Instead of a healthy mid-afternoon snack of fruit (usually a banana or apple, or if it’s been a tough day, maybe a cookie), I had a cup of tea, hoping it would satiate my grumbling stomach. It did not. I kept drinking water hoping it might do the same. Instead, I felt light-headed and even a little punch-drunk in the afternoons. Even though I don’t drink (alcohol), my brain felt fuzzy. (Sound familiar? You’re not eating enough for breakfast—and 3 more morning-meal mistakes you’re probably making.)
Usually I eat around 6ish, but since I was so hungry from the no-snack rule, I was starving by 5. I also ate three pieces of chicken for dinner the first day of the experiment instead of my usual one—I felt like I couldn’t get full. My typical dinner is a big salad (lots of veggies), protein (about 4 ounces of chicken or turkey), and fruit. During my no-snacking month, I stuck to this, but suddenly found myself eating way too much of everything. Yes, fruit is good, but one dinner I ate two bananas, plus an orange.
And this, really, was the problem the whole month I did away with snacking: I was always hungry and lacking energy. I found myself becoming obsessed with food and couldn’t wait until mealtime, constantly thinking about what I would eat next.
Related: 8 Foods That Will Boost Your Energy When You’re Seriously Dragging, According To Nutritionists
Expert’s take: Turns out, I wasn’t eating the right food combo for dinner; I was skimping on fiber-filled whole grains that would actually help me stave off my hunger. “Whole grain foods and fruits and vegetables containing fiber help to keep you fuller, longer and also slow the breakdown of sugar, preventing blood sugar spikes,” says Laura Campbell, RD, a registered dietitian in Chicago. She suggests eating more blueberries, oats, chia seeds, and lentils, which all pack plenty of fiber.
Looking for healthy snack options? Try these stuffed grapes: