Intermittent fasting has been praised for everything from weight loss to improved gut health to metabolic perks… but something that’s on the not-so-good side of the intermittent fasting fence is the incessant hunger pangs it can cause. I’m a big believer in mindful eating, so I do have some reservations about eating plans that make you ignore your internal hunger cues. In saying that, there are some easy tweaks you can make to your intermittent fasting regime (or any other eating plan, for that matter) that’ll help to ward off a pesky grumbling tummy. Do you have a healthy relationship with food? Like what you see? Sign up to our newsletter for more stories like this. For a fullness factor, what you’ve got on your plate should tick at least one of the following four boxes. 1. Protein Tofu. Image: iStock No, I’m not talking about protein shakes, bars and balls – you can get more than enough protein from real, whole foods. You’ll find hunger busting protein in meat, poultry, seafood and eggs, as well as plants like tofu, legumes, nuts and seeds. Dairy foods can contribute a substantial amount of protein to your diet, too. As a rule of thumb, each of your main meals should be about 25 per cent protein, and it wouldn’t hurt to have a few protein-based snacks throughout the day, too. 2. Fibre  Image: iStock Fibre is, of course, good for your gut – but there is *so* much more to fibre than just bowel regularity. Fibre is good for your heart because it can help to lower cholesterol. It also works to balance blood sugars, which can keep you feeling energised. Plus, fibre fills you up and has a super satiating effect. It really is an all-star nutrient. You’ll find fibre in plant foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes (think: beans, chickpeas and lentils), nuts and seeds. For context, women should aim for 25 grams of fibre per day, and for men, that quota is bumped up to 30 grams. The more, the better. 3. Healthy fats Image: iStock Fats have had a bad rap in the world of dieting – but it’s not exactly warranted. Yes, fats are calorie-dense (so if you’re doing 5: 2 intermittent fasting, you’ll struggle to get enough on fasting days), but small portions of healthy fats keep you feeling full. They’re also very good for heart and brain health. You’ll find healthy fats in foods like salmon, avocado, nuts and seeds. A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil while cooking or in a salad dressing counts, too. 4. Low-GI carbs Image: iStock When you eat carbohydrates, your body breaks them down into sugar, which makes its way into your bloodstream and can be used for energy. The speed at which this process happens is reflected by the glycaemic index, or the GI. High-GI foods are broken down quickly, so your blood sugars spike and crash. That leaves you feeling lethargic and annoyingly hungry soon after you’ve eaten. Low-GI foods, on the other hand, are broken down slowly, so your blood sugars gently rise and fall over a longer period of time, which leaves you feeling far more satisfied. There are plenty low-GI foods you can pop on your plate, like whole grains, fresh fruit and dairy foods. High-GI foods to minimise include white bread, sugary drinks and sweet treats.  Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based accredited practising dietitian. You can connect with her on Instagram @honest_nutrition. 

How to avoid incessant hunger when you’re intermittent fasting



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