One of the quickest ways most people ruin their low calorie diet is by getting really hungry. This causes them to binge eat and then they lose the results they just gained.
Satiety is a term used to explain the feeling of fullness and loss of appetite that happens after eating. A scale called the satiety index measures this effect.
The foods were ranked against white bread according to their ability to satisfy hunger. Foods that scored higher than 100% were considered more filling, while foods that scored under 100% were considered less filling, while white bread scored 100%.
In short, eating foods that score higher on the satiety index can help you eat fewer calories overall. However, keep in mind that just because something keeps you fuller for longer doesn’t mean it’s more nutrient-dense.
Filling foods tend to have the following characteristics:
High in protein: Studies show that protein is the most filling macronutrient. It changes the levels of several satiety hormones, including ghrelin and glucagon-like peptide.
High in fiber: Fiber provides bulk and helps you feel full for longer. It may slow stomach emptying and increase digestion time.
Low energy density: This means that a food is low in calories for its weight.
High in volume: Some foods contain a lot of water or air, which may help promote satiety.
Whole, unprocessed foods are also generally more filling than processed foods and offer added health benefits.
In no particular order, here are the best low calorie foods to feel full and therefore assist with weight loss.
Potatoes have been demonized in the past, but they’re actually very healthy and nutritious. They also scored the highest on the satiety index with a 323, which to me makes them one of the best low calorie foods.
Cooked, unpeeled potatoes are also a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and potassium. They contain almost no fat and are high in water and carbs and contain moderate amounts of fiber and protein.
Compared with other high carb foods, potatoes are very filling. One study in 14 people found that those who consumed a meal with meat, vegetables, and potatoes felt less hungry and more satisfied than those who ate the same meal with rice or pasta instead
Some evidence indicates that part of the reason why potatoes are so filling is that they contain a protein called proteinase inhibitor 2, which may suppress appetite.
Boiled potatoes are very filling and scored the highest of all the foods on the satiety index. They can fill you up and help you eat fewer calories in total.
Oats are right up there as one of the best low calorie foods, because they’re not only low in calories but also high in protein and fiber that keep you feeling full so you won’t snack or binge between meals.
A 1/2-cup (40-gram) serving of dry oats has just 140 calories but packs 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber, both of which can have a significant impact on your hunger and appetite.
Oatmeal is a fantastic low calorie food that increases the feeling of fullness and reduces hunger and calorie intake at the next meal.
Greek yogurt is a great source of protein that can help curb cravings and promote weight loss.
Though the exact numbers vary between brands and flavors, a 2/3-cup (150-gram) serving of plain Greek yogurt typically provides about 130 calories and 11 grams of protein.
Someone who eats a high-protein yogurt snack will experience less hunger and consume fewer calories at dinner when compared to someone who eats an unhealthy high-fat snack like chocolate or crackers. This is because high-protein Greek yogurt helps reduce hunger and increase feelings of fullness compared to lower-protein snacks
Greek yogurt is high in protein and linked to less hunger, subdued calorie intake and increased feelings of fullness.
Another great low calorie food are berries, including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that can optimize your health and their high fiber content also boosts weight loss and reduces hunger. Berries are also a great source of pectin, a type of dietary fiber that has been shown to slow stomach emptying and increase feelings of fullness in human and animal studies
For example, 1 cup (148 grams) of blueberries supplies just 84 calories but packs 3.6 grams of fiber, the fiber also helps cut calorie consumption to aid weight loss by giving a feeling of fullness.
Berries are a great low calorie food that are high in fiber and pectin, which slow the emptying of your stomach and promote feelings of fullness.
Eggs are extremely nutrient-dense, as they’re low in calories but rich in many vital nutrients. A single large egg has approximately 78 calories, 6 grams of protein and a wide array of important vitamins and minerals.
Studies suggest that starting your day with a serving of eggs can reduce hunger and boost fullness. If you eat an egg for breakfast rather than a bagel you will feel a greater feeling of fullness and consume fewer calories later in the day.
This is because a high-protein breakfast could decrease snacking, slow the emptying of your stomach and reduce levels of ghrelin, the hormone responsible for hunger.
Eggs are packed with protein and make a superb low-calorie breakfast choice that will stave off hunger.
Thanks to its high fiber content, popcorn tops the charts as one of the most filling low calorie foods.
Though there are only 31 calories in 1 cup (8 grams) of air-popped popcorn, it boasts 1.2 grams of dietary fiber which is up to 5% of your daily fiber needs. Not only does fiber slow your digestive process to promote fullness, but it can also stabilize blood sugar to prevent hunger and cravings.
Additionally, popcorn can help reduce appetite and enhance feelings of fullness more than many other popular snack foods. However, keep in mind that these benefits apply to plain air-popped popcorn. Many ready-made varieties are prepared with a lot of unhealthy fats, artificial flavorings and added salt or sugar, which greatly increases the calorie content. A healthier alternative to butter is melted coconut oil, just keep in mind this is a fat that is very calorie dense and should be used sparingly as a source of fat for the day.
Popcorn is high in fiber, which can slow your digestion and stabilize blood sugar. It also reduces hunger and promotes satisfaction better than other snacks.
Fish is rich in protein and heart-healthy fats.
For instance, a 4 ounce (112 gram) serving of cod provides 20 grams of protein and 90 calories. We have already discussed how increasing protein intake can decrease appetite and reduce levels of ghrelin, that’s what makes fish a great low calorie food. What’s more, fish protein may be especially beneficial for reducing hunger levels and appetite.
To cut calorie consumption even further, opt for lean fish like cod, flounder, halibut or sole over higher-calorie options like salmon, sardines or mackerel.
Fish is high in protein, which can increase feelings of fullness and reduce appetite and hunger.
Cottage cheese is a great source of protein and an excellent snack for those looking to lose weight.
One cup (226 grams) of low-fat cottage cheese packs about 26 grams of protein and just 180 calories. If you’ve been reading along you know that upping your protein intake from foods like cottage cheese can decrease appetite and hunger levels.
Cottage cheese and eggs had similar effects on fullness throughout the day, making cottage cheese another great breakfast choice. If you don’t enjoy plain cottage cheese try adding fruit: like berries or pineapple, a drop of honey, or even hot sauce.
Cottage cheese is high in protein, which can decrease appetite and keep you feeling full.
Because of their high protein and fiber content, legumes such as beans, peas and lentils can be incredibly filling.
One cup (198 grams) of cooked lentils provides about 230 calories, as well as 15.6 grams of fiber and nearly 18 grams of protein. Legumes have a powerful effect on hunger and appetite.
The high fiber content of legumes means eating a high-protein meal with beans and peas increases feelings of fullness and reduces appetite and hunger more than a high-protein meal with veal and pork.
Legumes, which are high in protein and fiber, are associated with reduced appetite and hunger, as well as increased feelings of fullness.
Eating a wide variety of filling foods with plenty of protein and fiber can fight cravings and decrease hunger to make weight loss easier than ever.
Paired with an active lifestyle and well-rounded diet, these low-calorie foods can keep you feeling satisfied throughout the day preventing you from snacking and helping you achieve your goals sooner.