Certain foods rank high on the list when it comes to satisfying hunger while avoiding overeating and weight gain.
What Makes a Food Filling?
Many factors determine a food’s satiety value, or how filling it is relative to its calorie content. The calorie/satiety ratio is measured on a scale called the satiety index.
The satiety index also measures a food’s ability to make you feel full, reduce your hunger and lower your calorie intake over the course of the day.
Some foods simply do a better job at satisfying hunger and preventing overeating than others.
Foods that are filling tend to have an increased level of water or air so they don’t add on the extra calories. Protein is more filling than fats and carbohydrates, meaning you don’t need to eat large volumes to feel full. High fiber is another food group that helps you reach the satiety index without gaining weight because these foods move through the digestive tract slowly, reducing hunger cravings for longer.
By choosing the right foods to fill up on, you can avoid increasing your calorie intake.
Try these 17 foods that you can eat a lot without gaining weight!
Oatmeal is commonly eaten for breakfast and ranks highly on the satiety index. So, that means it makes you feel full without putting on the pounds. This is because it’s a great source of soluble fiber that slows down digestion and carb absorption.
Studies have shown that broth-based soups eaten before a meal can lower your calorie intake by 20% because it satisfies hunger and promotes weight loss over time. Avoid creamy, rich soups and stick to the broth.
Due to their higher carb content, many people avoid potatoes when trying to lose weight, but they shouldn’t.
In a study that measured the ability of 38 foods to satisfy hunger, boiled potatoes ranked the highest.
While boiled potatoes were the most satisfying food tested, fried potato chips were found to be three times less filling.
Peas, beans, chickpeas, and lentils are great sources of protein and fiber that have a low energy density. Legumes are 31% more filling (and healthier) than pasta and bread and are much lower in calories. Add more legumes to your diet without adding to your body weight.
Oranges, Grapefruits, and Tangerines
Because of their sugar content, eating too much fruit may not be recommended for weight loss, however, citrus fruits are the exception. They are high in fiber, flavonoids, and vitamin C which assists in satisfying hunger pangs while aiding digestive and liver function.
Melon and Watermelon
Containing about 60 – 70 calories per slice, you can indulge in eating melons and watermelons all day without worrying about picking up weight. These fruits, in particular, also help to excrete excess liquid from your body while making you feel full to prevent overeating.
Strawberries, cranberries, raspberries, mulberries, and blueberries are superfoods packed with nutrients and antioxidants and are very low in calories. They are the perfect snack to stave off hunger as long as you avoid adding custard cream, which will negate their healthy advantage.
Greens and cruciferous vegetables are very low in calories and high in nutrition, water, and fiber so you can have a buffet of veg without fretting about your waistline. Just remember not to dressings and cheese or any additives that are fattening.
Another superfood with super low in calories is Algae so you can eat substantial amounts without putting on weight. It’s also very high in nutrients and one of the best sources of iodine that maintain healthy thyroid function and keeps your hormones balanced.
Fish scores very high on the satiety index compared to other protein-rich foods, such as chicken and beef. Steamed white fish ranks higher than oatmeal and vegetables when it comes to the satiety index due to its high protein content and affects serotonin levels which are a key hormone for appetite signals.
If you keep it plain and unsalted, popcorn is the perfect snack to fill you up without adding calories. Surprisingly, popcorn also contains traces of minerals and vitamins such as folate, vitamin A, and vitamin B-6, and three cups of popcorn have over 3g of fiber.
Eggs are really healthy with a lot of nutrients loaded in the egg yolk. They are a complete protein which means they contain all nine of the essential amino acids and they are also very filling. Eating eggs for breakfast means you stay full for longer and could help you eat less over the course of the day.
In particular, apples score very high on the satiety index.
Because apples contain pectin, a soluble fiber that naturally slows digestion, they help you feel full.
One study looked at the effects of eating solid apple segments, applesauce or drinking apple juice at the beginning of a meal.
Eating apple segments also resulted in higher fullness ratings and lower hunger ratings than other forms of fruit.
Lean meats are high in protein and rate highly on the satiety index. A recent study showed that those who had a high-protein meat lunch ate 12% less at dinner time compared to those who had high carbs for lunch. Lean beef is one of the highest protein-rich sources that are most filling.