One of the biggest complaints from people who are trying to eat less to lose weight is that they are constantly hungry. But cutting back on calories doesn’t have to mean eating less. Yes, you can actually eat a greater volume of food if you know what to choose and what to avoid. Some foods are more “nutrient dense,” which means they pack a lot more calorie punch per bite. These are generally the high-fat foods like full-fat dairy products including cheeses, oils, butter, cream sauces and high-fat meats like a rib-eye steak. This doesn’t mean you should ban nutrient-dense foods from your diet, but it does mean using them more as accessories and limiting portions.
Eating more to weigh less is not a new concept. However, you have to eat more of the right foods. Fruits and vegetables contain water and fibre and so are lower in calories. Legumes such as peas and beans, brown rice and whole-grain breads and cereals are in the filling but lower-in-calories-per-serving crowd, too. Eat more of these foods more often and you’ll feel full while cutting back on total calories. They will also help deliver your daily fibre and nutrient needs.
Here are some creative ways to fill up your plate while cutting calories:
Try berry treats
• Add 1/2 cup berries or 1/2 sliced banana to breakfast cereal to help fill up the bowl and your stomach.
•Make a parfait with low-fat granola, nonfat yogurt and 1/2 cup berries for a snack.
Drink before meals
• Drink more water or unsweetened iced tea before and with your meals (be careful of some of the flavoured or enhanced waters; some contain sweeteners—which means more calories).
Take more egg whites
• Pump up the volume on omelettes by adding egg whites, instead of an extra egg, and plenty of vegetables.
Rethink your noodles
• Change your pasta by choosing whole-wheat noodles, which are higher in fibre and, therefore, more filling. Add vegetables to bulk up the pasta sauce. Figo Pasta offers whole-wheat penne.
• When eating out, try a salad or soup as an appetizer. Not all salads, however, are created equal. Avoid large amounts of dressing, cheese, nuts and fried noodles. These “nutrient dense” toppings are all fine if used sparingly.
• Choose broth-based soups instead of cream-based soups (water in the soup helps fill you up, too).
Feel full longer with fibre
• Choose whole grains. The fibre in the whole grains increases absorption time in your digestive tract. You can find whole-wheat pasta, whole-grain pancakes and breads at many restaurants.
Eat often, stay energetic
• Don’t starve yourself. Eat every three hours to keep your energy level up. On the go? Keep sliced veggies and fruit in plastic bags. At home, keep snacks, such as sliced vegetables, hummus, fruit salads, whole fruits, nonfat or low-fat yogurts, and pre-made salads, in the fridge. You’ll feel like you’re eating all the time.