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Reducing Food Cravings

We’ve all heard the wise old adage that ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day,’ but do you know why? Not only does it kick-start your metabolism and feed your brain some awakening energy, it is also a powerful force in shaping your food choices of the day ahead. This is because a well balanced, nutritious breakfast increases satiety and reduces hunger throughout the day – which influences what types of foods you will eat and importantly – how much…

Protein is the most fundamental feature of breakfast when it comes to setting you up for the day ahead. Eating a protein rich breakfast has been found to actually reduce the brain signals which control food motivation and reward-driven eating behaviour. Protein also slows down the release of energy, which keeps you fuller for longer and less prone to unhealthy snacking before lunchtime. Eggs are a brilliant breakfast food as they contain essential amino acids in the ideal ratio, making them the ‘perfect protein.’ Other great breakfast proteins include yoghurt, lean (grilled bacon), nuts, beans and lentils. Or try quinoa cooked in oat milk with seeds and nuts – a delicious protein-rich twist on porridge.

Fifty percent of the population choose to ignore their hunger pangs and leave the house on an empty stomach in the morning. Skipping breakfast has been strongly associated with unhealthy snacking, over-eating, weight gain and obesity. If you have a sweet tooth and find the biscuit tin to be your mortal enemy, ensure that you start your day with a savoury meal. If you sit down to a bowl of chocolate coated cereal and jam-smeared toast in the morning you will be setting yourself up for sugar hits galore throughout the day and a predictable pattern of over-eating. This is because a sugar-rich breakfast will encourage your energy levels to soar and crash very quickly, leaving you wilting over your desk and in desperate need of a sweet pick-me-up. And this cycle is set to be repeated throughout your day, which is also likely to be punctuated with coffee-shop-stops.

Typical ‘snack foods’ are almost always high in sugar, fat and salt and contribute a substantial heap of empty calories to the diet. Even some ‘healthy’ snack foods have cleverly disguised levels of salt and sugar inside.

Snacking is certainly not an unhealthy habit, as regular nutritional fuel throughout the day keeps your metabolism ticking. It is your choice of snacks that is an important consideration here. Combining a protein source with all meals and snacks provides a much steadier release of energy into the bloodstream which prevents slumps, cravings and over-eating. Some healthy snack choices include fresh fruit with natural yoghurt and seeds, hummus with carrot sticks and celery, or a small handful of nuts with a few pieces of dried fruit.