4 Steps to Learn Your Hunger Cues

One of the 10 Principles of Intuitive eating is using your hunger and fullness cues, but what does that actually mean? How do you do that?

After years of fad dieting, I kind of lost touch with my physiological signs of hunger. I ate when society said it was “time to eat”. If I was hungry at 11:00am, I’d avoid it like the plague until the clock striked 12:00pm. I used to treat hunger as a “bad thing”–because I associated eating as a “bad thing”. Now that I have a healthier relationship with food and myself, I am able to eat when I am hungry and stop when I am satisfied, and you can too! Use my 4 Steps to Learn Your Hunger & Fullness Cues!

Hunger & Fullness Cues
Learn you Hunger & Fullness Cues

Use a hunger/fullness scale before, during & after meals
When you are first learning your hunger/fullness levels, it is important to use some sort of scale to keep your hunger in check. On a scale from 1-10, how hungry are you? how full are you? are you satisfied? Ask yourself these questions before, during and after a meal or snack to help you gauge your true hunger. The goal is to be completely satisfied with your meal–not hungry or overly full. This is not only to keep you physiologically full  until the next meal, but also to help you keep your mind off of food.

Hunger & Fullness Scale
Hunger & Fullness Scale

Journal before and after your meals
As cheesy as it sounds, this can be your most helpful tool in re-learning your hunger & fullness cues. When you use the hunger & fullness scale, write about it! Before your meal, document what level of hunger you’re experiencing. After your meal, note what level of  fullness you’re experiencing. If you are not satisfied, figure out what you can add to your meal to appease your hunger. If you are miserably full, write down how you can prevent that from happening in the future.

Hunger & Fullness Cues
Journal before & after meals while learning hunger & fullness cues

Avoid starvation: use practical hunger
Practical hunger is essentially eating something when you’re not physically hungry to prevent overidulgence later. For example, if you are not very hungry at 12:30pm but you know you won’t get to eat again until 6:00pm, use practical hunger to tide you over. When using practical hunger, choose foods that will nourish your body with at least 2 of the 3 macronutrients. This will keep you full for a longer period of time.

Slow down at meals
Take time to really enjoy your food. It will not only make your meal more enjoyable but also allow your hunger to catch up with your brain. When you take your time at meals, it allows you to feel hunger satisfaction before you reach the “over full” stage, preventing overindulgence.

A note on overeating:
It happens. Try not to beat yourself up about it. Our bodies can handle some overeating here and there–we learn from it and move on. It takes time in the beginning when you’re learning how to correctly use your hunger/fullness cues. Give yourself grace and learn from your experience. Eventually, you will know your body so well that overeating will happen less.

 

I challenge you to learn your hunger & fullness cues. Take it one step at a time, and you’ll eventually become fully in tune with your body’s hunger.

 

Remember! If you’d like to receive my email newsletters for more easy + balanced eating ideas & food freedom tips, subscribe here! Tell your friends 🙂

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian
Follow me on social media!
IG: @balanced.nutrition.dietitian
FB: Live Better with Kat Detter
Twitter: @katrinadetterRD

 

5 Ways to Build Easy & Filling Meals

Hey, friend!

Do you ever feel hungry shortly after a meal? Or just not really satisfied at all quickly after eating?

There could be a reason for that! On one hand, you may not be eating enough. On the other, you may not be balancing out your meals.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m hungry I can’t focus on anything else but that hunger.

Have no fear! Today I am going to share with you 5 ways you can build filling meals so you are happily fueled the rest of the day to prevent brain fog and the hangry monster.

easy & filling meals
How to make easy meals filling and satisfying
  1. Bulk up the fiber
    And I’m not talking fiber supplements! I mean load up on the PLANTS! Vegetables, fruits, 100% whole grains–add them to your meals! Fiber is a nondigestible carb that helps keep us full for a long period of time. Plus, it can help with prevention and management of chronic diseases, aiding in digestion and weight management.

