Burning fat, losing weight, getting in shape and looking great is easy … when you eat healthy foods that make you feel fuller longer. Some foods naturally deliver a smaller calorie investment while giving your stomach a full feeling. You feel full, so you eat less, your calorie count goes down, and so does the size of your waistline.
When you eat foods that provide little nutritional value with their calories, your mind tells you to eat more. It says, “Hey, we need nutrients, minerals and vitamins!” So you reach for more of the unhealthy food that is sitting in front of you. You eventually become full, but take in way more calories, fat and processed nasties than your body needs.
The result? You pack on the weight and fat, your heart, circulatory system and entire body suffers, and you find yourself hungry again relatively quickly. Eat the following 10 healthy, nutritious types of foods that make you feel fuller longer, and you’ll begin to lose weight as your whole body becomes healthier, and you begin to feel and look great.
1 – Beans and Legumes
“Beans, beans, the magical fruit; the more you eat, the more you toot!” That children’s rhyme refers to the flatulence causing property of most beans. Yes, they can give you gas, no doubt about it. But on the marvelously positive side, they are extremely high in protein and dietary fiber.
They can also fit into just about any budget and meal plan, since they are inexpensive and versatile. The FASEB Journal discovered in 2008 that if you eat just 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of beans a day, you bolster weight loss and weight maintenance. Beans are also a heart healthy food.
2 – Fresh Fruits
Fresh fruits have a much lower energy density than milk, cheese, sweet foods and meats. This means they deliver fewer calories per gram, much fewer on a comparative basis. So you can eat several servings of superfood fruits like blueberries, apples, bananas, blackberries, cantaloupes, citrus fruits, grapes, pomegranates and plums without paying much of a calorie penalty.
And when you replace unhealthy, fat-filled, calorie-dense foods like potato chips, chocolate-bars and candy snacks with healthy fresh fruits, you double your fat-burning, weight loss effort.
3 – Soups
Make sure you avoid store-bought soups, unless you are going to do some intelligent nutritional label research. A single can of soup that you purchase at your favorite grocery store often delivers several times your daily-recommended sodium allowance.
Homemade soups give you total control over their contents. It is relatively easy to make a large batch of soup, and then portion off individual serving sizes that you can keep in your refrigerator and freezer for easy access. Soup is also easy on the budget, and because of its liquid base, quickly makes you feel full while delivering a limited number of calories.
4 – Fermented Foods
Do you like crunching down on a crisp, tart pickle? That’s great, because fermented foods send a signal to your brain that starts a production of hormones that makes you feel full. This is true because of the short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) in foods that have been fermented, like kimchi, sauerkraut and pickles.
A side benefit is the healthy probiotics found in most fermented foods. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that promote proper digestion. They actually live in your gut! Some health experts and physicians also believe that probiotics reduce your appetite. So enjoy some sauerkraut or pickles, and you will not only find yourself eating less, but your digestive system receives benefits as well.
5 – Eggs
Multiple studies show that when you eat protein with your breakfast, you ingest fewer calories throughout the day. Eggs are one of the healthiest sources of protein, and they also offer significant levels of vitamin B12, vitamin D and iron. The old, outdated belief that eggs were high in cholesterol has actually been explained in a little more detail in recent years.
The type of cholesterol in eggs does not contribute to heart risks like most health professionals used to believe. This means you no longer need to worry about your egg intake. Eating 1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs between breakfast and lunch keeps you from overeating at your midday meal. And as we mentioned above, eating eggs for breakfast means you eat less during the day.
A single large egg delivers 7 g of protein, 5 g of fat, just 1.6 g of saturated fat, and costs you only 75 calories. (See the recommended protein per pound of body weight formula at the end of this article to figure out exactly how much healthy, filling, low-calorie protein you need to eat every day.)
