Reducing calories is one of your most difficult tasks when trying to lose weight.
Many low-calorie foods can make it easy to feel hungry between meals. This makes it more tempting for you to indulge and eat too much.
Many healthy foods are nutritious and filling.
Here are 13 low calorie and filling meals that are surprisingly satisfying.
- Oats are a great addition to healthy weight loss.
- These foods are low in calories, but high in fiber and protein to keep you full.
- Dry oats are a low-calorie, high-protein snack that provides a substantial amount of energy and protein. A half-cup (30-gram) of dry oatmeal has 148 calories.
- A study of 48 adults showed that eating oatmeal increases feelings of fullness and reduces hunger at the next meal.
- Another small study found that instant oatmeal and old-fashioned oatmeal significantly increased appetite control over a 4-hour period, compared to ready-to-eat breakfast.
2. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is rich in protein and can be used to curb cravings or promote weight loss.
Although the exact amounts vary among brands and flavors, a 1.5-cup (150g) Greek yogurt serves typically 130 calories with 11 grams of protein.
One study in which 20 women were surveyed examined how high-protein snack yogurt affected their appetite compared to high-fat unhealthy snacks such as chocolate and crackers.
The yogurt-eating women had less hunger and ate 100 more calories at dinner than the crackers or chocolate-eating counterparts.
A second study was done in 15 women and found that high-protein Greek Yogurt had a lower appetite and increased fullness than low-protein snacks.
Soup is often overlooked as a side dish and light, but it can be extremely satisfying.
Some research shows that soups can be more filling than traditional foods, even though they may contain the same ingredients.
A study done in 12 participants showed that smooth soup was more effective at encouraging fullness than chunky or solid meals.
Another study of 60 people found that soup eaten before lunch reduced total calories by as much as 20.
Be aware that creamy soups or chowders can be very filling.
Choose a lighter stock- or broth-based soup for the best results. This will help you to reduce calories and maximize your fullness.
Berry juices, including blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries, are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and can improve your overall health.
They are high in fiber, which can help you lose weight and curb your hunger.
A cup of Blueberries (148g) has only 84 calories, but 3.6g of fiber ( 9,).
Berries also contain pectin which is a dietary fiber that slows the stomach emptying process and increases feelings of fullness.
This could also reduce calories to aid weight loss.
One study showed that a 65-calorie afternoon snack made of fruits reduced calorie intake by 65 calories later in the day than a 65-calorie confectionery snack.
Eggs are extremely nutritionally dense, because they’re low on calories but high in essential nutrients.
A single large yolk contains around 72 calories, 6 grams protein, as well as a wide variety of vitamins or minerals.
Studies have shown that eggs are a good way to get started in the morning. This will help you feel fuller and reduce your hunger.
In a study of 30 females, people who ate eggs instead of bagel for breakfast experienced greater fullness and consumed 105 more calories later in their day.
Studies also show that high-protein meals can reduce snacking, slow the stomach’s emptying rate, and help to lower the levels of Ghrelin, which is the hormone responsible of hunger
Popcorn is the best low-calorie snack due to its high fiber count.
Air-popped popcorn has 31 calories (or 8 grams) but 1.2g of dietary Fiber — that’s up to 5% of your daily fibre needs.
Fiber slows down digestion to promote fullness. But fibber can also stabilize Blood Sugar to reduce hunger and other cravings.
Popcorn may also be more filling than some other snack foods and can reduce appetite.
In fact, a study in 35 participants found that those who ate 100-calories of popcorn were more satisfied than those who ate potato chips at 150 calories per day.
These benefits do not apply to popcorn popped in the oven. Many readymade varieties are loaded with unhealthy fats, artificial flavourings, and added salt or sweetness, which significantly increases their calorie content.
Chia seeds are often regarded as a serious superfood. They pack a high level of protein and fiber in a small amount of calories.
One ounce (28g) of chia seeds contains 137 calories, 4.4g of protein and 10.6g of fiber.
Chia seed is high in soluble fiber. This type of fiber absorbs liquids and swells in the stomach to promote feeling full.