    Easy ways to add fiber to your meals:

    easy & filling meals
    easy ways to add fiber to your meals to keep you full
  2. Incorporate a heart healthy fat
    Fat plays an instrumental role for our body (especially us gals) because it is important for hormone production. Back in the 1990s, fat was deemed “bad” by society and diet culture. While fat does have more calories per gram than carbs or protein, it is still a vital nutrient our bodies need. Lots of people avoid fat-and that could be why you’re hungry soon after a meal! Incorporating heart healthy fats into your meals can be a great way to keep your body satisfied until your next meal.

    Ways to add fats to meals:

    Add avocado to you salads/sandwiches
    Mix nuts into yogurt parfaits
    Drizzle salad with Olive Oil based dressings
    Sprinkle chia seeds on your smoothie bowls
    Incorporate fish (like salmon, tuna, mahi mahi) to your meals twice a week

    easy & filling meal
    Mahi Mahi fish tacos with avocado-perfect easy & filling, balanced meal
  3. Ensure there is enough protein
    To be honest, the protein element in meals is the hardest one for me to plan! I’m not a big meat eater, so I get a lot of my protein from vegetarian sources (like beans, legumes, corn, grains, soy, etc) or dairy…but I can defintely tell a difference in my hunger levels when I am not getting enough protein at meals. Pro tip: plan and prep ahead of time!

    Some of my fave + EASY ideas:
    Boil eggs for the week
    Make dried beans in the crockpot (easy + low maintenance)
    Canned fish – salmon & tuna (easy for on the go protein)
    Frozen pre cooked grilled chicken (easy for busy nights)
    Boil chicken for the week (quick + easily accessible for quick lunches/dinners)
    Greek yogurt (great for breakfast or snacks)
    Make your own veggie burger (then freeze for easy protein source)
    Add nut butters/nuts to meals/snacks

    easy + filling meals
    Filling snacks with non starchy vegetables (fiber), hummus (protein + complex carb) to keep you fueled and full for hours

     

  4. Include a complex carbohydate 
    Okay, okay…I know the whole craze is to go carb free, but honey…our bodies run off of carbs. We need carbs for energy. Choosing to go “no carb” or even strictly “low carb” is not a sustainable lifestyle choice…so, eat the carbs! Complex carbs (like 100% whole grains, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, fruits etc) contain fiber in them making them more satisfying than refined, simple carbs (such as sugar, refined white flour/grains, baked goods, soda, etc). The more active you are, the more carbs your body is going to want–so be mindful while you are planning your meals.

    Some ideas on how to add carbs to your diet:
    Add fresh/frozen berries to oatmeal
    Snack on a banana with peanut butter
    Eat raw veggies (carrots, celery, broccoli, peppers, cauliflower, etc) with hummus for snack
    Mix in brown rice with your cauliflower rice
    Try bean pasta (chickpea, lentil, edamame)

    Easy + Filling Mexican Quinoa Bake
    Filling meal with protein/ complex carb (black beans + quinoa), non starchy vegetables (salad + fiber), and healthy fat (cheese)!

     

  5. Choose satisfying foods
    How many of you are guilty of eating salads for lunch but actually hate them?? I’ve been there! I used to force drink kale smoothies in college–plot twist: I HATE raw kale. I hate kale in smoothies. BUT I was trying to be “healthy”. And you know where it got me?? 20 minutes later, in my dorm room, eating all the snacks because I was not satisfied with my food choice. Smoothies are great, but when they contain things you don’t like and there is an imbalance of nutrients, then you’re gonna be munchin’ on whatever you can find shortly after. What are foods that satisfy you? Let me know in the comments section 🙂
Easy & Filling Meals
Choose foods that satisfy YOU! Food that brings you joy and nourishes your body

I hope these tips were helpful for you! Comment down below (or on social media) how YOU stay full and fueled at your meals. I challenge you to keep these things in mind while you’re meal planning and prepping so you can build balanced meals that keep you FULL and satisfied.

