35 Filling, Low-Calorie Foods Dietitians Swear by to Keep You Full and Satisfied


Add these picks to your shopping list ASAP. Weight loss isn’t as easy as counting calories. The kinds of food you eat matter, too, along with lifestyle changes like exercise and sleep. But if you’re serious about losing weight for your health, choosing the best low-calorie foods is a great place to start. “No matter what diet you’re doing, it’s all about eating fewer calories than you’re burning off,” explains Diana Sugiuchi, R.D.N., a registered dietitian focusing on sustainable weight loss. It’s not an exact science—we don’t absorb every single calorie in everything we eat—but whether you’re just living your life or exercising more, maintaining this balance is key. When using a calorie deficit for weight loss, it is still important to consider what makes up your caloric intake, says Jessica Zinn, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.N., registered dietitian in NY. “Consuming all low calorie foods will keep your calorie count low, but likely will not keep you full and satisfied. This is not ideal because this will cause more hunger and usually leads to excessive snacking and possibly binge eating.” It is important to ensure these low-calorie foods still contain adequate protein, high fiber carbohydrates and heart healthy fats. When fiber, protein and fat are consumed together, you will be satisfied for longer, says Zinn. High-fiber carbohydrates, such as whole grains, whole grain bread products, fruit, beans and lentils, help to give you enough energy while keeping you full for longer. Protein from animal products like meat, dairy, and high-protein vegetables is essential to keep you satisfied and especially important when working towards weight loss in order to promote fat loss and maintain muscle mass. And fat—specifically heart healthy fats, such as extra virgin olive oil, salmon/fatty fish, avocados, and nuts—are critical to feeling satiated from a meal. “Some examples of eating these nutrients together are avocado toast on whole grain bread with eggs or Greek yogurt with berries and walnuts,” says Zinn. For low-calorie meals, prioritize whole foods (like fresh vegetables, fruits, and proteins), not processed ones (like shakes and supplements), Sugiuchi says. But what foods should you add to your grocery list? Here are the best filling, low-calorie foods to keep stocked in your pantry and fridge to help you reach your weight-loss health goals, according to dietitians.

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