By Melinda Maryniuk, MEd, RD, CDCES

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, nutritious foods (such as fruits & vegetables) and less of the calorie-dense foods such as fried foods and sweets. By eating more of these foods, you feel more full and eat more nutritious options, with 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 or nut butter, the additional protein and fat will help keep you satiated.

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 nuts.
Pasta with tomato sauce Whole-wheat pasta with tomato sauce with added sautéed 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 small hamburger layered with tomatoes, grilled onions and peppers and mushrooms.
Scrambled eggs Eggs scrambled with spinach, onions, mushrooms and fresh chives.
A sweet coffee drink, soda, or lemonade Water with infused fruit, seltzer, or tea.
White rice Brown rice, mixed with cut up veggies.
White toast with jam Whole wheat toast with 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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