How To Feel Full On A Plant-Based Vegan Diet
When I first started out on my journey to living plant-based, I knew that “feeling full” would be an issue. As a vegetarian I would turn to eggs and cheese when hunger struck but now with those eliminated what would I do?
If you are starting on this journey you may be asking yourself some of these questions:
Will I always feel hungry as a vegan?
Will I always feel unsatisfied?
How will I know what to eat if I feel hungry?
Will my meals even be nutritionally sufficient?
Now, I won’t be going into all of these today but I do what to tell you something in regards to the questions “Will I always feel hungry as a vegan?”
The answer in the beginning might be YES. But as I prepared myself for this journey, the one (very smart I may add) choice I made to avoid this feeling of constant hunger was to USE SMOOTHIES. Every day. Every day I would make a smoothie or shake to kick off my day. I did this for myself, my husband, and my kids. Why? Because I KNEW this would be a hard journey and if we started day 1 feeling like we were being deprived and were starved, we would never make it to day 2. Or 3. or day 978.
Plant-based or not, what you eat at the start of your day sets you up for the rest of the day. If you skip breakfast, you feel “starving” by 10am. Then lunch doesn’t feel like enough so you have more sneaky and probably indulgent snacks. Then dinner rolls around and you just want comfort foods and maybe some more unhealthy treats. I don’t know why it happens this way, but it tends to.
What I really want to talk about though is HOW to feel full on a plant-based diet because I want you to succeed on this journey. I want you to feel your best and for your body to function at it’s peak. I promise you that following these tips will help you go from feeling a 6 to a 10.
5 Easy To Implement Rules For Feeling more satisfied On A Plant-Based Diet
1. Drink Smoothies (and bulk them up!)
Don’t be afraid to use smoothies or shakes on a plant-based diet, especially when you are short on groceries, time, or patience. I also want to remind you that you do not HAVE to drink smoothies to follow a vegan or plant-based diet. It is by no means a “requirement.” ;)
If you are wanting to add more smoothies as a way to stay full longer or to get more calories if you feel you are struggling, you can add things like oats, nut butters, or seeds. One of my favorite things to add to smoothies are chia seeds or hemp hearts.
2. Eat more beans, grains, & starches - Carbs…Yes, eat carbs!
For some reason these foods get such a bad rap! The truth is, these are some of the most nutrient dense foods you can consume. (ANYONE - not just vegans) By not consuming these, you are missing out on some incredible protein, vitamin, and mineral sources. What I love about these foods are that they are calorie dense which will help keep you full longer.
I don’t want you to think that rice, beans, pasta, etc, are unhealthy. Fact is, they aren’t! So don’t be afraid to eat them when you are hungry. A meal of a basic salad with no grains/beans/legumes/etc will leave you unsatisfied and hungry shortly after. Eat those carbs, friends! EAT THEM! #TeamCarbs
3. Drink more water
You’ve heard it before and I’ll tell you again, if you THINK you’re hungry, you might just be thirsty. And not thirsty for soda, juice, or anything else. We’re talking about WATER.
Americans tend to be chronically dehydrated. Causes to this are dehydrating drinks like coffee and soda, but also alcohol. Research shows that up to 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. And when our bodies feel hungry, often it is our body’s way of saying “GIVE ME WATER!”
A great tip or habit to make is drinking a glass of water before eating a meal. This will allow you to better manage your meal but also to feel how full your body actually is.
4. Eat More Protein Rich Foods
There are dozens of protein rich plant-foods both whole foods and processed. Protein tends to be more filling and satisfying than carbs and often protein is not as easy to consume on a plant-based vegan diet.
We like to make sure every meal has at least ONE protein source. This typically includes beans, tofu/tempeh, nuts, or quinoa. All these are simple additions to many meals and make protein easy to get!
If you need ideas for plant-based protein sources, check out my blog post about Non-Meat Protein Options!
5. Choose whole plant foods & eat more!
I believe that whole plant foods are the source of feeling amazing. One of the best things about eating whole plant foods is that you really (for the most part) can eat as much as you want.
Here are some perks of eating more whole plant foods:
They are nutritionally packed with vitamins and nutrients you can’t get in a lot of packaged foods.
They provide natural fiber and our beloved H20!
They don’t contain cholesterol so if high cholesterol is something you worry about, you don’t need to worry about that with plants.
Your body (unless you have a medical reason) loves plant foods and NEEDS them to thrive. It has and always will be a “thing” in America. “Eat more fruits and vegetables.” ;)
Now how does this truly keep you full? Well, I’m encouraging you to eat MORE. If you are eating a "(mostly) whole plant food diet, you will want to eat until you feel full. A salad that you used to eat when paired with a burger is not a sufficient meal if you are eating solely the salad. You need to SUPERSIZE that salad! In order to feel FULL on a plant-based diet you MUST eat more.