Stay fuller while eating fewer calories by making these satisfying foods part of your diet.
There's no doubt that there are many ways to lose weight, but making small changes to your diet that you can stick with is one of the best ways to not only lose weight but keep it off. Rather than following a very restrictive diet or completely eliminating a food group, consider slowly replacing some of the calorie-dense foods you eat with these four types of food. They will fill you up, keep you from feeling hungry and are loaded with nutrients that are good for your health. Plus, they're delicious!
About 70 percent of what we eat and drink is considered ultra-processed, according to a July 2019 study. Many of these foods are high in sodium, saturated fat, added sugars, artificial flavors and preservatives. They contribute empty calories and are designed to keep you craving more. On the other hand, whole foods are full of nutrients and fiber, leaving you feeling fuller for longer. Most are relatively low in calories and are a great addition to your diet if you're trying to lose weight.
Examples of whole foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and lean protein, such as plain yogurt, fish, chicken and eggs.
Foods containing fiber fill you up without too many calories and keep you feeling satisfied for longer so you're less likely to overeat. Fiber slows digestion and is good for your heart, but about 95 percent of Americans don't get enough of this vital nutrient. Here are some high-fiber foods to add to your diet:
- Whole grains: quinoa, farro, wild rice, barley and oatmeal
- Vegetables: sweet potatoes, carrots, kale, broccoli and beets
- Fruit: pears, apples, strawberries and avocados
- Nuts, seeds and legumes: almonds, chia seeds and chickpeas
Protein requires more energy to digest than other types of nutrients, which makes you feel full and less hungry. It also helps to keep your metabolism going strong, which can promote weight loss. Good sources of lean protein include:
- White fish: Flounder, halibut, snapper, bass and cod have as much as 25g of protein in about 5 oz
- Greek yogurt: A 3.5 oz serving has 10g of protein
- Skinless chicken: A 3.5 oz serving has 25g of protein
- Extra-firm Tofu: A 3 oz serving has 9g of protein
- Eggs: Eggs contain 6g of protein; egg whites have 3.6g of protein
Foods that contain a lot of water are generally low in calories. These fruits and vegetables are not only satisfying and refreshing, but they're full of nutrients and fiber. That's a win-win when it comes to your weight and your health.
- Watermelon: Has 46 calories per cup, is 92 percent water and contains fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A and magnesium.
- Cantaloupe: Rich in vitamin A and fiber, it's also 90 percent water and only 60 calories per cup.
- Oranges: At only 45 calories, this juicy fruit is a great source of vitamin C, fiber and potassium.
- Cucumber: The most hydrating of vegetables, it is 95 percent water and only 16 calories per cup.
Changing your diet can be hard, but by filling up on some of these healthy foods you may find yourself eating fewer calories while still feeling satisfied. This can add up to long-term sustainable weight loss.
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Date Last Reviewed: November 16, 2023
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor
Medical Review: Jane Schwartz, RDN, CLT