When it comes to feeling fuller with fewer calories, the most important factor to keep in mind is calorie density. Calorie density refers to the number of calories a food contains in a given volume. Foods which contain an exceptionally low calorie density can be consumed in large volumes (making you feel full) while contributing little to your daily calorie intake. With that concept in mind, here are some tips for feeling full while lowering calorie intake:
- Replace low volume, calorie-dense foods with high volume, low-calorie foods. High fiber foods tend to be large in size and low in calories. As an added bonus, fiber-rich foods take significantly longer move past your stomach and digest. This will make you feel fuller for longer. Vegetables, whole grains, and fruits all contain fiber. One of the best example of a low calorie density food with plenty of fiber is actually popcorn. As long as you don’t add any butter, eating a bunch of plain popcorn is actually a great way to feel full, increase your fiber intake, and keep your calorie count low.
- Drink a glass of water before each meal. Water is one of the least calorie dense things out there. Drinking a glass of water before eating will make you feel full sooner into your meal which can help you reduce portion sizes. In addition, consider eating foods which are largely composed of water. Grapefruit, for example, is about 90% water. As a result, you can eat an entire grapefruit and only consume about 70 calories. Raw carrots are another example. A raw carrot is about 88% water and contains only about 26 calories. If you are feeling hungry, consider eating a few carrots.
- Avoid foods with a high energy density. One of the best examples is raisins vs. grapes. Raisins are a high energy density food and grapes are a low energy density food (due to their high water content). As a result, if you eat one cup of raisins, you are eating over 400 calories. On the other hand, if you eat one cup of grapes, you are eating less than 100 calories. Since both are one cup, they will both make you feel equally full. However, you are clearly better off eating the grapes because they’re calorie density is so low.
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