I get this often, “I’m trying to eat Paleo, but I’m hungry all of the time.” I’m not a nutritionist. I’m only providing information that I’ve read and believe, including some tips from my personal experiences. Before Paleo, I struggled with being hungry within a couple of hours of eating and craved sugary foods in the afternoon primarily around the time when I “hit a wall” in which I became extremely tired and grumpy. I always felt bloated. For up to 8 hours after eating, my lunch/dinner wouldn’t digest right, and I could feel the food sitting at the back of my throat. In addition, I didn’t have a regular bathroom schedule. I never thought that grains are low in vitamins and minerals or that they were the root of all my problems.
When I decided to take on Paleo, I also realized I was hungry all the time. I wouldn’t eat much veggies with my meals, and never at breakfast, so I relied on paleo snacks throughout the day. It was impertinent that I increase vegetables and that was a challenge. Vegetables used to make me gag, really. But, I just kept truckin exploring new vegetables and googling how to cook them. A year later I’m eating a variety of veggies. I CRAVE them. I LOVE them. When you stop eating sugar, salty, and processed foods your buds will experience the real flavor of vegetables. When I eat a sweet potato now, it’s perfectly sweet. The other day I added a marshmallow ( why? I have no idea. It was dumb.), my dinner was so unsatisfying and the bold sweetness didn’t allow me to enjoy my brussel sprouts or chicken. I guess I do these things to live and learn. I learned that my meal was more satisfying without it.
You’re hungry all the time, too? Usually it’s because you aren’t eating enough, and perhaps, you are eating a meal that is unbalanced in veggies, fruit, proteins, and fats. Sometimes I hear or read that you’ll have just a salad or egg whites and an orange. Salads pre-packaged with meat usually include about 1 oz. of meat (NOT ENOUGH for you). I have experience with the Zone Diet prior to Paleo and that helps me determine how much meat (3-4oz), veggies (usually 2-3 different veggies and servings that I can fit in my hand or more), fruit (if you are trying to lose weight, limit your fruit intake to maybe 1 a day. So cut your apple up and have 1/3 in the morning, 1/3 at lunch, and 1/3 for snack or dinner), and fat (1/2 avocado, a handful of walnuts/almonds). We have many Zone books at the gym, you can check them out (or google it) and you can figure out your portions for your body size/activity level.
Below is an example of what I eat throughout the day:
Breakfast (anywhere between 6-9am): Eat when you are hungry. A breakfast like this can hold me over for as long as 7 hours without feeling low in energy or extremely hungry, plus, I don’t get cravings because I don’t eat sugar in the morning (i.e. cereal, oatmeal, bread in general).
- 2 eggs cooked in olive oil
- 4 strips of bacon
- 5-6 asparagus chopped
- 7-8 chopped okra
- 3 strawberries diced
Lunch (anywhere between 11am-3pm):
- 3-4 strips of chicken (or 1 breast)
- Cook up 1/4 onion and 3/4 a bell peppers on the stove top (the night before or morning of, and I chop and save the rest for eggs another morning)
- guacamole or avocado.
- It’s not enough veggies, so I cook 7-10 asparagus on the stove top w/ olive oil.
Snack (Sometimes I’ll have a snack in the afternoon. Because of gym responsibilities, we typically sit down for dinner around 10pm) : a grapefruit/almonds or walnuts/raisins or hardboiled egg/almonds or almond butter/celery are great snacks.
Dinner: (We don’t skimp on dinner just because it’s late): Paleo Spaghetti. I eat about 3/4-1/2 of a spaghetti squash w/ LOTS of meat sauce. Shaun eats about 1/2- 1 1/4 of spaghetti squash, also with lots of meat sauce. Instead of baking the squash, I put it in the microwave w/ 1tbs water covered with saran wrap for about 5 minutes. It’s perfect. I can’t find Pomi anymore, so I found a spaghetti sauce called Cucina Antica and it’s ingredients are pure. It’s a little salty, though.
Some things to help you stay full longer:
- Every meal should include protein/carb/fat: for a small, active woman a meal is 3-40z of meat, 2-3 different vegetables, olive oil for baking.
- Avoid whole fruit as your snack. Cut it up into pieces and eat it throughout the day. Protein and Fats will help you stay full and still restore energy for workouts.