Some research shows that chia seeds can absorb between 10-12 times their body weight in water. They move slowly through your digestive system to keep you full.
A serving of chia seeds can help curb your cravings and decrease appetite.
One study of 24 adults found that yogurt with added chia seeds had a lower appetite, less desire to eat sugary foods, and a greater feeling of fullness.
Fish is high in protein, healthy fats.
For instance, a 3-ounce (385-gram) cod serving provides over 15g of protein and 70 calories.
Some studies show that increasing protein intake can decrease appetite, and lower levels of ghrelin which is a hormone that stimulates.
A bonus is that fish protein may help to reduce hunger levels and increase appetite.
One study which evaluated the effects beef, chicken, fish protein and feelings of fullness showed that fish proteins had the greatest effect.
For a further reduction in calories, choose lean fish like cod and flounder, halibut, sole, instead of higher-calorie options including salmon, mackerel or sardines.
9. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is an excellent source of protein, and a good snack option for people who are trying to lose weight.
A cup of low-fat cottage Cheese contains approximately 28 grams of protein.
Numerous studies have shown that increasing your intake of protein from foods such as cottage cheese can reduce appetite and hunger.
Research also shows that protein intake can slow down the emptying process and prolong your feelings of fullness.
Potatoes are frequently equated with high-fat French fries and potato chips, which can lead to them being dismissed as unhealthy or harmful.
Potatoes can, however, be a part of a healthy and balanced diet.
A medium baked potato containing the skin provides 161 calories as well as 4 grams of protein and fiber.
Actually, a study on the effects of certain foods and food on satiety or fullness found that boiled potatoes were the most filling. It scored 323 on their satiety index, which is nearly seven times more than croissants.
Human and animal studies show that potato might have filling properties. This is due to potato protease inhibitors. These compounds are compounds that can decrease appetite and increase food intake to boost fullness.
The consumption of lean meat can help to reduce hunger between meals.
High in protein, low-calorie meats like turkey, chicken and low-fat red meats are rich in calories.
For example, 4 ounces (112g) of cooked chicken tender have about 185 calories. It also contains 35 grams of protein.
Research has shown that insufficient amounts of protein could lead to increased hunger and cravings. But eating more protein can help reduce calories intake and hunger.
A study showed that people who ate high protein meals, including meat, ate 12% less food per meal than those who ate low-carb, meatless meals.
Lentils such as beans, peas, and lens have a high protein and fiber content and can be extremely filling.
A cup (198gs) of cooked lentils gives you approximately 230 calories. There are also 15.6gs of fiber and almost 18gs of protein.
Multiple studies have demonstrated that legumes have a powerful impact on hunger and cravings.
One study among 43 young men concluded that eating beans and peas with high-protein meals increased satisfaction and reduced hunger than high-protein meals containing veal and meat.
Another review of nine studies showed that people felt 31% less full after eating pulses. This is compared to high-carb meals such as pasta and bread.
Watermelon’s high-water level helps to keep you hydrated. It also provides a very low number of calories.
A single cup (152g), of diced Watermelon has 46 calories. Additionally, it contains an assortment of essential micronutrients including vitamins A.
Eating low-calorie foods such as watermelon has been shown similar effects on hunger feelings to high-calorie food.
Furthermore, foods that have a lower calorie count have been linked with a lower body mass and calorie intake.
In fact, a study in 49 women revealed that replacing oatmeal cookies for the equivalent number of calories from fruits significantly reduced their calorie intakes and body weights.
The Bottom Line
Not having to eat less calories does not mean that you should feel constantly hungry.
It is possible to eat a variety of filling foods rich in protein and fibre and reduce hunger, which can make weight reduction much easier.
Low-calorie foods are great for keeping you satisfied, especially when combined with an active lifestyle.
Lisa K. is a freelance writer who loves to write about the latest trends in the coffee industry. She worked as a barista for three years and now blogs about her experiences in the coffee industry, as well as her favorite local coffee shops. Lisa K., a contributing writer at K Cups for Sale wrote this article