Everyone knows that part of weight loss is cutting calories, which can lead to challenges like hunger pains. Many low-calorie foods just won’t cut it when it comes to filling you up and leaving you satisfied until your next meal. When you don’t feel full, it is easier to give in to temptation and overeat or indulge in less than ideal foods. Thankfully, there are plenty of healthy options that are both lower in calories and surprisingly filling.
If you are looking for something to fill you up at breakfast, consider adding oats to your meal. At only 148 calories, a half-cup serving of dry oats contains about four grams of fiber and five and a half grams of protein — each of these nutrients will help curb your hunger and appetite until your next meal.
According to one study, a serving of oatmeal can increase feelings of fullness and reduce calorie intake at your next meal. Another study found that instant and old-fashioned oatmeal can improve appetite control over four hours compared to traditional breakfast cereal.
While traditionally hailed as an appetizer or precursor to the main course, soup is satisfying alone, and some research has suggested that solid food is less filling than soups. According to one study, soup can slow the emptying of the stomach, promoting feelings of fullness for more extended periods, leading to fewer indulgences. Another study found that people can decrease their calorie intake by 20% by eating soup before a meal.
However, while soups are often low in calories and provide many benefits, you need to pay attention to the type of soup and the sodium content. Creamier soups tend to be higher in calories. To maximize fullness and minimize calories, you want to focus on lighter options, like broth and stock-based soups.
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3. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a protein powerhouse, with 11 grams per serving; it is also a low-calorie and filling snack option. At only 130 calories, Greek yogurt is proven to promote weight loss and reduce calorie intake among women. One study found that women who ate yogurt between lunch and dinner consumed about 100 fewer calories at dinner. Additionally, a second study found that high-protein snacks like Greek yogurt improved feelings of fullness over lower-protein options.
If you love berries, indulge in them. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. While all of the nutrients are excellent for improved health, the fiber content matters when considering hunger. A single cup of blueberries has nearly three and a half grams of fiber. However, it is the type of dietary fiber found in berries that matters most: pectin.
Pectin is a type of dietary fiber that is proven to slow stomach emptying, which leads to increased feelings of fullness. By consuming berries as an afternoon snack, you can reduce feelings of hunger and your calorie intake at larger meals.
Popcorn is perhaps the most filling low-calorie snack when it is not coated in butter and salt. The surprisingly flavorful plain popcorn boasts only 31 calories per cup and includes about 5% of your daily fiber needs. Not only can popcorn lead to greater satiation, but it can also help stabilize blood sugar, which in turn prevents cravings and hunger. However, to enjoy the low-calorie benefits of popcorn, it must be air-popped and not ready-made.
Low-calorie and filling snacks are not impossible to find. Do you know of any others? Leave a comment.