Trying to lose weight? Delicious, healthy foods and drinks that fill you up
Fill up on vegetable salsa to curb your hunger before dinner. Cut up slices of red pepper to pick up the salsa, which saves on the fat and sodium you’d get from tortilla crisps, says Blake. The pepper’s crunchiness helps satisfy your snacking urge while the salsa’s spiciness may help you eat less.
Try our delicious recipe for salsa-roasted salmon
Greek yoghurt has twice the protein of regular yoghurt - some brands contain more than 20 grams of protein per serving. 'Protein not only keeps you satisfied longer but takes about 25 percent more energy to digest than fat,' says Angela Ginn, a registered dietician in America. Choose low-fat, plain varieties (to avoid added sugars) and add fresh fruit.
'Eggs are inexpensive, the protein sticks with you, and they can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner,' says Marisa Moore, a registered dietician. Grab a hard-boiled egg for breakfast or a snack for around 100 calories. Or make an omelet or scramble with spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms for dinner. If you’re watching your cholesterol, use half egg whites in the mix.
Whole grain breads
Whole grains stay with you longer than white flour, which loses nutrients and fiber in the refining process. Read the label to make sure the first ingredient listed is a whole grain, such as wheat or oats. You’ll also find whole grains in crackers, pasta and cereal.
Add a smear of peanut, almond or cashew butter to toast, an English muffin, or a few whole grain crackers for an added dose of protein, fibre and healthy fat. The creamy texture is appealing, and nut butters will satisfy you longer than other spreads such as butter or jam, says Joan Salge Blake, a registered dietician.
The soluble fibre in oatmeal keeps you full, helps lower cholesterol and regulates blood sugar levels. Opt for unsweetened varieties and add your own raisins, dried cranberries, a sprinkle of nuts and a shake of cinnamon or nutmeg. 'If you prefer it sweet, drizzle on a little honey, molasses or maple syrup,' says Moore. 'Whatever sweetener you add pales in comparison to how much sugar is found in the pre-made packets.'
Feeling hungry? Try a glass of fat-free milk, which has about 9 grams of protein - plus 300 mg of the 1,000 to 1,500 mg of daily calcium women need. Many of us are only getting about half of that each day.
With 6 or more grams of protein per 1 ounce serving, cheese is a perfect snack with a few whole grain crackers or an apple. It also contains calcium, which most women need more of. Choose a low-fat cheese such as mozzarella or a more flavourful and pungent type, like sharp cheddar or feta, so you’ll be satisfied with a small piece.
Whole grain cereal
Cereal can be a healthy snack any time if you choose wisely. Look for whole grains as the first ingredient, and choose brands that don’t have added sugars (sugar, corn syrup, fructose) listed in the first few ingredients, says Moore. To keep calories in check, stick to the suggested serving size.
A small apple has just 53 calories and almost 3 grams of fibre. Slice over salads, make them a midmorning snack with a smear of peanut butter or bake them with cinnamon and raisins for sweet-but-healthy dessert.
You may know that strawberries are high in fibre, but did you know raspberries actually have more? Raspberries have more then twice the amount of fibre than strawberries . Blueberries are another good high-fibre choice. And all berries contain disease-fighting antioxidants such as vitamin C.
'Nuts contain protein, good fat and fibre, which are three dietary components that will keep you satiated,' says Blake. Since nuts are high calories, watch portion size when snacking or buy the 100-calorie packages. Chop them up and sprinkle over yogurt or porridge - you'll get nuts in every bite without adding too many extra calories.
Chickpeas are versatile - you can make them into hummus for a dip or sandwich spread, add them to soups and stews or toss them on salads and pasta dishes. For a savory snack, roast chickpeas for 30 or 40 minutes at 425 degrees until crispy and toss with salt, pepper and/or Cajun spices. A 240g serving of roasted chickpeas has 100 calories, 5 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fibre.
Small studies indicate drinking two to four cups of green tea daily can help burn more calories. While the effects are minimal, consider replacing a high-calorie drink with green tea, which contains no calories. 'Little changes like this can add up to better health overall,' says Ginn.
