Let’s get one thing straight from the beginning, healthy eating (especially with the goal of weight loss) doesn’t mean that you should be starving all of the time. In fact, you want to eat foods that keep your blood sugar at a steady level so you’re not left with those feelings of fatigue and intense hunger only a few hours after eating.
Your meals should leave you feeling full and satisfied. You shouldn’t feel hungry all the time even if you want to lose weight. While you might feel a bit of brain fog and a bit grumpy as your body works to eliminate all of the processed, sugar-filled foods you’ve previously been eating – as time goes on, you should really feel fulfilled by what you are eating.
What types of foods can make you feel full and satisfied without packing on the calories? We’re going to focus here on healthy fats and foods that are packed with fiber. In both cases, they are slow to digest, won’t spike your blood sugar, will give you energy and help keep your healthy eating habits in check. Why? Because, once again, you won’t be starving all the time.
9 Fiber & Protein-Rich Foods to Keep You Full
1. Handful of nuts or 1 Tbsp nut butter
Nuts are packed with healthy fats and protein. We’re talking about raw, unsalted nuts, not the sugar-coated ones. Go for almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios or Brazil nuts. You can grab a handful and throw them on a salad, have a handful as a snack or even take 1 Tbsp of nut butter and have it with an apple, banana or on a rice cake.
2. Chia seeds
Most of us are familiar with this powerful superfood! Most of the carbohydrates found in chia seeds are in the form of fiber (over 80%!) and in only 28g (1 oz), you’ll find 11 grams of fiber! Plus, when you add liquid to chia seeds, they expand and stick together to create this gel-like texture that is perfect for this Creamy Mango Chia Pudding recipe!
Fun fact: Did you know that quinoa isn’t a grain but in fact a seed? It’s gluten-free, a complete protein and, of course, packed with fiber as well. One cup (185 g) of cooked quinoa contains 5g of fiber and 8g of protein! Additionally, the carbohydrates found in quinoa are complex meaning that they take your body a bit more time to break down and will not significantly spike your blood sugar. Whip up this fruity quinoa salad recipe and bring it with you to work for lunch.
Talk about a protein and fiber powerhouse! It’s no wonder they are a vegetarian and vegan diet staple. A serving of lentils (100g or ½ cup) contains 8g of fiber and 9g of protein! While lentils are one of the foods you’ll want to avoid before running, they are perfect for any other meal of the day.
5. Sweet potatoes
Whether you prefer to eat them sweet with a dash of cinnamon and raw honey or savory like these loaded sweet potato skins, sweet potatoes are a must-have on every menu no matter if you’re looking to lose weight or gain muscle. One medium sweet potato only has a little over 100 calories, but 4 grams of fiber! As an added bonus, it’s packed with vitamin A!
Hummus makes a great dip for veggies and is a much healthier alternative to sour cream or other cream-based dips! It’s full of fiber and protein from the garbanzo beans and healthy fats coming from the tahini (sesame seed paste) that is mixed in as well. Only 100g of hummus provides 8g of protein and 4g of fiber! You can make your own or buy it at the store and use it as a dip or in this Hummus-Crusted Chicken & Vegetable recipe.
Avocado (which is actually a berry!) is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids. These help to keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. The protein content, unlike most fruits and vegetables, is actually really high. Approximately 300g of avocado contains about 5g of protein while packing twice as much potassium as a large banana.
There’s a reason that mom always told you to finish all your broccoli! Broccoli is part of the cruciferous vegetable family which has been associated with a lower risk of cancer. One cup of chopped broccoli (approx. 91 grams) contains 2g of fiber and 3g of protein while providing over 100% of your daily need for vitamins C and K and is also a good source of vitamin A, folate and potassium.
Barley is the fiber winner among all whole grains! Only one cup of hulled barley contains whopping 16g of fiber. Barley also provides a high percentage of the daily requirement of manganese and selenium.
To avoid cravings, you should focus on foods that are high in protein and fiber. If you want to lose weight and keep your growling stomach quiet, opt for the healthy, unprocessed foods mentioned above to feel full.