The 5 Best Foods to Help You Feel Full – Lose Weight without Losing Your Mind
A diet that leaves you constantly hungry is a diet that won’t last very long; certainly not long enough to get you the results you need. Not only will you ditch the diet, you’ll also be likely to binge on high-calorie, high-carb comfort foods to fill that empty space in your stomach. The best foods to help you feel full are those that keep you satisfied without overdoing the calories.
In order to make the best food choices when you’re on a diet, you need to have a basic understanding of how metabolism works. That lesson could easily fill several pages, but here’s what you really need to know. Your body metabolizes food in a certain order: carbs first, then proteins and then fats. This is why a candy bar or soda will give you a quick burst of energy, while a chicken breast will fill you up longer but provide little in the way of a boost.
This is also why food combining is such an important part of any healthy diet, especially one in which you’re trying to lose weight. Pairing a carb-rich food such as a mango with a protein- or fat-dense food such as nuts or turkey will slow the digestive process, giving you steady energy and a sense of fullness, without the energy spike and the almost immediate energy crash.
That said, there are several foods, including carbs, proteins and fats, which are especially good at keeping you full and helping you to not run screaming for the nearest vending machine.
These are in no particular order; they’re all excellent choices if you need to feel full while still losing weight.
It may be annoying to hear, but all of that diet advice about drinking plenty of water is true. Aside from the fact that most people are seriously under-hydrated, water aids weight loss in several ways. It fills space in your stomach, helping you to feel full and avoid eating calories just to “fill that empty space.” It also helps your digestion and your metabolism to work more efficiently, which rids your body of toxins, fats and excess calories that will otherwise take up residence in your organs and on your butt.
Adding watermelon right after water may seem redundant, but it isn’t. Yes, watermelon is 88% water and therefore serves the same purpose as water. However, the other 12% of watermelon is comprised of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber attracts water from elsewhere in your digestive system, forming a very slowly digested gel. This not only makes you feel full; it also slows the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream, keeping your blood sugar steady and your head off of your desk. And you get all of this for about 80 calories per huge slice.
Psyllium husk isn’t actually a food product, but you do ingest it and it can have a huge impact on both feeling full and losing weight, so it’s one of the most important items on this list. Psyllium husk comes in powdered form and is completely tasteless. It’s the main ingredient in products like Metamucil, but it’s not just for constipation. Just a teaspoon of this delightful item added to smoothies, protein shakes or your morning cereal will deliver a walloping dose of insoluble fiber that will keep you full for hours. As a bonus, it has zero calories.
Many people think quinoa is a grain and for good reason: it can stand in for oats, rice and several other grains in both sweet and savory dishes. However, quinoa is actually a seed that is loaded with fiber, protein and Omega-3 fats. One cup of quinoa has more protein in it than a large steak, more Omega-3 fats than most fish and enough fiber to stay with you for hours. Try it in parfaits, as a hot cereal or as a substitute for brown rice or risotto.
“Yogurt is yogurt”, you say? No, it isn’t. Most commercial yogurts have a ton of sugar and very little protein, usually around 7g per container. They’re okay for a sweet treat but won’t do much to keep you going through the day. On the other hand, Greek yogurt has twice the protein at an average of 14g and is processed with far less sugar than most regular yogurt. Since your body can only digest about 8g of protein per hour, Greek yogurt is a far better bet than that “diet” yogurt you’ve been eating.
A Few More Foods That Should Be Your Friends
There are several other foods that can help power you through your day without adding a ton of sugar, fat and calories to your backside. Most of them are good for you for the same reasons as our top five:
Nuts and Seeds:
Heart-healthy nuts such as black walnuts and almonds and seeds such as sunflower seeds deliver satisfying Omega-3 fats in a nice little fiber package. A handful of these crunchy treats will satisfy the urge to gnaw better than those potato chips in your desk and they won’t torpedo your diet. Avoid anything salted or honey-roasted.
Fibrous Fruits and Veggies:
Go for produce that’s packed with fiber and you’ll keep your stomach full and your metabolism humming. Sweet treats like apples, oranges and mangoes are good choices. Veggies like celery, cabbage, root vegetables and broccoli are also great.
The days of believing that low-fat diets work have been over for a long time. Fat is necessary for fullness, flavor, a healthy heart and the transport of vitamins and minerals. If you find yourself hungry all of the time, you may not be getting enough fat. Remember, fat is digested last, so it stays with you the longest. Go for olive oil, avocadoes, fatty fish, nuts, seeds and coconut oil.
Being on a diet doesn’t mean starving for weeks or months on end. In fact, being hungry is the first step toward failure and disappointment. Load your daily diet with these foods and you’ll not only lose weight, but you’ll stay happy while you’re doing it.