Choosing to follow a raw food diet, whether full or part time, offers a variety of benefits to take advantage of. Because of the sheer volume that you’ll need to eat to meet your caloric needs on a daily basis, your intake of nutritious foods is important. Nutritious foods contain high quality vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that are not destroyed in a raw state like they are when they’re heated. Sure, some nutritional elements, like lycopene, tend to increase in bioavailability so your body can easily absorb it. But is that extra kick of lycopene really worth destroying hundreds, if not thousands, of other beneficial nutrients found in tomatoes? Probably not! Besides, there are plenty of fresh foods you can eat to get your fair share of lycopene without having to cook them – think watermelon, pink grapefruit, and guavas.
But a challenge you may face on a raw food diet is staying full and satisfied throughout the day. It can also be a challenge to get enough calories and nutrition into your diet if you don’t eat enough fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats in moderation like nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut and olives. Macronutrient needs differ for everyone, whether you eat a raw or cooked food diet. The key thing to remember is that we all need healthy carbs, plant protein, and some healthy fats in each of our diets. So, the first thing to do for raw food success is to be sure you’re eating enough and not omitting one group of macronutrients.
Now, to help you stay full, here are some tips and tricks I like to use that show you can eat completely raw without feeling hungry all day, and to help meet your body’s needs.
Fill up on Fruit
Fruit is rich in fiber, which will help to keep you full whether you eat it as part of a meal or alone as a snack. It also happens to be loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants so you can’t go wrong by filling up on fruit! Don’t treat fruit as something that has to be eaten like candy (in small doses) – the sugar in fruit isn’t the same as sugar found in junk food. Because the natural sugar is combined with fiber, it gets absorbed a lot more slowly into the bloodstream than say, high fructose corn syrup, or even plain old sugar itself.
Consider eating fruit as a whole meal by whipping up a smoothie filled with a few bananas, a cup of berries, and some freshly squeezed orange juice for good measure. Fruit makes an excellent dessert too, which will keep your tummy satisfied until its breakfast time without downing a bunch of fat or junk sugar in the process. Add lots of fruit to your salads, eat a couple pieces with your wrap, and enjoy it like you would crudités as an appetizer. The options are literally limitless.
Drink Lots of Water
While water won’t give you the nutrition you get from whole foods, it is certainly an important part of any healthy diet and lifestyle, and it can help to keep you feeling full between meals. Staying hydrated can increase your energy levels, help boost your metabolism, and help your body more easily get rid of unwanted toxins that may be lingering within. Drink a large glass of water after each meal, and reach for a glass with snacks to extend your full feeling throughout the afternoon.
If you have a hard time drinking lots of plain water (let’s face it – it can get boring!) consider adding some flavor enhancers to it. A couple drops of peppermint, vanilla, or orange extract will do the trick. You can also infuse your water by adding lots of fresh herbs like (mint and basil) to it and then letting it steep in the fridge overnight. A fresh yet quick fix is to squeeze an orange or a lime into your glass. Another tasty option is juicing a handful of grapes or a kiwi and stirring the fresh juice into your water.
Include Healthy Fats
Healthy, whole fats are a great addition to your raw food diet because like fruit, they have lots of fiber and the fats are sure to curb your appetite between meals. Nuts and seeds, avocados, coconut, and durian (a fruit) are all excellent whole fat foods. As opposed to oils, these whole food fats maintain their nutrients as you enjoy them.
You can eat them a handful at a time or blend them into your smoothies, dressings, sauces, and soups to create rich flavors and extravagant textures. If you don’t have a high powered blender, mix your nuts until they become a powder before putting any other ingredients into the machine. This will help to ensure that you don’t end up with unwanted chunks of nuts and seeds. Avocados and coconuts can be used the same way as nuts and seeds, and they also make excellent vegan ice cream ingredients too.
Indulge in Quick Snacks
Snacks are the name of the game when it comes to staying full while eating raw. While raw fruits and vegetables are high in nutrients, they tend to be pretty low in calories so you may find that eating a sufficient amount of calories isn’t possible, or even desirable, at each and every meal time of the day. The answer is to keep plenty of convenient snacks around so you can fuel up while you’re on the go and stay satisfied until you can sit down to a full meal. Store carrot and celery sticks with some date paste in your vehicle’s glove compartment so you can chow down while you drive. Keep some mixed nuts, raisins, and cacao nibs in your desk at work for a quick trail mix fix. And of course, you should always keep a couple pieces of fruit, like oranges or apples, in your bag.
Focus on Meal Planning
One of the easiest ways to feel like you’re starving while following a raw food diet is to skip meals. If you don’t make a plan for the week ahead, you run the risk of doing just that. Spend a few minutes each week jotting down meals ideas, and prepare your snacks for the week ahead so you don’t have to worry about it on a daily basis. Dehydrating a couple trays of crackers and fruit will help to fill in the gaps.
You may even want to prep your salads, dips, and sauces ahead of time so you can easily throw a meal together when time is really tight. You can make salsa, salad dressing, sauce for zucchini noodles, and dip for your crudités. The more you plan ahead, the more prepared you’ll be for the surprises and roadblocks you’ll undoubtedly experience in life.
With these tips and tricks on your side, you’ll never have to worry about being left in the hunger zone throughout the day. Also see our Raw Vegan Meal Plan for more ideas and delicious recipes! Do you have a tip of your own to share?
Lead Image Source: Clean and Healthy Raw Veggie Rice Paper Rolls