A square of dark chocolate is more satisfying than milk chocolate, so you may be tempted to eat less. For a double-duty chocolate snack, nosh on a handful of cocoa-dusted almonds, which will curb your sweet tooth and provide a protein punch.
Whole grain pasta
Say 'no, thank you' to regular pasta, which contains simple carbs that have no staying power in your stomach. 'Whole grain pastas have improved tremendously in recent years in taste and texture,' says Moore. If whole wheat pasta is new to you, try the thinnest noodles, such as angel hair - you may not even notice a difference.
Low in calories but high in fiber, this lesser-known (found in asian and mexican specialist shops) root vegetable is a pleasant change of pace from more common veggies. Its crisp texture and slight sweetness is especially refreshing in the summer. Try it cut into sticks, sliced into salads or shred it for tacos.
Like most fruits and vegetables, melon’s high water content keeps you satisfied with few calories. Expand your palate by trying less common varieties, such as spicy-sweet Crenshaw melons or sweet Santa Claus melons.
These root veggies can be diced and roasted, added to stews or boiled and mashed as a substitute for white potatoes. They contain fibre, a smidge of protein and lots of potassium. Tip: Don't discard those vitamin-rich leafy tops - you can saute them as you would spinach and other greens.
Sometimes you just have to have something sweet, but it needn't ruin an otherwise healthy eating plan. Just drizzle a little chocolate syrup into your skimmed milk and drink it hot or cold. You'll satisfy your sweet craving while filling up on appetite-busting protein.
Reduce your fat consumption while getting the staying power of protein by making black bean burgers, says Moore. Drain a can of black beans and mash; add garlic and onion powder to taste; mix with one egg white to hold together. Form into patties and sauté. Add a slice of pepper jack cheese to boost the flavour.
Water is the cheapest, simplest way to curb appetite and keep your body functioning properly. 'If you’re dehydrated, your metabolism may slow down,' says Ginn. Add slices of lemon, lime, cucumber, fresh ginger or a few drops of juice to make it more appealing.
If you’re tired of the same-old broccoli side dish, try Brussels sprouts. They’re low-calorie and rich in antioxidants and fibre. They’re delicious steamed, roasted, or shredded and sautéed in chicken stock, onions, garlic, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Okra is a great source of soluble fibre, which helps keep you full and lowers cholesterol. Add it to soup as a natural thickener; it pairs especially well with tomatoes, chickpeas and feta cheese for a vegetarian stew. You’ll find it in the frozen foods aisle.
If you are lactose intolerant, have a milk allergy or are a vegan, try soy milk instead of the cow variety. Soy milk has a silky texture and contains about 7 grams of protein. It’s also available in vanilla or chocolate.
Your afternoon coffee break may not be a bad idea. In the short term, coffee can enhance fat oxidation and minimally increase metabolism. Just avoid or limit the amount of sugar or cream you add to your cup.
Lentils are tiny nutritional powerhouses, containing 9 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber per 95g serving, which is more than many other legumes. They cook fast (in about 20 minutes without the overnight presoaking that many other dried beans require), come in many different types and go well in soups or as a quick side dish.
Like whole wheat bread, brown rice contains more nutrients than the white variety. Plus, it has 3 to 4 times the fibre. Brown rice typically takes longer to cook, but you can now find pre-cooked brown rice to heat in the microwave or on the stove, says Blake.
White beans, such as cannellini or Great Northern, can be used as an alternative to kidney or black beans in soups and chili. With 6 grams of protein and 6 grams of fibre, they stick with you and trick your tummy into feeling full longer.
A medium sweet potato contains about 100 calories and 4 grams of fiber (a white has only 2 grams of fibre). For a side dish or snack, roast or microwave a sweet potato and then top with cinnamon, nutmeg, a drizzle of maple syrup or a dash of red pepper.
