What if you could feel full, but eat less while losing weight? Sounds magical right? If losing weight is one of your goals, chances are you’ll have to cut back on empty calories. Cutting calories sometimes leaves you hungry, which isn’t going to kill you, but let’s be honest, most of us prefer not to feel that way—so how can we cut calories and not feel the pangs? Here are a few tricks:
1.) Fiber! Fiber is awesome. It adds volume to food without adding calories. Your stomach isn’t smart. It knows two things: empty and full. Filling up on bulky fiber means your stomach will feel full longer. Fiber also slows the speed of the food leaving your stomach and, once the food does leave, fibrous foods stimulate your body to release hormones that tell your brain that you’ve had enough. High fiber foods include things like bran, veggies, beans and whole grains.
2.) Swap Starches for Protein. The quicker your body converts food to glucose and absorbs it into the bloodstream, the quicker you’ll feel hungry again. Carbs go through that whole process pretty fast. Protein takes longer. That means if you’re eating protein, you’ll feel fuller longer and it will be longer before you’re reaching for a snack. Try swapping some of those carb calories with a little extra protein and you’ll feel the difference.
3.) Water. Back to your stomach… Water fills you up and costs you zero calories! Drink a glass or two before eating and you’ll eat less. Same thing could be said for water-rich foods. For instance, 100 calories of grapes will keep you satisfied longer than 100 calories of raisins will. Start off your meal with a low-sodium soup or a nice big salad and you’ll get the same filling effect.
Keep in mind, calories still count, but if you can replace some of those starches and sugars with protein, water and fiber, you’ll feel satisfied longer; and, aiming for more protein, water and fiber has the added benefit of steering you toward foods you should be eating anyway: more lean meats, veggies and whole grains!