Whatever kind of diet or nutrition plan you’re on, there will be times when you‘re feeling peckish. These are the risky moments when your decisions could either make or break your weight loss success
Fortunately, there are plenty of healthy foods out there that are both filling and low in calories but first, it’s important to understand why some foods make you feel more full than others and this is all about satiety….
Satiety is a term used to explain the feeling of fullness and loss of appetite that happens after eating. A scale called the satiety index measures this effect. It was developed in a 1995 study that tested 240-calorie servings of 38 foods.
The foods were ranked according to their ability to satisfy hunger. Foods that scored higher than 100 were considered more filling, while foods that scored under 100 were considered less filling.
In short, eating foods that score higher on the satiety index can help you eat fewer calories overall. However, keep in mind that just because something keeps you fuller for longer doesn’t mean it’s more nutrient-dense.
Here’s some suggestions for foods which will keep you feeling full:
Potatoes have been demonized in the past, but they’re actually very healthy and nutritious.
Cooked, unpeeled potatoes are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and potassium
Potatoes are high in water and carbs and contain moderate amounts of fiber and protein. They also contain almost no fat. Compared with other high carb foods, potatoes are very filling.
In fact, boiled potatoes scored a 323 on the satiety index, which is the highest number of all 38 foods tested. They scored nearly 7 times higher than croissants, which scored the lowest
One study in 14 people found that those who consumed a meal with meat, vegetables, and potatoes felt less hungry and more satisfied than those who ate the same meal with rice or pasta instead
Theres no avoiding it - oats are great for you when it comes to feeling full. Oats are rich in soluble fibre and are thought to have a positive affect on your hormones resulting in you being likely to eat less.
Because soluble fibre needs liquid to thicken up, oats seem to be the most filling when they’re cooked in water or milk to make porridge
A recent study found that women who were overweight reported that they consumed less food for up to 36 hours when they ate eggs for breakfast, compared to other breakfasts
That could be because eggs contain around 5-6g of protein which digests at a slower rate than carbohydrate-based foods and helps keep you full for longer. But that’s not all. A small study also suggests that eggs could suppress the production of the hunger hormone (ghrelin) which may help stop the urge to snack
Add hard-boiled eggs to your salad for a low-calorie protein, or try egg whites and cucumber with salt and pepper for a snack
Greek yogurt is a great source of protein that can help curb cravings and promote weight loss.
Though the exact numbers vary between brands and flavours, a 150-gram serving of Greek yogurt typically provides about 130 calories and 11 grams of protein.
One study in 20 women examined how women who ate yogurt experienced less hunger, but also consumed 100 fewer calories at dinner than those who ate crackers or chocolate
What’s more, it’s relatively high in water, so it adds volume in your stomach which will keep you feeling full.
Of course, not all yogurts are created equal. Plain yogurt is a better choice than the flavoured stuff, since it’s free from added sugars which, in excess, have been linked to increased risk of disease.
Fish is loaded with high quality protein. It’s also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential fats that must be obtained from food.
According to one 2008 study, omega-3 fatty acids could increase the feeling of fullness in people with overweight or obesity
Additionally, some studies indicate that the protein in fish may have a stronger effect on fullness than other sources of protein. On the satiety index, fish scores higher than all other protein-rich foods, including eggs and beef. Fish had the second highest score of all the foods tested
Liquids are often considered to be less filling than solid foods, although the evidence is mixed
However, soups are a bit different. Research shows that soups may actually be more filling than solid meals containing the same ingredients
In one study, volunteers consumed either a solid meal, chunky soup, or smooth soup that had been put through a food processor. Feelings of fullness and the rate at which the food left the stomach were then measured.
Interestingly, the smooth soup had the greatest impact on fullness and the slowest rate of stomach emptying, followed by the chunky soup
It will come of no surprise to you to hear that vegetables are incredibly nutritious. They’re loaded with all sorts of vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds.
Vegetables are also high volume, low calorie foods. They contain fiber and water, which add bulk to your meals and helps fill you up.
Moreover, vegetables take some time to chew and are very satisfying in that way. One study found that eating a salad before a meal of pasta reduced overall calorie intake compared with eating pasta alone
Here is a link to a BUZZFEED website which has some amazing low calorie filling meal suggestions for breakfast that you can make at home without needing to spend a fortune on fancy ingredients
Here is another one from the BBC Good Food guide which has 57 recipes for you to try ranging from porridge to turmeric latte!
Staying full for as long as possible without resorting to snacks is key to weight loss.
Don’t stop including snacks in your daily and weekly plans but just be sensible as to how much and how often
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