Eat Healthy Without Going Hungry: Foods to Keep You Full

So, you’ve decided to eat healthier. That’s an admirable goal, one that can help you lose weight, have more energy and feel better throughout the day. The good news? You can improve your diet without going hungry when you choose foods that suppress appetite and help you feel fuller, longer.

For a healthy diet that leaves you feeling satisfied, not starving, consider the quality of the food you eat, says Maria Conley, a registered dietitian at Henry Ford Center for Integrative Medicine. Highly processed foods, refined grains and foods that are low in fiber simply aren’t that satisfying.

Get the lowdown on healthy foods that are nutritious and filling.

Fill Up with Fiber

Choosing foods to fill you up that are high in fiber is a simple way to boost the fullness factor. “Fiber is found in foods that come from plant sources. And foods high in fiber digest slower,” Conley says. “They also tend to require more chewing, so it may take longer to finish your meal. That means your body has more time to let you know it’s full.” You will find fiber in a variety of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, and nuts and seeds.

Load the Nutrients

Choosing nutrient-dense foods that suppress appetite is another key to eating well. “Nutrient-dense” simply means nutrient-rich. Chips, candy, cookies and soda contain empty calories; they provide lots of calories, yet little nutrition. Foods like those have no disease-fighting power. “When you think about nourishing your body, your plate should be full of nutrient-rich foods that contain more than just calories,” Conley says.

There are over 25,000 different phytonutrients found in plant-based foods. Phytonutrients are compounds found in plant foods that support health and provide disease protection. “Fill the majority of your plate with a rainbow of colorful foods, like vegetables, beans, whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds,” she says.

Another benefit of plant-based foods is you will be filling up on hydrating foods. Eating foods that contain a significant amount of water can help you feel more satisfied at meals, in addition to helping you meet daily fluid requirements. A salad with tomatoes, cucumbers and bell peppers; a bowl of vegetable or lentil soup; a fruit cup with watermelon and berries – those foods are estimated to contain over 90 percent water.

Balance Your Plate

To feel satisfied longer, make sure meals and snacks contain a blend of foods to fill you up. “When you have a nice balance – some carbohydrates with protein and a little bit of fat – it helps sustain you better until your next meal,” Conley says. “Carbs digest more slowly when you eat them with protein and fat.” A balanced plate also can give you steadier energy throughout the day and help you manage food cravings and suppress appetite.

Finally, consider not only what you’re eating but also how you’re eating. “Slow down and take time to enjoy your food. Eating more mindfully can really help with the satisfaction factor,” Conley says. So, make time to sit down at the table, turn off your electronics and focus on savoring each bite you take. This way, you’re less likely to overeat.

When you keep these guidelines in mind, you’ll find it’s easier to eat healthier without going hungry. Filling your plate with a variety of whole-plant foods, rich in fiber and phytonutrients, will provide plenty of satisfaction, immediately after eating and in the hours to come. And that will make your healthier eating habits easier to maintain! 

Categories: Get Healthy