How to feel full on fewer calories
Yes, we can eat high volume foods, feel full and lose weight at the same time. Remember to lose weight we need to cut calories.
But we know this can be very challenging as many diets are so restrictive, leaving you feeling hungry and more likely to overeat or reach for high calorie, nutrient poor snacks.
The volume eating approach focuses on including mostly high volume foods that will fill you up. High volume foods have a low calorie density (also called energy density).
Water is the magic ingredient that makes a food high volume because it contains no calories. Fibre is another focus ingredient because it contains fewer calories and also fills us up.
If a food has more grams than calories per serving then it has a relatively low calorie density. If a food has more calories than grams per serve then portion control should be used. Use grams after cooking where relevant.
Fortunately, there are plenty of foods that have a lower calorie density that are surprisingly filling.
Important high volume foods to consider
HIGH VOLUME VEGETABLES
Of course, this depends on the ingredients and base of the soup.
Broth or stock based soups loaded with vegetables are best to reduce calories and maximise fullness.
Creamy soups and chowders tend to be calorie dense.
2. Potatoes (high fat chips not included)
Potatoes are sometimes avoided due to being ‘starchy’ carbs but potatoes actually contain a lot of water and fibre which means they have a low calorie density and are filling.
Baked, boiled or air fried without added fat are all great ways to add volume to your meals without overdoing the calories.
100g potato (approx. 1 x medium) contains 85 calories.
3. Green peas
Green peas not only have a low calorie density, they are a rich source of fibre which will help you feel full.
100g (⅔ cup) green peas contains 59 calories.
High volume, low calorie and extremely versatile makes mushrooms a fantastic addition to salads, pasta, risotto, casseroles, stir fries, stews or as a side dish.
100g (5 medium) mushrooms contain 35 calories.
Sometimes also written off as too high in ‘carbs,’ carrots are a great way to add volume, fibre and flavour. Add grated or diced carrots to bolognese, meat balls, salads, or frittatas, the options are endless.
Carrot sticks with a lower calorie dip also make for a great snack.
100g (1 medium) carrot contains 45 calories.
HIGH VOLUME FRUIT
When food tastes sweet and delicious, it’s easy to think it is calorie dense. Berries are one of the best ways to add volume because they are also very high in fibre.
100g (⅔ cup) berries contain 34 calories and an impressive 4g of fibre.
Delicious frozen or fresh, 100g (⅔ cup) grapes contain 81 calories.
8. Kiwi fruit
Not many fruits give you 100% of your daily Vitamin C requirement in 1 serve (in the case of kiwi 1 serve = 2 fruits). Kiwi fruit can.
100g (1½ ) kiwi fruit contains 59 calories, 3g of fibre and approximately 100 – 120mg Vitamin C.
Delicious on its own or paired with mint and feta or halloumi.
100g (⅔ cup diced) watermelon contains 34 calories.
Used like a vegetable but really a fruit, tomatoes are an extremely versatile way to add volume without adding many calories. Add them to salads, sauces, pasta, stews and sauces.
100g of tomato (1 very small fruit) contains 19 calories.
HIGH VOLUME PROTEIN
Low calorie dense foods that also contain protein do an even better job to help us feel full. Protein slows down the rate at which food is emptied from the stomach, making us feel fuller for longer.
11. Reduced fat cottage cheese
Cottage cheese makes for a great snack if you’re trying to lose weight. Add herbs, salt and pepper to use as a dip for vegetable sticks. Adding a little honey and cinnamon makes a tasty topper for fruit.
100g of reduced fat cottage cheese contains 90 calories and 12.5g of protein.
12. Reduced fat ricotta cheese
Ricotta and cottage cheese can be used interchangeably in many recipes. Despite this, there are some differences. Ricotta has a fine, grainy texture whereas cottage cheese is lumpier. Cottage cheese also contains more protein than ricotta.
100g of reduced fat ricotta cheese contains 60 calories and 7g of protein.
13. Reduced fat yoghurt (dairy based)
Rich in calcium, protein and with a low calorie density, reduced fat yoghurt makes the perfect snack or healthy dessert option.
100g reduced fat yoghurt provides 71 calories, 6g of protein and 110mg of calcium.
14. Soy yoghurt
As far as dairy alternatives go, soy yoghurt is one of the best because it still has a good amount of protein.
100g of regular fat soy yoghurt will give 100 calories (80 calories for reduced fat) and between 3-4g of protein.
15. Baked beans
High volume and packed with protein and fibre, baked beans are one of the best foods to fill you up.
100g baked beans gives 77 calories, 6g of protein and 6g of fibre.
Quick tip – a list of high volume foods
Obviously, there are a lot more high volume foods but I didn’t want to prattle on. Instead, I have created a high volume food list PDF which is very handy to print and keep nearby.
Whilst volume eating is a very helpful way to reduce calories and stay full, foods that have a higher energy density, like healthy fats, are incredibly important to include. Variety, nutritional adequacy and enjoyment are key.
Recommended Reading On Eating For Volume:
- Volume Eating: The Eating Approach That Just Makes Sense
- 5 Easy High Volume Recipes for Weight Loss Without Feeling Hungry
- Best High Volume, Low Calorie Snacks that Will Fill You Up
- Volume Eating and Weight Loss: The Perfect Combo
- Volume Eating VS Other Diets