Easy & Filling meals
Build easy & FILLING meals

Remember! If you’d like to receive my email newsletters for more easy + balanced eating ideas & food freedom tips, subscribe here! Tell your friends 🙂

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
xoxo
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian
Follow me on social media!
IG: @balanced.nutrition.dietitian
FB: Live Better with Kat Detter
Twitter: @katrinadetterRD

 

Nourishing Chocolate Turtles

Chocolate, caramel, nutty chewiness-ahh, the pure joy of a chocolate turtle!

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I’m thinking all things chocolate-including my nourishing chocolate turtles!

healthier chocolate truffles using dates as the caramel layer. Perfect healthier sweet treat

Now, I can’t take all of the credit. This past Christmas, my aunt made something very similar and I was amazed! Essentially refined sugar free, these turtles contain whole pecan halves, pureed dates, and dark chocolate to make the perfect after-dinner sweet-fix.

livebetterwithkatdetter.com

Healthier Desserts and Intuitive Eating?
These little dessert bites are refined sugar free and loaded with fiber and antioxidants, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy something with a little more sugar on occasion, too! With intuitive eating, you use gentle nutrition to guide your food choices based on what makes your body FEEL its best. Personally, I feel my best when I eat whole foods and low amounts of refined sugars, but I definitely enjoy a double dark chocolate fudge brownie from time to time. 🙂 Read all about intuitive eating here. It is 100% okay to choose a “healthier” choice for dessert…it all boils down to your relationship with food and your reasoning for food choices. 

Why Dates:
Dates are a great way to naturally sweeten your baked goods, energy bites, oatmeal, or just to treat your sweet tooth.

While these babies are perfect to satisfy a sweet craving, they are also very nutritious. Dates are good sources of fiber and antioxidants, making them great for digestion and fighting against chronic diseases. I recommend buying the medjool dates because they have a better texture and flavor than other pre-packaged pitted dates. PSA: Aldi has GREAT prices on medjool dates 🙂 

On to the recipe!

healthier chocolate truffles using dates as the caramel layer. Perfect healthier sweet treat
healthier chocolate truffles using dates as the caramel layer. Perfect healthier sweet treat

Healthier Chocolate Turtles

  • Servings: 18-20 turtles
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:
18 Medjool dates (soak in warm water for 30 minutes)
warm water to thin (use as needed, about 1/4 cup)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecan halves (~50 pecan half pieces)
3 ounces dark chocolate (or any other chocolate you like)
1 teaspoon coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Soak dates in warm water for at least 30 minutes. This will help soften the dates making them easier to puree.
  2. Remove the pit from the dates. Add pitted dates to high powered blender or food processor.
  3. Add warm water (as needed, using a little at a time), cinnamon and vanilla. Puree dates until smooth yet sticky consistency. *you want the puree to be thick so you can spoon on top of pecan halves. Set aside.

    healthier chocolate truffles using dates as the caramel layer. Perfect healthier sweet treat
    Puree dates, pecan halves, dark chocolate
  4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place clusters of pecans down (2 or 3 pecan halves per turtle).
  5. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the date mixture on top of the pecan clusters. Once dates are on top of pecans, freeze for at least 30 minutes.

    healthier chocolate truffles using dates as the caramel layer. Perfect healthier sweet treat
    2-3 pecan halves clustered with 1 tablespoon date puree on top. Freeze for at least 30 minutes
  6. While dates are freezing, melt chocolate. In a microwave safe bowl, add chocolate and coconut oil. Melt in microwave at 30 second intervals (stirring in between to prevent burning) until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

    healthier chocolate truffles using dates as the caramel layer. Perfect healthier sweet treat
    Top with melted dark chocolate or any other chocolate you prefer
  7. Remove pecans + dates from freezer. Spoon/drizzle dark chocolate ontop of each cluster. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  8. Enjoy!

