Part of the key to losing weight is eating fewer calories, but that's impossible if it makes you feel so famished that you end up eating more! Nutritionists Stephanie Clarke, RD, and Willow Jarosh, RD, of C&J Nutrition recommend including these five foods in your daily diet because they'll fill you up, so you'll feel less hungry and in turn eat fewer calories.
Willow and Stephanie say these little black and white wonders "can absorb up to 10 times their size in water," which means that if you eat chia seeds that have soaked in liquid (like this gingerbread chia pudding), they'll continue to release their stored water into your body (cool, right?!). This can help keep you feeling full and hydrated. Chia seeds also contain protein and fiber — one tablespoon offers two grams of protein and four grams of fiber — which contributes to fullness, "so they're working triple duty to keep you feeling satisfied."
All types of legumes, whether it's black beans, garbanzos, cannellini, or lentils, pack both protein and fiber, a combination that makes you feel more satisfied and keeps you feeling full longer after you've finished eating. And they're not just for salads, soups, or burritos. Add beans to smoothies, whip up some chocolate hummus, bake a batch of honey-roasted chickpeas, or make these black bean brownie bites.
Cooked Whole Grains
In this low-carb craze we're in, whole grains get a bad reputation, but they're complex carbs and eating them can actually help you lose weight because, you guessed it, they make you feel full. Willow said, "They have soaked up water during cooking and that means they take up more space in your stomach for fewer calories (more water equals more volume)." Stephanie said, "They contain that fiber-protein combo that is so filling." And one of the best reasons they make you feel full is because whole grains still have the bran and the germ, taking more time to chew, which "gives your brain more time to process that your stomach is full." So go ahead and eat quinoa (add it to your salads), brown rice, and oats!
Berries offer some of the highest fiber of all fruit, which makes them extra filling. A one-cup serving of blackberries offers 7.6 grams of fiber and one cup of raspberries offers eight grams. To get your berry fill, try this high-protein vanilla almonds raspberry overnight oats recipe for tomorrow's breakfast.
Like berries, apples contain fiber, which Willow says includes a special type called pectin, which is especially filling. Just make sure you eat your apple with the peel, because that's where most of the fiber comes from. If you're craving something sweet and warm like apple pie, try this apple ring pancake recipe.