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Add This to Lunch to Beat Afternoon Munchies

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You won't need willpower to fend off afternoon snack attacks if you add this hearty legume to your midday meal: chickpeas.

Whether your lunch includes a sandwich made with creamy hummus or a hearty Greek salad topped with garbanzos -- adding about half a cup of chickpeas to your daily diet can cut cravings for salty, sugary, and fatty snacks, according to research.

Fabulously Filling Fiber
That's exactly what happened in a recent study where adults made chickpeas a part of their normal diet for 4 weeks. They were given a variety of tasty chickpea recipes to use and were instructed to keep a food diary. And the study participants not only reported a nosedive in hunger and overall calorie intake but also ate far fewer bad-for-the-waistline processed snack foods as well. The researchers think the naturally occurring drop in snacking was most likely due to the high-fiber content in chickpeas. (Related: Improve your snacking habits. Stock your kitchen with these 10 healthy 100-calorie snack foods.)

Bathroom Bonus
Feeling a little -- ahem -- bound up? Well, the folks in the study also reported an improvement in their bathroom habits -- more frequent and easier bowel movements. Again, most likely thanks to the fiber in chickpeas. But if you decide to add more chickpeas to your diet, do so gradually to help reduce the chance of any gastrointestinal discomfort from a sudden increase in fiber. Anyway, an easier time in the bathroom is just one more reason to love the humble chickpea. (Related: For a creamy Mediterranean twist on burgers, try this recipe: Chickpea Burgers with Tahini Sauce.)

And here are a bunch of other reasons to love chickpeas:

Find out what eight study snacks can help make your grandkids smarter.

RealAge Benefit

Training your taste buds to love foods that thwart aging can make your RealAge at least 3 years younger. Take the RealAge Test!

References

Chickpea supplementation in an Australian diet affects food choice, satiety and bowel health. Murty, C. M. et al., Appetite 2010 Apr;54(2):282-288.

Actively patrolling your health can make your RealAge as much as 12 years younger. Take the RealAge Test  Copyright 2010 RealAge

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