Even if you have moved beyond restricting your intake of certain foods, it’s important to remain diligent about nutrition and balance, says Ann Kulze, MD, author of Eat Right for Life (Wellness Council of America, 2010). The key here is making sure you’re eating enough whole, unprocessed foods. Kulze emphasizes the importance of protein and fiber, because these foods quiet the “hunger-generating” hormones in your body.
“We think fiber is particularly important, especially over time, in regulating appetite, because it helps maintain insulin sensitivity, which is critical for maintaining the activity and function of the body’s chief appetite-quieting hormone, leptin,” says Kulze. Additionally, fiber helps prevent that glucose spike and fall that leads many people to overeat. Good sources of fiber include all beans, vegetables and fruits (especially berries), sweet peas, apples, pumpkin, cauliflower, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, okra and squash.
“Protein is also essential, because it provides more prolonged satiety relative to carbs and fats,” Kulze adds. She recommends including at least 15 grams of lean protein with every meal, starting at breakfast. Some healthy protein choices include fish, shellfish, poultry, wild game, whole soy foods, eggs, nuts, seeds and Greek-style yogurt.