- Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are an excellent source of fiber, protein, antioxidants, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids, making them a nutritional powerhouse worth adding to your diet. Many health professionals argue that because they are hydrophilic, meaning they soak up water and expand to many times their size, they help you feel fuller for longer without packing in extra calories. Try sprinkling them into smoothies, oatmeal, or, for a rich but healthy dessert option, make a chia seed pudding using nut milk instead of water.
Oatmeal is loaded with dietary fiber, which helps us stay fuller for longer. On top of this, a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that the viscosity of oatmeal also has an impact on the perceived feeling of fullness. Making oatmeal your breakfast staple may make you far less likely to reach for a mid-morning snack, keeping your calorie intake on track early in the day and setting you up for success.
Apparently, there really are health benefits to eating an apple a day. At only 115 calories for a large apple, you can enjoy a sweet, satisfying crunch and a volume of food that will fill you up at snack time without sabotaging your diet. Apples are also full of an especially useful type of fiber called pectin, a nutrient that, according to a study by UCLA, can double the time it takes for your stomach to empty, making you feel fuller for twice as long.
A one-ounce serving of pistachios contains twelve percent of your daily recommended fiber, not to mention that they’re a great source of protein and healthy fats. Though nuts tend to have a high caloric content, the perception that they cause weight gain is misplaced, assuming you eat them in moderation. And for more reasons to add some nuts to your meal plan, discover the 40 Ways Nuts Fight Fat!
- Greek Yogurt
Most kinds of yogurt contain a range of healthy nutrients like protein, calcium, and zinc, as well as vitamins such as B6 and B12. But Greek yogurt’s thick, rich, and creamy texture leaves the impression of a far more indulgent treat, and features twice the protein and half the carbs per serving when compared to regular yogurt.
Want to hydrate and feel fuller in one fell swoop? Start by adding some cucumbers to your meal plan. At under 50 calories per eight-inch cucumber, you could eat them nearly indefinitely without worrying that they’ll hinder your diet success. Try tossing together a Mediterranean-style cucumber and tomato salad to eat before your main course, filling up on as much of these veggies as you need to feel satiated. By the time you get to your more calorie-dense entree, you'll be more than satisfied with just a few bites.
Avocados aren’t just delicious: they’re also a great way to stay fuller throughout the day. In fact, a 2013 study published in the Nutrition Journal concluded that adding a half an avocado to your meal makes you feel more full and reduces your chances of snacking before your next meal significantly. For tasty and creative ideas for incorporating this surprisingly healthy fruit into your diet, check out our list of 40 Delicious Ways to Eat More Avocado!
Tea is a great addition to your diet because it’s often full of belly fat-busting antioxidants, and it can help keep you hydrated throughout the day. It can also make you feel fuller after a meal by simply extending the ceremony of mealtime without adding in extra calories. Find out which teas pack the most punch for weight loss with our list of 20 Teas That Melt Belly Fat!
Eggs are a great way to start the day. Although each large egg contains just 70 calories, they pack a whopping 7 grams of filling protein. Better yet, research suggests these protein powerhouses can increase weight loss when compared to a similar amount of high-carb food. If you stick to using only one or two eggs yolks for flavor, you can make an omelet with as many egg whites as you like, filling you up without adding cholesterol or calories. If that’s not reason enough to make eggs a diet staple, discover why Eggs Are the Key to Better Health!
- Fatty Fish
With fewer calories than red meats, eating fatty fish can be a great way to get the protein you need with a lighter touch. Yet the omega-3 fatty acids in fish, particularly in salmon, albacore tuna, herring, trout, or mackerel, help you stay fuller for longer. Not a big fan of fish? Check out our list of 8 Surprising Omega-3 Foods!
- Sweet Potatoes
Though many view potatoes as off-limits for weight loss, sweet potatoes are actually a perfectly viable veggie option while shedding pounds. Not only that, but they give you the feeling that you’ve eaten something substantial at only 115 calories per one-cup serving. Considering their high water content and generous fiber content, these are an excellent alternative to your standard white potato. If you were holding out on your waistline’s behalf, it’s time to stop depriving yourself!
Studies have shown that soup is a great way to stay fuller for longer, owing its satiety to the fact that blended food and water actually stay in the stomach for longer while your body processes the nutrients. On top of this, there are plenty of healthy and delicious options that are packed with veggies for vitamins and minerals and lean meats for protein. Just be sure to avoid pre-packaged soups with staggeringly high sodium levels or creamy soups that might sneak in more calories than you bargained for.
Pickles have two potential benefits for weight loss. First, at under 10 calories per pickle, their low caloric content allows you to crunch away without the fear of busting your calorie budget. Second, the vinegar in the brine has been shown to leave people feeling fuller and more satisfied than cucumbers without it, and the acetic acid it contains has been shown to contribute positively to weight loss. Though it is wise to be wary of the sodium content in pickles, if you were already about to reach for a salty snack like chips or cheese, pickles can hit the spot without depleting your calorie bank.