Bananas contain potassium, vitamin C and even about 3 grams of fibre for around 100 calories. Stir into Greek yogurt for breakfast, spread a teaspoon of your favourite nut butter on one for an afternoon energy boost or bake bananas with cinnamon to satisfy a sweet craving.
Greens are a great source vitamins, like A and C, and high in minerals such as potassium and magnesium. Kale, spinach, Swiss chard and collard greens are rich in water, which keeps you feeling full longer. Saute fresh or frozen greens in low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth, add a drizzle of heart-healthy olive oil and a dash of red pepper. Top with crumbled feta cheese.
Chicken breasts are a great way to get lean protein, but control your portions. 'If you eat a chicken breast that’s 8 or 9 ounces instead of the recommended 3-ounce size serving, you’re probably replacing other healthy low-calorie foods that should be on your plate, such as veggies,' says Blake.
Popcorn is a whole-grain snack that satisfies with very few calories. There are just 40 calories in a cup - it’s the buttery topping that gets you in trouble. With microwave or ready-made types, read the label to keep the fat and sodium levels in check. Or make air-popped, the healthiest choice.
Toss a pouch of tuna in water in your lunch bag for an afternoon power snack containing 28 grams of protein per 4-ounce serving. Eat on whole grain bread or crackers, or toss with salad or chickpeas and a light vinaigrette.
Red pepper (cayenne)
Small studies have shown that red pepper may increase metabolism slightly, so add a little spice to whatever you’re eating from eggs and stir fry dishes to barbecue rubs and salad dressings. 'The spiciness may also help curb your appetite so you eat a little less,' says Ginn.
Winter squash comes in many varieties including butternut, acorn, delicata, hubbard, kabocha and spaghetti. 'Squash are very meaty vegetables so they’re quite satisfying,' says Blake. Saute, bake or steam them in the microwave as a low-calorie side.
Instead of loading up your chili with meat, put in an extra can or two of pinto beans, which are a great source of hunger-satisfying protein. 'Use the meat as an accent, not the main ingredient,' says Moore. 'You probably won’t even miss it, especially if you add some heat with spices.'
Pork tenderloin is one of the leanest cuts of pork available, making it a good choice when watching your waist or your cholesterol. It cooks in a hurry, so it’s an easy weeknight meal that’s full of protein at 31 grams per serving.
Tofu or soy crumbles
Tofu is a good alternative to meat as a lean protein. (Light varieties are low in fat). If tofu is new to you, start with some easy replacements, like adding soy crumbles to tomato sauce or eating a soy burger instead of hamburger, says Ginn.
The often-neglected veggie is high in folate, manganese and vitamin C. Beetroot can be boiled, roasted with olive oil or and topped with a vinaigrette. They have almost no calories at just 37 per 200g.
Sure, carrots are low calorie, but their fibre also keeps you full. Plus, the sensory kick you get from their crunchiness can be satisfying when you feel like you’re about to raid the vending machine. If they seem ho-hum, dip them in a light dressing or hummus.
Edamame, or soy beans, are rich in fibre and protein, so you get a two-for-one benefit. You’ll find them frozen or fresh (often in ethnic food markets). Add them to soups, stews or salads, or keep some around as a healthy finger food to snack on before dinner.
Turkey and avocado sandwich
If you build a better sandwich it will stay with you so you’re not hungry in an hour. 'Choose whole grain bread, add a lean protein like a slice of turkey, and a slice of avocado instead of cheese so you get heart-healthy fats,' says Moore.
See also: Super quick main meals
Lean beef can be part of a sensible diet because it’s protein-rich (3 ounces of some cuts contains more than 30 grams of protein). Look for leaner cuts with less fatty marbling such as tenderloin, eye roast, ground round or 98-percent lean ground beef. Take a few slices of roast beef in your lunch. 'It’s easier to control the portion this way, and it’s very satisfying,' says Blake.
See also: Super quick main meals
Next Up: 95 healthy snacks under 200 calories
We’ve got snacks for work, home, to eat on the go and to satisfy your sweet tooth.
- Getty Images,