How to Feel Full With Protein

One of the keys to successful weight loss is staving off hunger. After all, it's far easier to keep your mind off of food when your stomach isn't growling at you. One of the best ways to fight the munchies and save your waistline is to incorporate protein into your diet. That's because protein can help you feel full so that you won't crave sweets and other diet-busting treats. By utilizing protein in the right way, you're more likely to stay on track with a healthy eating plan.

Protein at Breakfast

To feel fuller throughout the day, include protein in your waking meal. According to Heather Bauer, R.D., who founded the Nu-Train nutritional center in New York City, consuming protein at breakfast can help you melt off pounds. What's more, she also claims that morning protein can help fight mood swings. However, many breakfast meats are laden with fat and salt; products like sausage and bacon are not the best choices for weight loss. Stick to egg whites for a lean protein boost in the morning.

Protein in Meals

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Including protein in lunch and dinner will make you feel fuller than eating carbohydrates alone, so you will be less likely to snack in between meals. Experts recommend adding one serving of protein to each meal for optimal health and to avoid hunger pangs. Try 3 ounces of grilled fish as an entree, sprinkle your lunch salad with pecans, or bake up some low-fat black bean enchiladas for dinner. Remember that protein has calories too, so if you overdo it you can gain weight just as you can with carbs.

Protein Shakes

Protein shakes can help you feel full, but they are not necessarily the best choice for weight loss. If you drink the shakes in addition to your regular diet, you will actually probably end up gaining. Extra protein is simply not necessary, and these shakes are often high in calories. You may be able to lose weight by using them as meal replacements, but the truth is that protein shakes are not as nutritious as whole foods.

Low-Fat Proteins

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Protein and carbs have four calories per gram, while fat has nine. If you fill up on fatty proteins like cheese, you may be getting more calories than you bargained for. That's why it is important to choose your proteins wisely, and opt for those with low fat content. Some good choices are beans, skim or reduced-fat milk and cheeses, nonfat yogurt, tofu and seafood. By checking the labels, you can ensure that you're getting lean proteins that will help you stay full without loading up on calories.