Anyone who’s ever walked away from the table only to be starving moments later (Chinese food, we’re looking at you) knows that certain edibles can leave you more famished than you were before you ate ‘em. If you want to stay satisfied longer—a key to weight control—remember this magic trio: protein, healthy fats and fiber. Here, nutritionists’ favorite healthy filler-uppers.
Food That Keeps You Full:
For just 70 calories, an egg delivers more than 6 grams of protein, says Shelley McGuire, Ph.D., a spokesperson for the American Society for Nutrition. One study found that women who ate eggs for breakfast lost more weight than those who had bagels with the same number of calories, possibly because all that protein kept their hunger in check. The egg eaters reported more energy too!
Note from Dr Akilah - Make sure you buy and eat hormone free eggs
Studies show that foods containing a lot of water can keep you feeling full. And when you start a meal with soup, you activate brain signals that begin to tell you you’ve had enough to eat—so that by the time you finish your second course, you’ll be satisfied. “Go for a broth-based bowl with fiber-rich veggies like celery and spinach,” says Amy Jamieson-Petonic, R.D.
Their healthy monounsaturated fats may help slow the rate at which your stomach empties, says McGuire. They’re also loaded with folate, potassium and vitamin E, and early research suggests that foods containing these nutrients may be more satiating than others.
Low-Fat Greek Yogurt
Seventeen grams of protein in a 6-ounce container (that’s more than you get in four slices of turkey!) means major hunger control.
All that filling fiber (4 grams per half-cup serving in the old-fashioned variety; 3 grams in the instant) helps this breakfast stick to your ribs. It also provides a surprising 4 to 7 grams of protein (the steel-cut kind typically has the most)—and that’s before you add milk. For extra staying power, toss in blueberries, which have 4 grams of fiber per cup.
“Only 80 calories, but one can be as filling as a meal because of the 4 grams of fiber and high water content,” says Jamieson-Petonic.
Beans and Lentils
Eat them and you may end up eating less of everything else. “They’re high in protein—about 7 grams per half cup—and high in complex carbohydrates, the type that take longer to break down,” says McGuire.
“They have the perfect combination of fiber, protein and fat,” says Jamieson-Petonic. The nutritionists’ faves? Walnuts, almonds and pistachios. Just stick to an ounce or less to avoid calorie overload.
Food That Makes You Hungry:
Cookies, Crackers and Croissants
Steer clear of the three C’s— those processed, sugary carbs tend to cause hunger to rebound. Pick whole-grain snacks instead. (Low-fat popcorn counts!)
Famished after happy hour? It’s not just your willpower: Booze can spike your appetite, experts say.
Many are high in hunger-producing sugar and little else. Look for protein and fiber like in Kashi GoLean.
Some frozen dinners, for example, actually have too few calories and not enough filling fruits and veggies.