Here’s the dilemma. You’re told to diet to lose weight, and it’s true you then need to count calories. But the very foods you choose can either fill you up or leave you wanting more. Fiber, aeration, crunch, and protein are just some of the key elements to filling up. Foods that take time to eat are another key to feeling full. Here are ten foods that make the cut:
Crunch and fiber can be found in apples and** pears**, and there are a number of seasonal varieties to choose from. With about 100 calories per serving and 4-6 grams of fiber, the time it takes to eat these fruits can also help you to conquer a craving. Baked apples and poached pears can be delicious decadent desserts as well, just watch the added sugar. You also get the benefit of vitamins and other nutrients.
Potatoes take a lot of heat, mostly because many people have decided to shun carbohydrates, and also because so many of the preparation techniques, like frying, end up adding a hefty boost of unhealthy calories. A simple baked potato actually ranks very high on the satiety scale and is packed with nutrients. A medium potato averages about 165 calories, 5 grams of protein, and about 3 grams of fiber. It’s the resistant starch in potatoes that is credited with helping to satisfy hunger. Top with low fat cottage cheese and cinnamon for a tasty protein boost
Beans and lentils can make a soup or cup of chili incredibly satisfying. Sans meat, beans in recipes help to fill you up because of they deliver protein and fiber. Soybeans are complete proteins, meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids, but all beans (and lentils) can help to fill you up without the saturated fat that accompanies meat proteins. Just remember to rinse them well if canned, to remove sodium. You can also make a chickpea-based hummus as a dip for cruditÃ©s. A serving of lentils has about 13 grams of protein and 11 grams of fiber. No wonder they’re so filling!
Nuts provide crunch, fiber, protein, and loads of nutrients. And because nuts are portable, they make the perfect on-the-go snack. A serving size is about 160 calories. I love pistachio nuts in the shell, because they’re small, so on average you get more nuts in a serving size, and the shelling helps to take time, adding to the snack experience. Just remember to buy unprocessed nuts to avoid added oils and salt.
Fermented foods like sauerkraut and** kimch** i are low calorie, crunchy, and can work as a side salad or topping on a sandwich. You can eat quite a hefty scoop for a very low "calorie cost." Fermented foods also contain probiotics that aid in digestion. Crunchy foods satisfy by forcing you to chew longer.
Greek yogurt has been trending for a while because it actually contains more protein, ounce for ounce, than regular yogurt. The key is to buy plain Greek yogurt and then add your own additional ingredients, which will help to keep the dish low calorie. Greek yogurt plus nuts is an incredibly filling snack or small meal.
It’s called the incredible, edible egg and two hard-boiled eggs will fill you up for about 140 calories. You get a big dose of protein and all nine essential amino acids. Hard-boiled eggs are portable and versatile - add them to a salad or just eat them on the run. If you do have high cholesterol, you may want to limit yourself to one egg daily. You can use egg alternatives or pourable egg whites for a scramble or omelet.
Berries may cost a bit more than other fruits (buy them in season or frozen to limit cost) but they are worth it because they have so much fiber. Raspberries have 8 grams of fiber per cup, and blueberries in particular can be a great frozen treat. If you make a parfait with Greek yogurt, nuts and berries, it will probably curb your hunger for hours.
Popcorn helps you to address the munchies, but for less calories, less unhealthy fat, and more fiber, than most other typical crunchy snack foods. The key is to air pop it and add more flavor with dried herbs or salt alternatives. Four cups of air popped popcorn have about 150 calories and 3 grams of fiber, plus a small boost of protein.
A tablespoon of flaxseed has about 37 calories and 2 grams of fiber. You can sprinkle it on salad, add it to a soup or smoothie, or add it to traditional oatmeal to bump up the satiating fiber just a bit. An added bonus is the omega-3 fatty acids it has. Just remember to buy ground flaxseed, or to grind it yourself. Whole flaxseed will pass through your digestive system without being digested.
Carbonated drinks like club soda deserve special mention. A recent study shows that aerated drinks can help to control hunger and reduce appetite. Just remember that your choices should be zero-calorie. You can add a spritz of lemon, lime or orange to club soda, add unsweetened tea, or drop in some fruit slices to add flavor.
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Known as The HealthGal, expert contributor Amy Hendel is a popular medical and lifestyle reporter, nutrition and fitness expert, columnist, and brand ambassador, as well as a health coach. Trained as a physician assistant, she maintains a health coach private practice in New York and Los Angeles. Author of The Four Habits of Healthy Families, you can find her on Twitter @HealthGal1103 and on Facebook at TheHealthGal. Her personal mantra is “Fix it first with food, fitness, and lifestyle.”