How to Eat Healthy and Stay Full

Blog, Food

by Melinda D. Maryniuk, MEd, RD, CDE

Question: What do these foods have in common?

  • 1/3 cup of raisins or 32 grapes?
  • Peanut butter (2 Tbsp) on a few crackers
  •  2 cups of veggie slices, ¼ cup hummus, and a peach

Answer: Each of these choices has about the same amount of calories – but think about the difference in the amount of food.

This is sometimes referred to as a “volumetrics” approach to eating.  This eating style focuses on eating more high-volume, high-fiber, high water content, low-calorie foods (such as fruits and vegetables) and less of the calorie-dense foods such as fried foods and sweets.   By eating more of these foods, you feel fuller and you will eat fewer calories.

When you include a source of protein and fat in your meal or snack, you will feel more full.  For example, just snacking on a handful of blueberries can leave you hungry an hour later. But if combined with a spoonful of Greek Yogurt, the additional protein and fat can help hold off the hunger pangs.

Here are some tips to help you eat for fullness. In some cases, the suggestions involve swapping one for something lower in calorie and higher in volume, and in other cases, the suggestion alters the ingredients a bit to offer more volume to the dish or a source of healthy fat to help with satiety.

Instead of Try
Raisins in your oatmeal or as a snack Blueberries or cut up fresh fruit
Pasta with tomato sauce Pasta with tomato sauce with added chunks of onion, mushrooms, green pepper, zucchini, and eggplant
A cup of chicken and rice soup A cup soup with white beans, celery, carrot, green beans, onions and rice.
A hamburger A smaller hamburger layered with tomatoes, grilled onions and peppers and mushrooms
Scrambled eggs Eggs scrambled with spinach, onions, mushrooms and fresh chives
A bowl of spaghetti A bowl of spiralized zucchini (sometimes called zoodles)
White rice Brown rice, mixed with finely cut up veggies.  Or instead of rice, try finely minced (or “riced” cauliflower)
White toast with jam Whole wheat toast with a few slices of mashed avocado
Corn chips with salsa Hummus with veggies
A dish of strawberry ice cream Yogurt with a mound of colorful berries

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