One of the most challenging aspects of weight loss is cutting back on calories.
Many low-calorie foods can leave you feeling hungry and unfulfilled between meals, making it much more tempting to overeat and indulge.
Fortunately, plenty of healthy foods exist that are both filling and low in calories.
Here are 13 low-calorie foods that are surprisingly filling.
Oats can be an excellent addition to a healthy weight loss diet.
Oats, which are high in fiber and protein, work to reduce hunger, increase feelings of fullness and improve appetite control.
They’re not only low in calories but also high in protein and fiber that keep you feeling full.
A 1/2-cup (40-gram) serving of dry oats has just 148 calories but packs 5.5 grams of protein and 3.8 grams of fiber — both of which can have a significant impact on your hunger and appetite.
One study in 48 adults demonstrated that eating oatmeal increased feelings of fullness and reduced hunger and calorie intake at the next meal (2Trusted Source).
Another small study linked instant and old-fashioned oatmeal to significantly improved appetite control over four hours compared to ready-to-eat breakfast cereal (3Trusted Source).
2. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is creamy, mouth-watering, and wholesome. Greek yogurt is high in protein and helps in reducing appetite and may help in weight loss. Some beneficial probiotics like Bifidobacterial can also be found in Greek yogurt, which helps your gut stay healthy. You can easily know whether it is probiotic or not by simply looking for phrases that contain live and active cultures on the label.
Greek yogurt comes from straining whey and other liquids from milk curds which makes it creamier yogurt that has more protein. It is considered to reduce appetite and has a higher thermic effect than fat or carbs. The thermic effect is simply an increase in metabolic rate that appears after eating.
Full-fat yogurt has conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) that helps in fat loss and low break cancer risks. Yogurt is found to be effective for weight loss as they have an increased level of hormones that promotes fullness, including PYY and GLP-1.
In short, grab some Greek yogurt on the go for your breakfast and top it with some berries or chopped fruits to increase your meal’s vitamin, mineral, and fiber content.
Soups can be an effective part of a weight-loss journey. Low energy density diets and meal makes people consume fewer calories, making them filling due to the high-water content.
Adding water to your food can make the soup which can satiate your taste buds, significantly helps to cut down your calories. Some studies revealed consuming the same food as soup instead of solid food help people eat considerably fewer calories and reduce their appetite.
Avoid adding too much fat like cream or coconut milk to your soup which may increase the calorie content.
Berries are luscious and packed with antioxidants which reduce the risk of diseases.
They are high in fiber and low in calories and have lower sugar levels than other fruits. Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries are some different types of berries. Berries only have 50-85 calories. A cup full of berries can provide 8 grams of fiber or 120 and 145 grams.
Berries are best to reduce markers of inflammation, prevent blood cholesterol from oxidizing, and keeping the cells lining your blood vessels healthy. Berries are also great for the heart and aging better as it has antioxidants called anthocyanins.
You can eat them in whatever you wish for, with Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.
Eggs are a great source of protein and being a nutrient-dense, it is enriched with all the nutrients that a calorie-restricted diet requires. Egg yolks contain almost all the nutrients required by the body. There was a time when eggs were considered high in cholesterol, however with time whole eggs are making a comeback. It is considered the best food while being on a weight loss journey. Though, some people faced issues like an increase in the level of bad LDL cholesterol due to a high intake of eggs.
During a survey, it was revealed that about 30 overweight women reflected an increased level of fullness making them eat less for the next 36 hours when they included eggs for their breakfast instead of bagels and it also helped them lose weight. (NIH)
Popcorn contains high fiber which makes it to the top of most filling low-calorie snacks.
Air-popped popcorn contains only 31 calories in a cup(8grams), it boasts 1.2 grams of dietary fiber — up to 5% of your daily fiber needs (4 Trusted Source).
Fiber is not only limited to the slow digestive process but also promotes fullness and stabilizes blood sugar to prevent hunger and cravings. Popcorn is best when you want to control your food intake as it aids in feelings of fullness.
A study conducted on 35 people revealed a 100-calorie intake of popcorn resulted in the feeling of fullness than those who ate 150 calories of potato chips. (5 Trusted Source).
Avoid ready-made processed popcorn that is prepared of a lot of unhealthy fats, artificial flavoring, and added salt or sugar, which greatly increases the calorie content. Air-popped popcorns are best for low-calorie intake.
7. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are extremely nutritious and one of the best sources of fiber around.
