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How to make all your meals more filling (and gut-healthy)

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Photo: Stocksy/Guille Faingold

If you have a habit of tearing into your snack drawer at work around 11 a.m. trying to find something to hold you over until lunch, a new study has some intel on how you can switch up your morning meal and stay full longer.

It turns out that eating food in liquid form—AKA smoothies and soups—tricks your body into being satisfied sooner, and for a longer period of time, according to two studies conducted at the Nottingham Diseases Center in the UK and published in The Journal of Nutrition.

The nutrients are absorbed into the body at a slower rate, and—bonus!—more evenly distributed in the gut than solid food.

Researchers compared the effects of the same meals in sold and liquid form, on 22 volunteers. So for instance, the participants were fed a meal of chicken, veggies, and a glass of water—then, at a another time, the same ingredients were blended into a soup.

After eating the soup, the test subjects were full an entire half hour longer—even though they consumed the same amount of food. (Some pretty good info to keep in mind for those days when you know you won’t get a chance to eat lunch until after 2 p.m.)

Researchers discovered that when you have food in liquid form, the nutrients are separated from the non-nutrients (like water) faster. But after that separation, the nutrients are absorbed into the body at a slower rate, and—bonus!—more evenly distributed in the gut than solid food, which the body has to work a bit harder to break down.

And of course, then there’s the whole mind-gut connection happening, so your microbiome tells your brain that you can wait awhile to eat again. So not only are smoothies and soups easier for your body to digest, they will keep you full longer. Maybe that $20 superfood smoothie might be worth it after all?

Take this intel and run with it with these smoothie and soup recipes.