BIG Nutrition: Starving? Have faith in these strategies!


BIG Nutrition: Starving? Have faith in these strategies!

If you have been hitting the gym hard since the New Year and are starving, then you are in good company with other BIG members! Here are some eating strategies to help you deal with hunger. If you want background on hunger—a part physiological and part psychological phenomenon
—see this past blog.


  • Slow down eating by setting down utensils or food items between bites, chew foods thoroughly, and drink water 8-12 oz before eating a snack or meal.
  • Embrace mindfulness while eating with attention to the taste, colors, and textures of food.
  • Reassess hunger during the meal, as well as, later in the day and the next day to readjust intake. Remember that hunger is a normal and expected feeling before a meal.

Substance (specifically, fiber, fat, and protein)

  • Eat a veggie and protein (quinoa) nutrient dense, but modest calorie, soup at the beginning of a meal.
  • Have a large salad before a meal; 2 cups of leafy greens is equal to one serving. Just go easy on the salad dressing.
  • Enjoy raw veggies, leafy greens, or whole fresh fruits throughout the day.
  • Choose popcorn as a high fiber snack; 3 cups is equal to one serving. Wegmans Himalayan and Sea Salt popcorn comes in at 35 calories per cup! Linked is an article that describes the calorie and fat content of different preparation methods and brands.
  • Add chia seeds to yogurt, which pumps up the fiber and offers omega-3-fatty acids.
  • Supplement that lunch salad of greens and grilled chicken with healthy fats (eg, olive oil, olives, nuts, or avocado) and fiber (eg, chickpeas, beans). Eating a salad is good, but without fats and fiber, you’ll be starving an hour after finishing it.
  • Protein, for some people, can be satiating. Is this you? Linked is last week’s blog that lays out a consistent protein eating plan that promotes better muscle building and repair.


  • Eat at least 3 meals per day. When time is tight, try:
    • Kettlebell Kitchen or Johnny’s Take Away, two options for ordering at BIG.
    • The prepared food section at a market and focus on a protein (about the size of your smart phone), vegetable (a least two palm’s worth of cooked veg), and a whole grain carb or starchy vegetable, like butternut squash (one palm’s worth).
  • Have a snack if there is more than 5 hours between meals.
    • Protein + carb combination is ideal: hummus and vegetables, nuts or nut butter and fruit, Greek yogurt and fruit, oatmeal with nut butter added, or baked potato and cottage cheese as a few examples.

Heard it all before and not sure any of this will work? Consider the words of the man the U.S. is honoring on Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr. “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

Happy and healthful eating,

Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN

If the blogs on hunger have you….um, hungry, contact me at [email protected]