The fiber in the fruit and skin of an apple helps you feel full and satisfied. Because you eat the whole fruit (with the exception of the core), your brain perceives the apple as a larger volume of food.
Also, an apple is stimulating to multiple senses when you eat it: you see the whole apple in your hand, you smell and then taste its sweet tart flavor, and hear the crunch as you take a bite. Believe it or not, by tuning into all of these details, you will feel full faster, and stay feeling full for longer!
Dietician and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Lori Zanini, emphasizes that avocados are one of the only fruits that contain monounsaturated fats; “Including healthy fats in our meals during our day is important in order to keep us full and satisfied after meals.”
An avocado is a great source of fiber, which helps to regulate blood sugar, as well. Fiber also promotes a healthy gut and colon, helps to control appetite, and can be helpful in achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight.
Flaxseed is packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fats and fiber to keep you feeling satisfied. One tablespoon of whole flaxseed has 3 grams of fiber and 4 grams of healthy fat. Try adding a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to a smoothie, or sprinkle it on top of yogurt.
A 5 oz. container of plain full-fat Greek yogurt contains 15 grams of protein. Some studies are now suggesting that protein may be even more filing than fat or carbohydrates. Other high-quality sources of protein include lean poultry, meats and fish, milk, eggs, lentils, and peanut butter.
Raw, unsalted nuts like almonds and walnuts are full of protein, healthy fats, and nutrients. This makes nuts a great addition to meals and desserts, and also qualifies them as an exceptional snack. A handful of nuts can keep you full (and energy levels up) far longer than a bag of potato chips would!
Oats are a complex carbohydrate and take longer to digest. As the oats are digested, they release energy slowly, allowing you to hold onto your feeling of fullness. It also helps to keeps blood sugar and insulin levels stable. To get the full benefits (and flavor) choose steel-cut oats made at home – stay away from microwave packets!
Quinoa is a great source of both protein and fiber. One cup of quinoa contains 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. This combination not only fills you up, it helps stabilize your blood sugar, too!
Vegetables like lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes have a very high water content. Combine that with their abundance of fiber, and you’ve got yourself a full stomach!
Eating a salad before a meal has been associated with increased feeling of satiety and decreased calorie intake. Research has shown that when the first course of a meal is a large salad, people eat fewer calories for the entire meal compared to skipping the salad.
Similar to salad, a bowl of soup before your entrée helps to take the edge off of hunger, increase feelings of fullness, and reduce the total number of calories consumed during the entire meal. Keep in mind, this doesn’t work well if you eat 500 calories worth of soup before dinner, so keep your appetizer soup to about 150 calories.
Spinach is a great source of thylakoids (plant membranes crucial to photosynthesis), which research suggests may encourage a feeling of fullness. One study found that when individuals ate foods containing thylakoids, their levels of leptin (the hormone that signals you to “stop” eating) increased. They also experienced a decrease in levels of ghrelin (the hormone that triggers feelings of hunger.)
By choosing foods that contain protein, fats, and fiber, you will not only make your tummy happy, but keep it that way!