Eating strategically is important, especially if you’re eating to feel good and look good. The best way to get the most “bang for your buck” is to eat the most filling and nutrient dense foods. Healthy, filling foods, will fill you up on less calories, curb cravings, fuel you even after day of heavy activity, and keep your cognitive function sharp and speedy.
Personally, my favorite time of the day is meal time (breakfast, lunch, or dinner- doesn’t matter!!). I count down the seconds until I can eat. I loveeee food! Consequently, I have always struggled with staying full throughout the day. It’s not just that food is always on my mind, but there are temptations everywhere. As much as I try to control my environment, donuts do come around at work, and ice cream does randomly show up in my freezer when my fiancé gets a craving. SO- I decided to take it upon myself to learn about how to eat strategically to stay full and help me resist inevitable temptation.
In my weight loss blog, I remind everyone that sustainable weight loss does not mean that you are left hungry. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s about finding the right foods to put in your body. I set out on a mission to educate myself about the nutritional value of what I was putting in my body, and how I could use certain foods for their nutrients and “full feeling” properties. For me, it all starts with these 5-go-to foods that keep me fuller longer, helping me lose the weight and keep it off.
My top 5 go-to filling foods
Coming from a Chilean family means that avocado was always going to be a huge staple in my diet. Luckily for us Texans, we have delicious, creamy avocados in spades. I personally try to eat half an avocado with lunch.
Foods high in fiber and rich in fat take longer to digest, which is why I always suggest eating high fat and fiber foods for breakfast and lunch. Avocados contain fiber, tons of potassium, and are high in heart-healthy fats. In moderation, they have a multitude of benefits, and my favorite is the fact that I stay full and energized for longer throughout the day.
OATMEAL (has been called “the most powerful breakfast for weight loss”- and I believe it!)
If you know me personally or follow me on social media, you probably know already that I’m obsessed with oatmeal. It’s a huge breakfast staple for me. Why? Because oatmeal is magic…seriously.
Its filling power comes from its incredibly high fiber content and ability to soak up water (which plays a crucial role in making you feel full longer). This creamy meal breaks down super slowly in your stomach, giving you longer-lasting energy.
If you’re going for oatmeal, steer away from the ones with artificial flavors and go for organic oats. Throw in some berries for antioxidants and natural added sweetness.
I am really passionate about oatmeal being one of the biggest contributors to my initial weight loss in college. It is the single most effective breakfast (for my body) for keeping full and feeling energized.
The 1 hour post workout/too early for lunch snack cravings are very real, and nuts are a great way to satisfy them. Nuts are packed with tons of healthy fats and proteins. While nuts are high in calories, they absolutely do not make you gain weight if they are eaten in moderation. They are a super high nutrient dense form of calories as well – including vitamin E, magnesium, and selenium. Many studies have shown that a handful of nuts a day helps people lose weight, as it keeps people fuller longer and eating less throughout the day.
I pack a handful of nuts in a Ziploc bag and throw it in my purse in the morning for an accessible snack at work. It takes two seconds in the morning now that I’m in the hang of it, and it always is a lifesaver when I get hungry or tempted by unhealthier snack options around me. That one little bag has a huge impact on sustaining weight loss.
If you’re looking for fiber, look no further! I grew up eating legumes, but didn’t personally look to include them into my pantry in college….until I realized the benefits of consuming them! Besides their high fiber and protein content, there are so many health benefits to consuming legumes- they’re good for your heart, they help lower cholesterol, they can help regulate blood sugar, they’re high in iron, and they’re a good source of B vitamins.
You’ll find a lot of vegetarians or vegans rely on beans because of their high protein content. Just a half cup of cooked black beans contain almost 8 grams of protein. The soluble fibers in beans means that there is a delay in your stomach emptying, so you feel full for longer. Beans just are a superfood for weight loss, as most nutrient dense, filling foods are.
Sweet potatoes are a staple dinner item at our home. Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, contain a large amount of vitamins- specifically vitamins A, C, & E (most which have anti-inflammatory properties), can help minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease, are good for digestion, and can help in regulating blood pressure.
The best thing about sweet potatoes (for me), is that they taste like a “cheat meal” because they’re creamy and “carby” tasting, but in reality, they are an extremely nutrient dense food that will keep you extra full. An additional benefit that I personally find when eating sweet potatoes is that it curbs my craving for dessert. It’s probably the mixture of the filling property and its sweet taste. Either way, sweet potatoes are a huge win for staying full and curbing cravings.
The 5 foods mentioned above are by no means the MOST filling foods out there. They have just been the powerful/impactful for me. If you want to try and implement more filling foods into your diet, try and map out your food intake throughout a normal day, and decide where you can take out some of the less nutrient dense food and replace it with some of the foods above. If I’ve learned anything at all, it truly is the “small” daily health decisions that we make that slowly add up to big changes in our lives!