Chia seed has created a buzz in the fitness world as it is high in fiber which fills up and aids to reduce appetite making it an effective weight-loss food. Chia seeds are among the most nutritious foods.
Having a high amount of carbohydrates (12 grams per ounce) and 11grams of fiber, chia seed is the best option for weight loss. It is considered a low-carb-friendly food with the best source of fiber. Having an amount of fiber, it can absorb up to 11–12 times its weight in water, turning gel-like and expanding in your stomach.
Consuming chia seeds regularly for a 12-week study reflected a reduction in hunger, improvement in blood sugar and blood pressure.
Chia seeds might not be the best option if you want a higher intake of protein in your breakfast as it only has 4 grams of protein.
Chia seed has a high level of antioxidants and helps your cell to fight against unstable molecules called free radicals that are produced during metabolism.
As per some studies people diagnosed with diabetes can reduce the inflammatory marker CRP by 40% by taking chia seed. Elevated CRP is a serious factor for heart diseases.
Salmon is a great source of both, protein and omega-3 fatty acids, these high-quality proteins make it a perfect choice for including it in your weight loss diet plan. Salmon is full of healthy fats and various essential nutrients. Fatty fish like salmon and other seafood is exceptionally healthy and very satisfying, supplying a considerable amount of iodine to your body. Including salmon in your meals will keep you full for many hours with comparatively few calories.
The nutrients found in salmon are required for proper thyroid function, which makes sure that your metabolism is running optimally. According to some research, various people fail to fill the iodine need that is generally required in your body.
Salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acid which aid in reducing inflammation, that plays a vital role in obesity and metabolic disease. Mackerel, trout, sardines, herring, and other kinds of fatty fish are also tremendous.
9. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is incredible breakfast food.
Lean dairy products like cottage cheese are a great way to consume more amount of protein intake in your diet without additional calories. Dairy products tend to be high in protein and cottage cheese increases metabolism. Cottage cheese contains little fat. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is found in full-fat cottage cheese which helps in weight loss.
Consuming cottage cheese can boost your protein intake significantly. Being satiating will leave you full of low-calorie intake as it decreases levels of hunger hormones called ghrelin. Rich in calcium makes it effective to burn fat.
If you want to cut down your appetite, then boiled potatoes are among the most filling foods. It can suppress your food intake in a day.
Boiled food has various properties which are beneficial for both weight loss and overall health. Packed with a diverse range of nutrients and being high in potassium which helps in controlling blood pressure. Some people are surviving on only potatoes for an extensive period of time.
White boiled potatoes top the satiety index that tells you how filling different foods are. This implies consuming white boiled potatoes will naturally make you feel full and reduce your appetite.
Letting potatoes cool down for a while we form a high amount of resistant starch, a fiber-like substance beneficial for various health issues and also weight loss. Sweet potatoes, turnips, and other root vegetables are also outstanding.
11. Lean Meat
Including unprocessed lean meat in your diet is a tremendous way to boost your protein intake. Though, meat has been unnecessarily demeaned considering it comes with various health issues without any solid evidence. Unprocessed red meat does not affect the risk of heart disease or diabetes; however, processed meat is unhealthy.
If you want to lose some excess weight, then including protein in your meal instead of carbs or fat can make your weight loss journey easier. Because of being high in protein, meat is considered a weight-loss-friendly food.
Including protein can help you burn up to 80-100 calories per day as it is the most filling nutrient and high protein can make fat burn faster.
According to some reports, if you include 25% protein intake in your diet then it can cut down your calories up to 60%, causing weight loss of almost one pound (0.45 kg) per week.
Include fatty meat as much as you want if you are on a low-carb diet but choosing lean meat is a better option if you’re on a moderate- to a high-carbohydrate diet.
Some beans and other legumes can be a good addition to your weight loss journey. As they are high in protein and fiber two crucial nutrients required to result in satiety. Foods like lentils, black beans, kidney beans, and some others contain some resistant starch that helps in weight loss.
Legumes should be prepared properly as many people have issues in tolerating legumes.
Watermelon is a great source of high-water content with a very low-calorie content that keeps you hydrated and full. Usually, a small cup of watermelon (152 grams) has only 46 calories enriched with essential nutrients like vitamin A and vitamin C. (6Trusted Source).
A low-calorie density food intake like watermelon curbs your appetite leaving you full as compared to high-calorie-density foods. Low-calorie-density foods aids in less calorie intake and low body weight.
A study conducted on 49 women revealed less calorie intake and low body weight when the same amount of fruit was replaced with oats cookies. (7Trusted Source).
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