A common misconception is that you can’t cut calories and still feel full when you eat. Many people mistakenly assume that the more calories a food or a meal has, the more filling it will be when eaten. In fact, there are many foods which contain a lot of calories but won’t make you feel very full, causing you to eat even more of them before you want to stop. The trick to losing weight is to find the right low-calorie foods that still make you feel full. After all, even if you eat a low-calorie food, it will defeat the purpose if you have to eat excessive amounts of that food just to feel full.
The following is a list of some of the most filling low-calorie foods. Remember to pay attention to the preparation and serving size when you eat these foods as this can play a significant role in how many calories you are actually consuming.
Many people don’t think of fruits as a part of a hearty meal, but several fruits are actually very filling without having a lot of calories. Try citrus fruits, apples and melons, all of which contain very few calories but can help you to feel full. These are great as a snack to get you through the day since they will also give you a healthy dose of energy. They can also be substituted in a dessert to make it healthier. For instance, try cutting your normal portion of ice cream or cake in half and adding in some extra fruit as a topping instead.
One of the best tricks for losing weight is to add lots of vegetables to your diet. Not only are these vegetables low in calories, they can also make just about any meal much more filling. Instead of having plain rice as a side, add in vegetables like spinach, mushrooms, peas, carrots or onions, all of which will make this side much more filling than if it were left plain. Substituting veggies in your main course can also be a great way to cut calories and feel just as full. For instance, you can try adding more veggies to a sandwich, omelet or burrito while adding less cheese.
A great characteristic of beans is that they are very filling while containing very few calories. This starchy food really makes a meal seem much more dense, whether you’re adding them to a burrito, a soup or a chicken dish. Plus, there are a wide variety of beans that you can try to spice up the flavor in your meals. There are even some delicious recipes for making brownies that contain black beans.
Soups are a great choice when you are trying to eat healthier and lose weight. Just make sure that the soups you consume contain a lot of broth. These are generally much healthier and can be just as filling as a creamier soup. Load your broth with beans, veggies and lean meat for a delicious, filling and very low-calorie meal.
5. Low-Fat Dairy
There are several low-fat dairy products that make for healthy and filling snacks, such as string cheese and yogurt. Generally, if you choose low-fat versions of these products, it is a much healthier choice than a snack like crackers or chips. Additionally, low-fat dairy products can be substituted in some of your favorite recipes to make it healthier and have fewer calories. For instance, make your favorite mac and cheese with non-fat milk, light cream cheese and fat-free margarine instead of whole milk, full-fat cheese and butter, respectively.
6. Whole Grains
When it comes to calories, whole grains are much better for you than any food product made with refined or processed grains while still being just as tasty and satisfying. Items like brown rice, whole wheat pastas, whole wheat bread and even plain popcorn are all lower in calories than foods like croissants, pastries, white bread and doughnuts. Stick to these low-calorie option when planning out your meals and you’ll feel just as full with a fraction of the calories.
7. Lean Meat
Many people think that meats are the most filling food of all. Though you’ll be surprised at how much veggies, beans and whole grains can fill you up, you can still have those hearty, meaty meals without consuming too many calories. Your best options in this category are turkey and chicken breasts. This cut of meat tends to be particularly lean. To make it even healthier, bake or grill it instead of frying it and be sure to remove any skin and excess fat. In addition to turkey and chicken, you can also buy lean or extra lean ground beef at the grocery store.
Another “meaty” dish that contains relatively few calories is fish. Try salmon, tilapia or tuna for a great low-calorie meal. For any dishes containing these types of fish, use the same preparation techniques described above including removal of the skin and avoiding frying.