We all know the basic premise of weight loss: burn more calories than you eat. Whether you reach this by IIFYM, high-fat low-carb, or some other form of eating – the science is basically the same: you can’t lose weight if you’re eating drastically more calories than you’re burning up.
So what’s a hungry girl to do? Cue high volume low calorie foods. In other words, foods that fill you up but don’t pack on the calories. As opposed to their opposites such as dense chocolate cakes, fatty foods, and my personal favorite – Sour Patch Kids.
If you’re like me and can’t stand the feeling of hunger but also want to fit into your jeans, load up on the following foods and you’ll not only stay full – you’ll stay fit too.
Greens: Kale, spinach, arugula, and lettuce are all delicious and nutritious ways to fill up on fiber and micronutrients without overdoing the calories. Make yourself a big salad 30 minutes to an hour before sitting down for dinner. Your stomach will feel full and happy and you won’t be tempted to reach for seconds.
Squash: Spaghetti squash and butternut squash are my personal go-tos. Toss them in marinara or maple syrup, add lean meats or nuts, and chow down.
Broccoli and Cauliflower: I’ll be honest – I wasn’t a fan of these guys until recently. But once I realized they’re a completely different treat when tossed in lemon pepper seasoning or fajita seasoning… I was hooked.
Apples: Leave the skin on! That’s where most of the fiber is which keeps your digestive system regular and your belly full. Try tossing them in fresh lime juice or sprinkling them with cinnamon and cocoa powder.
Potatoes: Mashed, diced, or made into fries, potatoes are the quickest way to my heart. My favorite way to enjoy these nutritious veggies is in hash brown form with 2 eggs on top.
Asparagus: These are a nutrition powerhouse; full of vitamins and minerals. Break off the ends, toss them in a little EVOO and red pepper flakes & garlic, and bake for 45 minutes at 425. Top with grilled chicken or lean steak – YUM.
Greek Yogurt: Not only is it delicious, but Greek yogurt is protein-packed with naturally occurring probiotics. Be careful though, as lots of brands load up on added sugars – and in turn, calories. Reach for plain and add your own toppings like honey, mixed nuts and seeds, berries, or cocoa nibs.
Peppers: Bell peppers are great for dipping in salsa or eating plain. I love to slice one up and toss it in my bag for snacking on at work. Plus – they’re crunchy and refreshing. And did you know, our brains actually love the experience of eating crunchy foods? Which is why sometimes we find ourselves stuffing our mouths with way too much cereal or popcorn….
Berries: Not only are berries ridiculously yummy, they’ve been shown to have immense heart health benefits. So grab a bowl full and kick back guilt free.
Coffee/Tea: OK, so these aren’t “foods,” but they’re great “fillers” for when it’s not quite snack or mealtime and your belly needs something to fill it up. Stick to the unsweetened varieties and sip, sip, sip.
What are your favorite low calorie foods? Let me know in the comments!