*Note: these turtles store well in the freezer! Make a batch and freeze for later day when you want a sweet treat!

What a perfect way to treat your Valentine (or Galentine)! No matter what dessert you choose to celebrate with, take time to enjoy this special time with your loved ones.

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Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian
Follow me on social media!
FB: Live Better with Kat Detter
IG: @mindful.eating.dietitian

What is Intuitive Eating?

Have you ever struggled with food freedom? Felt guilty at just the thought of eating a certain food or food group? Been on every diet in the book?

I sure have. I have shared my obsessions with food and over-exercising several times before…and today, I want to share with you the freedom I have found with intuitive eating.

Intuitive eating is such a big topic that I am going cover a few blog posts on. Today, I am going to break down what intuitive eating is and what it is not. It is my hope that if you struggle with food rules, deprivation, restriction, purging, or maintaining a healthy relationship with food that this may become one of your wellness goals: to become an intuitive eater.

Green Field Girl Spring Pinterest Graphic

What is Intuitive Eating?
When you think “intuitive” think “instinctive”. What are our actual physical instincts when it comes to hunger? Logically, when we are hungry, we *should* eat. Many restrictive diets cause us to completely neglect our true hunger cues and just eat a portioned amount of food based on society’s limitations.

Intuitive eating is also based on these 10 principles:
1. Rejecting the diet mentality
2. Honoring your hunger
3. Making peace with food
4. Challenging the food police
5. Discovering the satisfaction factor
6. Feel your fullness
7. Cope with your body’s emotions with kindness
8. Respecting your body
9. Exercising to feel a difference
10. Honoring your health

The Break-Down of The 10 Principles of Intuitive Eating:

  1. Rejecting the diet mentality:
    Transitioning the common societal view eating “healthy”. Especially this time of the year, many people go around saying “I am going to get back on track” or “my diet starts tomorrow”. When you become and intuitive eater, you honor your hunger and body by fueling it properly using gentle nutrition, but also know there is a time and a place for cookies…because let’s be real, a life without FUN foods is not as enjoyable.
  2. Honoring your hunger:
    Have you ever been on a “diet” that gave specific times to eat food? Certain portion sizes? Only allowed you to eat certain foods? That’s a major problem with diet culture–not teaching you to really listen, know or honor your hunger cues. With intuitive eating, you base eating needs on your physiological hunger.What are the physiological signs of hunger??
    Physiological hunger is your body’s way of saying “hey, feed me!”

    Signs of hunger:
    *empty stomach
    *stomach growling
    *dizzy/light-headedness
    *headache
    *irritability (HELLO hangry monster!)
    *difficulty concentrating
  3. Making peace with food:
    Any of you ever experienced fear foods? Foods you fear are going to make you gain weight? Foods that society has deemed “bad”?I used to have a huge fear of peanut butter and would only eat the powedered peanut butter because it was low in fat and calories. However, when I started studying nutrition in college, I learned that while peanut butter may be higher in fat and calories, it is also a great plant based protein source. The fat in peanut butter is actually beneficial for your hormone production and heart health. There is much nutrition in peanut butter, and I am happy to say now I am at peace with it and probably eat it daily.You can make peace with any food. When you can break it down and realize your body needs fuel for survival. Truly think of food as fuel. Know that your body can handle eating a cookie on Christmas…a slice of cake on your birthday…a piece of chocolate on Valentine’s day. The bottom line is: with intuitive eating, you never feel deprived or restricted of any food…so when you allow yourself to have more indulgent foods, you don’t feel the need to eat as much as your body can hold.
  4. Challenging the food police:
    Do you know how many times people have analyzed what I eat? Especially now that I am a registered dietitian. I remember my grandpa telling me I shouldn’t eat macaroni and cheese because it would “make me fat”. Or having family members say “Oh, you’re eating cake??” at Thanksgiving dinner. Those comments are annoying, and very difficult for those transiting into the food freedom lifestyle. As hard as it may be, my biggest advice is taking those comments with a grain of salt, and always think about what you’re gonna say next. You can always say “I’m at peace with  food, and very thankful that I can enjoy this pumpkin cheesecake today”. 🙂
  5. Discovering the satisfaction factor:
    Lots of times when we “diet”, we may not be satisfied with what we are being “forced” to eat. “Oh, I’m trying to eat healthy…guess that means I have to eat salad every day.”