Smoothies help you feel fuller for longer for the same reason as soup: the blend of fiber, water, and other nutrients in the food help your body to retain it in your stomach for longer while you work to digest it. Additionally, you can choose to use fruits and veggies that are high in fiber, and add a dash of protein powder, a splash of nut milk, or a sprinkling of chia seeds to enhance its nutritional profile. And when you need a recipe to get you started, check out the 4 Best Zero Belly Smoothies for Weight Loss!
Artichokes have a long-standing reputation as a top weight loss food option, full of healthy vitamins and minerals such as fiber, magnesium, Vitamin C and chromium. A 100-gram serving of artichoke hearts (either fresh or canned in water) contains 4 grams of fiber and only 30 calories, making them an easy and filling salad topper or roasted side dish. They are also a natural diuretic, which can help you successfully lose water weight in no time.
According to the journal Nutrition, eating a pear before meals can result in significant weight loss, with several of the same health benefits of eating apples. Each medium sized pear contains 6 grams of fiber, which helps to fill you up and slows down digestion of the food you eat after. To learn more about fruits that can help eliminate fat, discover the 25 Best Fruits for a Flatter Belly!
- Whole Grain Bread
It may seem like a fair rule of thumb to forsake bread entirely while losing weight, but with only 70 calories per slice, a piece of whole grain toast or bread can be a satisfying and delicious way to curb your appetite. Instead of topping it with fat-heavy butter or sugary jam, use it to dip in your already filling soup or top it off with avocado and tomato to make a healthy bruschetta-style snack. Making the occasional concession for the right type of bread can keep you from reaching for other carb-heavy treats.
Cantaloupe is composed of 90 percent water, which is why you could eat a full medium sized melon by yourself and only consume about 180 calories. They’re also full of soluble fiber, which lines your intestines to slow your digestion, keeping you fuller for longer. If all that melon isn’t enough for you, try adding a scoop of Greek yogurt or cottage cheese to make a complete and protein-rich breakfast or snack.
Parsnips often fly under the radar in the vegetable world, but they can make a really great alternative to the standard white potato, a simple swap that allows you to cook all the same potato-based recipes with healthier results. With 7 grams of fiber per serving and a slightly sweeter taste than white potatoes, parsnips help you stay full for longer without turning to a starchier substitute.
- Grass-Fed Beef
Eating lean, grass-fed beef can be your quickest route to protein, the king of weight loss nutrients. It can help you build muscle, lose fat, stay energized, and even boost your metabolism. And because it takes a while for your body to process, meat can also help you stay fuller longer. Better yet, grass-fed beef is a great source of omega-3s, which can help reduce inflammation throughout your body, making you healthier in the long run. For more ideas on which meats to make mealtime staples, check out these 25 Ways to Pick the Healthiest Meat!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably already know that kale is healthy for you. A great ingredient to feature in your weight loss meal plan, kale is considered one of the most nutritionally-dense foods you can eat. A one-cup serving is only 33 calories, yet it comes fully stocked with more than your daily recommended values of vitamins A, K, and C. Though it contains enough fiber to keep you full on its own, try sauteing with a bit of vinegar and garlic for a stronger flavor that will keep you satisfied for hours.
Yes, nuts are high in calories and fat, but research shows that they also help to curb your appetite. According to the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adding 1.5 ounces of almonds to a person’s daily diet resulted in study subjects reporting reduced hunger throughout the day. So, grab a small handful, or try our almond-infused #1 Smoothie for Fat Burn!
- Low-Fat Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a nutritionist’s dream. At under 200 calories per cup, it contains 28 grams of protein—a staggeringly high number for pretty much any food item outside of the meat —helping your body feel fuller longer. If you’ve chosen to pursue your weight loss goals with a vegetarian diet, cottage cheese is also a great way to meet your protein needs. Or, if you need tips on going animal-free, check out why veganism is The Most Effective Diet Ever!
Most of us don’t drink nearly enough water, but here’s some inspiration for you: a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that increased water intake was associated with increased weight loss. It can often be difficult to distinguish between hunger and thirst, so if you start to feel a pick peckish, reach for a glass of water first. It will fill you up and give you enough time to slow down and think about whether you’re actually craving that burger.
Legumes are truly superfoods, loaded with protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. The umbrella term of “legume” can mean beans, peas, alfalfa, lentils, or a number of other pods, giving you a range of recipe options that achieve the same benefits. A 100-gram serving of chickpeas contains 68 percent of your daily recommended fiber and 38 percent of your recommended protein, leaving you feeling full and satiated throughout the day. If you’re still not convinced, learn more with the 40 Reasons to Eat More Beans!