6 – Nuts and Nut Butters
Nuts are packed full of healthy unsaturated fats. A healthy body needs fat, and the fats in nuts are just what you are looking for. On a per calorie basis, nuts and nut butters are extremely rich in fiber and protein. What are the 2 leading natural components that make you feel fuller longer? You guessed it, fiber and protein.
Just don’t eat too many nuts or too much nut butter at one sitting. Those healthy fats are in a very high quantity in nuts, and should not be over-consumed. So reach for a handful of almonds or walnuts the next time you are stuck between meals and craving something to eat. The heart healthy nature of nuts is just a wonderful side benefit of this versatile and tasty raw food.
7 – Broccoli and Brussels Sprouts
Repeat after me, “cruciferous vegetables”. Vegetables like brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower belong to the cruciferous family. Cabbage, bok choy, kale, collard greens and horseradish are also a part of this healthy vegetable subdivision. They deliver extremely high levels of healthy dietary fiber.
As with other filling foods on this list, they are relatively inexpensive and extremely versatile, with most of them capable of being consumed raw or cooked. The antioxidants and cancer fighting ingredients in cruciferous foods are also worthy of note, and just another reason you need to be getting more of these healthy whole foods into your diet.
8 – Water
Okay, so water is not a food. We have to mention it anyway, because it is usually free or inexpensive, readily available, and is definitely required by the human body for proper maintenance and health. Did you know that the symptoms of thirst mimic those of hunger?
That’s right, so the next time you believe that you are hungry, drink 8 to 12 ounces of water. Give your body 10 minutes to process that liquid, and see how you feel then. You may truly be hungry. But the cranky mood, low energy and lack of ability to focus that often signals you are hungry may simply be telling you your body needs more liquids. Oh yeah, another big benefit of drinking water instead of eating anything? Zero calories.
9 – Salmon, Anchovies and Tuna
Fish helps you feel fuller longer while consuming fewer calories in a number of ways. First off, any type of fat will always help satisfy your hunger pangs. The types of fats found in high quantities in fish are essential fatty acids. Omega 3 EFAs are required by your body to function properly. Unfortunately, the human process does not create this healthy fat.
You need to get it from outside sources, and fish like tuna and salmon have high levels of Omega 3s. That healthy fat makes you feel fuller longer, so you eat fewer calories during a fish-filled meal, as well as the rest of the day. Also, fish is packed full of wonderful protein. You have already seen earlier that protein satisfies hunger better than carbohydrates and fats. As if that is not good enough news, ocean caught salmon, anchovies and tuna are heart healthy foods as well.
10 – Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries and Other Berries
Most berries are extremely high in wonderful antioxidants that fight dangerous free radicals in your body. They are also extremely heart healthy, and deliver high levels of phytonutrients, minerals and vitamins that promote overall body health, inside and out. Your immunity system receives a huge boost when you eat berries regularly. This means that your natural defense system is much better prepared to ward off infections, disease and sickness.
It also means that you recover from injuries and sickness quickly. Berries contribute a very small amount of calories considering the amount of filling fiber they deliver. Just 1 cup of raspberries offers a full 8 g of fiber. (The average adult needs between 25 and 30 g of dietary fiber each and every day from food items, not supplements.)
Protein is the most satisfying type of food. More than carbohydrates and fats, protein satisfies your hunger more effectively than any other type of food. And guess what? Researchers are not even quite sure why protein acts like a stop sign, signaling your mind to stop eating. But it does, so make sure that you are getting the recommended 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight (about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram) every day.
And don’t forget filling, healthy, digestive track regulating fiber. The “modern-day” diet is desperately lacking in dietary fiber. Foods like the brans, grains and oats listed above do a great job of delivering protein and dietary fiber, while limiting the amount of carbohydrates and calories you consume.
To summarize, for a solution to burning fat, losing weight and maintaining a healthy body weight, eat foods high in fiber and/or protein. They have extremely high satiety index scores, which is a fancy way of saying they are healthy foods that make you feel fuller longer.