Have you tried to lose weight by cutting down the amount of food you eat? Do you still feel hungry and not satisfied after eating? Or have you avoided trying to lose weight because you’re afraid of feeling hungry all the time? If so, you are not alone. Many people throw in the towel on weight loss because they feel deprived and hungry when they eat less. There is another way! The key is to eat foods that will fill you up without eating a large amount of calories.
Research shows that people get full by the amount of food they eat, not the number of calories they take in. You can cut calories in your favorite foods by lowering the amount of fat and or increasing the amount of fiber-rich ingredients, such as vegetables or fruit.
Let’s take macaroni and cheese as an example. The original recipe uses whole milk, butter, and full-fat cheese. This recipe has about 540 calories in one serving (1 cup).
Here’s how to remake this recipe with fewer calories and less fat:
• Use 2 cups non-fat milk instead of 2 cups whole milk.
• Use 8 ounces light cream cheese instead of 21⁄4 cups full-fat cheddar cheese.
• Use 1 tablespoon butter instead of 2 or use 2 tablespoons of soft trans-fat free margarine.
• Add about 2 cups of fresh spinach and 1 cup diced tomatoes (or any other veggie you like).
Your redesigned mac and cheese now has 315 calories in one serving (1 cup). You can eat the same amount of mac and cheese with 225 fewer calories.
What foods will fill me up?
To be able to cut calories without eating less and feeling hungry, you need to replace some higher calorie foods with foods that are lower in calories and fat and will fill you up. In general, this means foods with lots of water and fiber in them. The lists below will help you make smart food choices that are part of a healthy eating plan.
These foods will fill you up with less calories. Choose them more often…
Fruits and Vegetables (prepared without added fat)
Spinach, broccoli, tomato, carrots, watermelon, berries, apples
Low-fat and fat-free milk products
Low- or fat-free milk, low or fat-free yogurt,
low- or fat-free cottage cheese
Vegetable-based soups, soups with chicken or beef broth, tomato soups (without cream)
Brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole wheat
Lean meat, poultry and fish
Grilled salmon, chicken breast without skin,
ground beef (lean or extra lean)
Legumes (beans and peas)
Black, red kidney and pinto beans (without added fat), green peas, black-eyed peas
These foods can pack more calories into each bite. Choose them less often…
Eggs fried in butter, fried vegetables, French fries
Full-fat milk products
Full-fat cheese, full-fat ice cream,
whole and 2% milk
Dry snack foods
Crackers or pretzels, cookies, chips, dried fruits
Higher-fat and higher-sugar foods
Croissants, margarine, shortening and butter,
doughnuts, candy bars, cakes and pastries
Fatty cuts of meat
Bacon, brisket, ground beef (regular)
Maria Ali, RD, LD/N