- It’s important to make sure you’re eating the right kind of food to fill you up
- Simple carbohydrates cause your blood sugar levels to dip
- INSIDER found out which foods are the most filling to eat
Even if you seem to be snacking all day, you may still find yourself hungry for more. That’s because not all food will keep you equally full and satisfied.
If you’re trying to have a healthier, more filling diet, then Rima Kleiner, MS, RD and blogger at Dish on Fish recommended staying away from simple carbohydrates – think baked goods, chips, candy, and full sugar sodas, as these won’t keep you satisfied.
To help you create a more satisfying diet, INSIDER talked to nutritionists to find out which foods are the most filling to eat.
Protein-rich foods can keep you fuller for much longer.
Multiple nutritionists advised eating foods high in protein to fill you up. “Protein may help our brains recognize the hormone leptin, which helps us feel fuller longer and provides energy for our bodies,” says Kleiner.
“Protein also breaks down slower than carbs, so you’ll feel full for hours after a meal with a good amount of protein,” added registered dietitian nutritionist and owner of Bright Body Nutrition Mikka Knapp. “Lean meats like chicken, turkey, or seafood are the best option here. Aim for 4-6 ounces of meat at lunch or dinner. Beans are also high in both protein and fiber, so you’ll get double the benefits with a bowl of lentil curry or black bean soup.”
Kleiner also suggested eating high protein foods that are low in fat and carbohydrate – like salmon – to give you the strength you need to power through your day-to-day activities. “Also add nuts or seeds to your cereal or oatmeal, salmon and cucumber to your whole grain toast, beans, and tuna to your salad at lunch, yogurt to your fruit snack and shrimp to your pasta dinner,” she said.
High fiber foods are also known to satisfy your appetite.
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According to Chandler Ray, RD, genetics dietitian at Pathway Genomics, high-fiber foods slow down the digestive process, helping you feel fuller and more satisfied for longer. She also noted that high-fiber foods can also help lower your cholesterol and improve blood sugar levels.
How does fiber exactly work? According to Knapp, the stomach takes a much longer time breaking down high-fiber foods, and it moves through your digestive slower than their low-fiber counterparts. Knapp noted that the foods highest in fiber are beans, avocados, berries, pears, broccoli, and nuts.
Dr. Mike Roussell, Ph.D., nutritionist and co-founder of Neutein, also pointed out that oats and boiled potatoes are filled with gut-satisfying fiber. “Boiled potatoes have the highest satiety rating according to the Satiety Index,” he said.
Foods high in healthy fats, like Omega-3, are also filling options.
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According to Knapp, healthy fats are actually helpful in signaling satiety, making smaller portions filling options for your diet.
“A dollop of hummus, half an avocado, or a handful of nuts as a snack or with a meal releases signals to oral receptors that tell your brain you’ve eaten enough,” she said. “Research has also shown that including some MCT oil with a meal improve fullness and results in weight loss.”
Roussell noted that pistachios are also a filling snack that’s high in healthy fats, along with other hunger-satisfying components: “Pistachios contain what I call the satiety trifecta – fat, fiber, and protein,” he said. “Pistachios also help control blood sugar levels which aim in maintaining satiety following a meal.”
Low-energy-dense foods are great for satisfying hunger without overflowing on calories.
According to Ray, low-energy-dense foods are very low in calories, but high in volume, fiber, and nutrients to keep you fuller for longer. Ray recommends filling up on these types of foods (such as water-rich fruits and vegetables) to lower your caloric intake while keeping your cravings down.
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