Our bodies need nutrition and the need to eat becomes inevitable. If you are trying to eat healthier while losing weight, it is important to make food choices that don’t leave you feeling hungry.
Rebecca Vicars, a Scott & White clinical dietitian who sees bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) patients is full of knowledge with regards to satiety, or feeling full after eating food.
Foods that Fill You Up (and are healthy too!)
In a study published April of this year, researchers found that meals with high vegetable content resulted in greater fullness and satisfaction than meals with low vegetable content, regardless of the diner’s age. This means if you add some broccoli, green beans, or asparagus to your plate, you may be feeling fuller longer.
Vicars cautions that what you put on your vegetables is also important so you don’t drive up the calories.
“A salad is not usually high in calories until you add dressing,” she says. “To keep the calories under control, use small amounts of dressing or choose lighter alternatives.”
Many fruits are high in water content, which provides volume and weight but not calories. The less processed the better. It’s better to eat whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juices. Vicars says it will also take more time to chew and digest a small apple or orange than it will take to drink four ounces of juice. If you choose to eat dried fruits, the portion size should be smaller in order to limit calories.
Eating high-fiber foods helps you stay fuller longer, keeps you regular and boosts colon health. Fiber takes longer to digest, so you get by on fewer calories. Some foods high in fiber include artichokes, broccoli, brown rice, navy beans, figs, prunes and almonds.
For a healthy diet, Vicars also recommends lean sources of protein such as lean beef, lean pork, chicken, turkey, fish, beans, soy products and low-fat dairy products.
Whole grains are beneficial, especially when they replace refined products like white bread. In other words, at least half of the grain products you consume each day should be from whole grains. Grains will help you feel satisfied longer, but remember to control your portion sizes to help limit calories. Be careful of misleading food labels; some type of whole grain should be at the beginning of the ingredient list. Look for whole grain products such as whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, brown rice and whole-grain cereals.
Other Eating Right Tips for Weight Control
Space out and slow down
“Meals should be fairly evenly spaced throughout the day and if you tend to eat fast, it is important to learn to slow down,” says Vicars.
Change your lifestyle
“It is important to continue good eating and exercise habits, even after reaching your weight goals,” says Vicars.
Track your food
Many people are not aware of how much they are eating throughout the day until they write it down or track it using a computer or cell phone app.
Avoid common pitfalls
“Common pitfalls include high calorie beverages, fried foods, sweets, and high calorie snacks” says Vicars.
Overall, when you stick to foods that help you stay fuller longer, you won’t have to feel hungry or deprived. With plenty of options, you can get by on fewer calories and live a healthier life.