Constantly counting down the minutes until your next meal? We feel you. But here’s the thing: If you’re always hungry, you may not be eating enough filling foods. We’re talking foods that are loaded with healthy fats, fiber, and protein—all of which help keep you feeling fuller longer.
To help curb those between-meal cravings, we talked to Freshly nutritionist Emily Navarro, RDN to find out which foods fill you up and still leave you feeling light. Here are her top filling foods:
1. Greek Yogurt
Instead of grabbing a carb-loaded bagel for breakfast, go for a bowl of Greek yogurt, which is loaded with filling, fat-burning protein. Plus, it contains more protein than regular yogurt).
A study published in the journal Appetite found that people who ate Greek yogurt with at least 24 grams of protein felt fuller longer and had reduced cravings compared to people who ate lower protein snacks.
The key is to pick a Greek yogurt that’s low in sugar—no more than 10 grams per serving, says Navarro. Even better: Go for plain yogurt and add flavor by topping with fruit like bananas, berries, or both!
2. Non-starchy veggies
A Harvard study of over 100,000 people found that eating starchy vegetables (like corn, peas, and potatoes) was linked to more weight gain than consuming non-starchy veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and spinach.
Non-starchy veggies are composed of water and fiber, which means they help control hunger and give you that “I just ate a lot but feel so light” feeling. We love packing our Freshly meals with non-starchy veggies like cauliflower puree.
That said, remember: There’s no such thing as a “good” or “bad” vegetable. You can still eat starchy veggies like pumpkin and potatoes—just keep in mind that they contain more carbs and calories than non-starchy veggies, so eat them in moderation.
Salmon is well-known as a filling, weight loss-friendly food thanks to its high protein and omega-3 fatty acid content. Research in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition even found that fish-eaters feel more full (and consume less food at their next meal) compared to beef-eaters. That’s saying something, since beef is loaded with protein.
For a super satiating meal, pair salmon with high-fiber veggies like artichokes, spinach, or broccoli.
4. Nuts and nut butters
A surefire way to satisfy cravings between meals? Grab a handful of nuts like walnuts or in-shell pitachies, which are loaded with healthy fats and protein (plus, shelling pistachios can help slow you down and prevent overeating).
Nut butter is also super satisfying—it’s so creamy and decadent that you don’t need a lot of it to feel full.
Beans are a great way to “bulk” up meals so they feel more filling. They also pack in nutrients that help with weight loss like protein, fiber, and complex carbs. Complex carbs break down slower in your body, so you’ll feel full longer.
Beans also rank low on the glycemic index, so they won’t turn your blood glucose levels upside down and will keep your cravings at bay, says Navarro. Our favorite kinds are black beans, which provide 15 grams of protein and fiber for every cup.
Oatmeal is a popular breakfast for a reason—it helps keep you full throughout the day. Oatmeal is a great source of fiber (4g per 1 cup serving), particularly a type of soluble fiber called beta-glucan, and it has 6g protein per 1 cup cooked (1 serving).
Research shows that the soluble fiber in oats, promotes the release of satiety (aka, fullness) hormones and delays the emptying of the stomach. In fact, research shows that people who ate oatmeal for breakfast instead of ready-to-eat cereal ate fewer calories at lunch.
Go for whole rolled oats, or steel cut oats instead of sweetened instant varieties (which have added sugar and are further processed, making them less filling).
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