Control your appetite

Trying to shift a few pounds? Nutritionist Fiona Hunter suggests 10 ways to control your appetite so you only eat as much as you need.

Moroccan chickpea soup

1. Start your meal with a salad or soup

They will help to fill your stomach and take the edge off your appetite, which means you'll be less likely to overeat at the next course. In one study participants were given meals with exactly the same number of calories either as solid food or as soup. When the calories were given in the form of soup, people said they felt fuller for longer. Researchers also found that after soup participants went on to eat less at their next meal.

Broad bean houmous2. Be snack smart

The hungrier you are when you start to eat, the longer it takes your hunger to subside. So in other words, the hungrier you are, the more you need to eat before you feel full. The best way to avoid getting over-hungry is to eat every 3-4 hours - three small meals with a couple of healthy snacks in between is perfect. Protein-rich snacks (like a yogurt or a boiled egg) or fibre-rich snacks (such as oatcakes or hummus with crudités) are the best choices to make you feel fuller longer.

3. Up the protein

Eat slightly larger portions of lean protein such as lean meat, fish, shellfish, eggs and low-fat dairy products (for example skimmed milk, cottage cheese, low-fat yogurt).

4. Turn off the TV

If you're distracted while eating, you're more likely to miss the 'I'm full' signals that your stomach sends your brain when you've had enough to eat. One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when people listened to a detective story as they were eating, they ate 13 per cent more calories than they did without any distractions.

Lentil salad5. Fill up on fibre

One of the reasons why the F-plan diet was so popular was that fibre-rich foods are more filling. Choose wholemeal bread, and brown rice and pasta instead of white. And try adding beans and pulses to salads, stews and soups.

6. Choose foods that take time and effort to eat

 Corn on the cob, a crunchy salad or fish with bones cannot be rushed, and will force you to eat more slowly and help you to feel full quicker.

7. Eat more fruit and veg

Their high water content will help fill you up.

Water8. Drink before you eat

Try a large glass of vegetable juice or fizzy water 10 minutes before you're due to sit down to eat.

9. Take your time

 Lay your knife and fork down on the table between each mouthful. Chew food thoroughly before taking a second mouthful and focus on what you're eating - all of these things help slow down the pace at which you eat. When you eat slowly, you'll feel full quicker.

10. Eat an apple before each meal

In one study in Washington, 346 people were asked to eat an apple 20 minutes before each meal. Without making any other changes to their diet, participants lost an average 1½ stone in just 3 months. Researchers felt that the apples helped to promote a feeling of fullness, which meant participants didn't eat as much at the subsequent meal.

What are your tips for controlling appetite?

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