    When we are in that mindset of “I have to eat this because it is healthy”, then our bodies aren’t satisfied. We aren’t eating foods we actually enjoy…meaning we aren’t satisfied after a meal. With intuitive eating, you choose foods based on your preference and what you want to eat. You may choose a big mixed greens salad for lunch with some lean protein, avocado, and vinegar based dressing. Other times, you may choose to have a burger with roasted vegetables. Regardless, you learn how to be satisfied after a meal so in turn, you won’t binge and mindlessly eat later on.
  6. Feel your fullness:
    Just as we should honor our hunger cues, we also need to honor our fullness cues, or our satiety level. As an intuitive eater, you learn how to stop eating when you are  full. No one is perfect! Overeating happens to all of us, but intuitive eating can help us learn when to stop at our fullness level, which helps us not overindulge.
  7. Cope with your emotions with kindness:
    This essentially means not to “fix” your emotions with food. Find other kind ways to handle your emotions. Find something that destresses you…that brings you comfort. It could be painting a mural, talking to a friend, journaling…whatever it may be, focus on that instead of food.
  8. Respecting your body:
    This can be easier said than done. From a spiritual aspect, God created you the way He wanted you to be. He wants you to be healthy and develop healthy relationships with people and health. Your body is a celebration of His creation, and wasting time worrying about your size does not enhance your life. Respect your body and what it can do. You are more than the number on the scale or the size in your pants. Focus on your strength. Your talents. Your growth. Your relationships. Your happiness. Respect yourself.
  9. Movement-feel the difference:
    This is all about shifting the mindset of “how many calories can I burn during this session” to “what movement brings me joy?” Don’t run if you hate running. Don’t spin if you hate biking. Find what exercise brings you joy and you’ll never feel “forced” to workout ever again…you’ll even look forward to your workout sessions!
  10. Honor your health using gentle nutrition:
    This is my favorite one! There are so many misconceptions with intuitive eating, but intuitive eaters know how to eat well by using gentle nutrition. With gentle nutrition, you honor your food choices and taste buds with foods you enjoy. Bye, bye kale salads, hello burrito bowls! You don’t instantly become “unhealthy” from one snack, meal, or one day of eating. Intuitive eaters focus on eating well consistently over time versus eating perfectly 24/7. It’s all about progress over perfection with gentle nutrition.

IMG-5998

What Intuitive Eating Isn’t:
Intuitive eating isn’t anti-health. It isn’t eating cookies all day long. It isn’t failing to eat nourishing foods. It isn’t mindlessly eating. It isn’t neglecting physical activity. It isn’t eating highly processed foods “just ‘cuz.”

Intuitive Eating is used to help people truly learn to fuel their bodies without a fear of food, without restricting, without guilt, without over-exercising. Intuitive Eating helps us learn to be comfortable choosing a big salad for lunch, but also realizing if you eat a cookie for dessert that you aren’t “unhealthy”. 

Intuitive Eating
What intuitive eating is and what it isn’t

I hope you now have a better idea of what this intuitive eating movement is all about, and it is my hope that we all can make peace with food. Life is too short to be a chronic dieter.

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Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
Registered Dietitian
Follow me on social media!
IG: @mindful.eating.dietitian
Facebook: Live Better with Kat Detter

 

 

References:
https://www.intuitiveeating.org/10-principles-of-intuitive-eating/