When it comes to keeping hunger at bay, protein and fibre are your two best friends! Opting for snacks and meals rich in one or both of these nutrients will help to keep you feeling satisfied for longer.
Here are the top 10 choices for fibre-rich and protein-rich foods to include in your diet.
Wholegrains such as oats, wholemeal bread, wholewheat pasta, wholegrain rice, quinoa, wholewheat cous cous and popcorn are all rich in fibre. This is because they are made up using the 'whole' of the 'grain' - which keeps in tact the fibrous outer layer. Unlike refined carbohydrates which strip out the high-fibre outer layer of the grain. Fibre is digested slowly by our body, which means foods rich in it can keep us feeling fuller for longer. In fact, not all types of fibre are digested by the body, the benefit of this being they add bulk to our diet and help food to pass through the gut – which is why fibre is know for its 'keeping you regular' benefits!
Pulses such as beans, lentils and peas are a fantastic source of both fibre and protein. They're a great choice for anyone who doesn't eat meat, fish or dairy, as they're a rich source of plant-based protein. The combination of protein and fibre in pulses makes them a super fuel in terms of filling us up!
Fruits are a great source of fibre in our diet. Particularly high-fibre choices such as strawberries, bananas and pears. As well as fibre, many have a high water content too, which can mean they add bulk to our diet without adding many calories. Bulk and fibre equals filling!
Much like fruits, vegetables are also a fantastic source of fibre in our diet – as well as having a high water content too. There are several reasons why we're encouraged to aim for at least 5 portions of fruit and veg each day, and fibre is one of them. Keep the skin and peel on potatoes and carrots to get the most fibre for your vegetables too!
Nuts and seeds such as almonds and sunflower seeds are rich in protein and fibre, making them a great snack choice for filling you up between meals. Choose unsalted, plain versions to avoid adding too much excess salt and saturated fat to your snack.
Meats such as beef and chicken are some of the best sources of protein available. In fact chicken is over 90% protein making it a great choice to fill you up! Include it with high-fibre wholegrains and you've got yourself a super filling meal!
Fish is another fantastic source of protein. Choose lean white fish such as haddock for a low-fat protein hit, or go for oily fish such as salmon and mackerel for protein as well as healthy unsaturated fats.
Whether you like yours scrambled, fried, poached or hard boiled, eggs are a great protein source. The yolk of an egg is where most of the fat and calories come from, so if you’re looking for a lean source of protein to fill yourself up on minimal calories, then an egg white omelette is the way to go. Egg whites are essentially pure protein!
Milk, cheese and yogurt are all high-protein foods which are great choices for anyone who prefers not to eat meat or fish. Including these in your snacks or meals will help with feelings of fullness, and staying full for longer. Opt for low-fat versions to avoid too much saturated fat, and in the case of yogurt especially, opt for plain or ones with no-added sugars.
As the name suggests, protein powders are an easily accesible source of protein. Protein shakes made with milk or water can be useful as a filling snack between meals, or as a meal replacement if you're in a rush. Alternatively, add a scoop of powder to your morning porridge for some extra protein to make sure those oats really keep you going until lunch.
Nutritionist Emma Brown (ANutr), MSc Human Nutrition is passionate about how food science applies to the human body, and how the nutrients in what we eat affect us and ultimately have an impact on our health.