body actually is just asking you for water. Dehydration is serious and should be avoided- drink up! Another way to stay hydrated is with a cup of hot tea. This will make you feel full as well as give you an extra caffeine boost that a snack would have given you.

Try: Setting a goal to drink X number of ounces of water before lunch. More water also means more bathroom breaks and more movement that your body craves.

3. Don’t skip breakfast- This will set the tone for the whole day. Your body craves water when you first wake up. And after that- nutrients.

Try: 1 Hard-boiled egg and a slice of whole wheat toast. Quick, easy, and the egg gives you the protein you need!

4. Sleep- Ghrelin is the hormone that makes us hungry. Leptin is the hormone that suppresses hunger. When you get enough sleep (and eat healthfully) these two hormones are much more likely to be in perfect balance.

Try: Turning off electronics an hour before going to sleep.

5. Evaluate- Think about your current appetite and get honest with yourself. Are you eating when you’re stressed? How can you pick better snacks or work to relieve this stressor? Taking the time to plan out cravings ahead of time will make a huge difference on your body.

Try: Crave a jumbo brownie after every meeting with the boss? Keep a small stash of dark chocolate covered almonds at your desk. Sweet tooth crisis averted!

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