It’s no secret that sometimes the dining hall isn’t completely satisfying. Eating a bowl of lucky charms and a piece of pizza doesn’t really count as a meal and it’s not surprising that you feel hungry just a few hours later. But what about those days when you load up your plate and still find yourself starving an hour later? There are tons of scientific explanations, but these are the most common ones.
1. You’re Not Drinking Enough Water
Although it may seem weird, when your body is dehydrated it actually starts to mimic the feelings of hunger. The problem happens with the hypothalamus, which regulates hunger and thirst, and can lead you to grab a granola bar instead of a glass of water. Next time you feel hungry after a large meal try grabbing a glass of water and waiting 15 minutes to see if the hunger goes away. To prevent dehydration during the day start your day with a glass of water.
2. You’re Bored
Eating while bored is actually a form of emotional eating and it can be a tricky habit to break. Try pausing before you reach for a snack to consider if you’re really hungry or if there’s another issue bothering you. Going for a walk or reading a book (or even starting your homework) can be good distractions to avoid eating out of boredom. If you find that you’re still hungry even after waiting a few minutes and doing another activity have a healthy snack like carrot sticks or an apple.
3. You’re Not Eating Enough Protein or Fat
Piling up your plate with healthy proteins and fats is one of the best ways to stay full all day. Protein and fat help you stay full longer by staying in the stomach and suppressing your appetite. Most people need to consume about 50 grams of protein per day. Chicken is a good source of lean protein for meat-eaters but if you’re a vegetarian try including more greek yogurt, eggs, beans/legumes and whole grains into your diet. To add healthy fats into your diet snack on nuts and avocados.
4. You’re Eating at Irregular Intervals
Skipping meals like breakfast during the day can increase your appetite later on. Eating irregularly or waiting long periods between each meal also makes you more likely to snack. Make sure to eat something filling every 4-5 hours to prevent yourself from being hungry all of the time. It’s super important to eat breakfast, even if it’s just something small because that ensures that you won’t be starving later on in the day.
5. You’re a Restless Sleeper
If you find yourself struggling to fall asleep or waking up in the middle of the night often it can be easy to overeat during the day. That’s because when you wake up after a restless night hormones that control hunger are already surging. Plus if your body is constantly tired it starts craving jolts of energy, usually in the form of sugar, to wake up. Aim to get around 7 or 8 hours of sleep to make sure your hormones and energy levels stay healthy.