Aerial of vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds, meats.

11 best low-calorie foods that will keep you full

Looking to shed a few pounds but struggling to reduce your food intake? Weight management isn’t necessarily about eating less, but rather about eating more in a healthier way.

According to MedlinePlus, a US National Library of Medicine website, eating healthy snacks between your meals can help keep you full.

There are many nutrient-dense, low-calorie foods that can help you feel full and prevent overeating.

These foods include fruits and vegetables, which are “the best low-calorie, high-volume foods,” said Roxana Ehsani, a dietitian-nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. News week.

Fruits and vegetables are high in nutrients, high in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and high in dietary fiber, which can help us stay more satisfied for longer, the nutritionist said.

Why foods high in volume and low in calories keep us full

The next time you go shopping, look for foods that are high in dietary fiber and water.

Ehsani explained, “Dietary fiber slows down the digestion of food, so it moves much more slowly through our digestive tract, which in turn provides our bodies with a constant release of energy over time, which helps to keeping our blood sugar and energy levels more stable. and dietary fiber provides bulk to our digestive tract, which helps keep our bowel movements more regular. “

Fruits and vegetables are “in high volume, which means high water content, which helps us hydrate and also fills our gut,” she added.

With fresh fruits and vegetables, “you get a plethora of valuable nutrients, not just empty calories,” notes the Mayo Clinic. “These foods also take longer to eat and are filling, which helps reduce your hunger.”

Aerial of vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds, meats.
A spread of vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds, nuts, meat, and fish, which are some of the best low-calorie, high-volume foods to keep you full.
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Ehsani noted that only about 10 percent of Americans manage to consume the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables. If you don’t want to eat them on your own, adding fruits and vegetables to meals can help you feel full and stick to your recommended daily amounts.

For example, you can add berries to your morning oatmeal, cereal, smoothie or slice of toast, or have dark leafy greens and tomato slices with your eggs or in sandwiches and wraps and add a variety. of vegetables for sautéing, rice, or pasta dishes.

Brighten things up by roasting your vegetables in the oven until they caramelize or are crispy in an air fryer, the nutritionist said.

Below, we take a look at some of the best low-calorie, high-volume foods to keep you full.

1. Potatoes

Potatoes often get a bad rap when it comes to weight control (due to french fries or other fatty potato dishes being considered high in fat).

However, baked potatoes can be part of a healthy diet, wrote Rachael Link, a registered dietitian, in an article for Healthline.

A large potato contains about 278 calories, 7.9 grams of protein and 6.6 grams of dietary fiber, according to NutritionData.

2. Watermelon

As the name suggests, watermelon has a high water content, so it will keep you hydrated and full. It’s also low in calories (one cup of fruit is only about 46 calories) and high in essential micronutrients such as vitamins A and C, according to Link.

Fresh slices of watermelon.
Fresh watermelon slices full of water and great for keeping you hydrated.
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3. Grapes

Continuing on the vein of the fruit, grapes are also high in volume but low in calories. A cup of fruit can be a great snack to relax you between meals, explains MedlinePlus.

For example, a quarter cup of raisins contains about 100 calories, while a whole cup of grapes contains about the same amount of calories, giving you “more bite for your calorie money,” explains the Mayo clinic.

4. Fish and lean meat

MedlinePlus says that snacks that contain a protein source have more “holding power,” helping you stop feeling hungry so quickly.

Fish and lean meats (like chicken, turkey, and low-fat cuts of red meat) are low in calories but high in protein, Link noted.

To cut calories even further, opt for lean fish like cod, plaice, halibut or sole instead of higher calorie fish like salmon, sardines or mackerel, the dietitian advised.

Grilled cod fillets served with vegetables.
Grilled cod fillets served with lemon slices and vegetables. Go for lean fish, like cod, than others like salmon, to cut calories further.
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5. Oatmeal

Oats are low in calories (half a cup only has about 150 calories) and high in dietary fiber (about four grams per half cup) as well as protein (about 5.5 grams per half cup) , according to NutritionData, making oatmeal a great option to keep you feeling full.

6. Bran flakes

Cereal lovers can opt for bran flakes, which are also high in dietary fiber and therefore very filling.

A bowl of bran flakes with skim milk, blueberries, and a slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter (all of which add protein and fruit to your bran flake meal) is roughly equivalent to the same amount of calories as a single large glazed donut, a total of about 300 calories, notes the Mayo Clinic.

Balls of oatmeal, bran and seeds.
Large balls of oatmeal, bran and seeds spread out on a table. Oatmeal and a bowl of bran flake cereal are great low-calorie, high-volume breakfast options.
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7. Popcorn

The next time you’re craving potato chips, opt for popcorn instead to eat more food for fewer calories. An ounce of potato chips has about 150 calories, but you could have about 3.5 cups of air-puffed popcorn and only consume about 100 calories, according to the Mayo Clinic.

MedlinePlus says that three cups of air popcorn with two tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese can also be a good, healthy snack between meals.

8. Legumes

Legumes, like beans, lentils, and peas, are loaded with protein and fiber, making them great options for keeping you full with fewer calories.

One cup of ripe, cooked, boiled, salt-free lentils, seeds contains about 230 calories as well as nearly 18 grams of protein and 15.6 grams of dietary fiber.

9. Chia seeds

Like legumes, chia seeds are high in protein. They’re especially high in soluble fiber, a type of fiber that absorbs fluids and swells in your stomach, helping you feel full, Link explained.

According to a 2009 study published in the peer-reviewed journal LWT-Food Science and TechnologyChia seeds can absorb about 10 to 12 times their weight in water and move slowly through your digestive tract to help keep you full.

Almond milk chia seed pudding.
Chia seed pudding made with almond milk and garnished with mango pieces. Chia seeds are particularly high in soluble fiber.

10. Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is also a great low-calorie, high-volume snack for its protein content. According to NutritionData, a cup of cottage cheese made from low fat 1% milk contains around 163 calories and 28 grams of protein.

11. Yogurt

Plain yogurt, like Greek yogurt, is another low-calorie, high-protein snack that’s great to keep you full. According to the brand, a two-third-cup serving of Greek yogurt typically contains around 130 calories and 11 grams of protein, according to Link.

MedlinePlus says that 170 grams (or six ounces) of plain yogurt (or low-fat cottage cheese works, too) with half a cup of berries is a good combination of healthy snacks.

Cottage cheese served with seed bread.
Cottage cheese served on slices of seed bread, garnished with oregano. Cottage cheese is a great low-calorie, high-volume snack for its protein content.
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