If you want to know some of the best low calorie foods that fill you up, then you're reading the right post.
Eating multiple small meals throughout your day is a great way to ensure your metabolism keeps active.
However, if you are enjoying a full plate at breakfast, lunch and dinner, while snacking in between, then all that eating will definitely add up.
A study done at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, concluded that most people don’t need more than one snack in between lunch and dinner, except for when they are fueling up before and after a workout.
An average American gets about 25 percent of his/her daily food intake from just snacks; this is roughly 580 calories on snacking only.
So the big question is; what do you snack on when you get the munchies?
Well, you can set a limit of 100 to 200 calories for your daily snacking which should include foods such as nuts, veggies, low-fat dairy and fruits.
The Academy advises that combining these foods will provide you with a good amount of fiber and protein as these two particular nutrients are very filling and breaks down slowly so you feel fuller for longer, plus unlike refined carbs they won’t trigger the release of insulin.
So if you’re always struggling with cravings or just have a sweet tooth you can’t curb then here are some healthy replacements you can munch on.
24 LOW CALORIE FOODS THAT FILL YOU UP
1. Greek Yogurt – 59 CALORIES PER SERVING
In comparison to regular yogurt, Greek yogurt has a thick consistency and has higher protein content.
You can have it as breakfast or an afternoon snack to fill you up until it’s time for your next meal.
A study found that a group of women who snacked on Greek yogurt felt fuller for longer and had dinner far later than another group who had 160-calorie yogurts that were either low, moderate or high in protein.
The bottom line is: Greek yogurt is the perfect high-protein breakfast, lunch and snack.
It can increase the feeling of being sated and help you feel less hungry until you have your next meal.
Greek Yogurt is one of the most efficient low calorie foods that fill you up.
2. Dried apricots & raw almonds – 92 CALORIES PER CUP
The trail mix sold at the convenient stores can have extra sugar from the chocolate candies added to it or be loaded with too much peanuts.
Almonds offer more calcium, vitamin E and iron. Plus, having almonds with dried fruits will add some satiating fiber.
Apricots do carry some concentrated calories so a little of it goes a long way.
You’ll only need an ounce of almonds (about 22 nuts) and roughly 3 apricots to get 200 calories.
3. Sprouted grain chips – 170 CALORIES PER SERVING
These crispy chips have little nutritional value, except for 12.5 grams of fat and 187 calories per serving but if you tweak the process to make them then they can be a healthy snack.
When seeds, beans or grains are allowed to sprout a little, it opens up the harder outer shell and releases the nutrients inside it like protein and fiber.
For example, Simply Sprouted Way Better Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips contain 9 grams of fat, a dose of vitamin A, 3 grams of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and 170 calories per serving.
4. A nut bar – 140 CALORIES PER SERVING
A lot of granola bars are simply glorified candy bars and when we consume these refined grains they burn very quickly making us crave for more.
It is best to break this cycle, we need to switch to whole grains and nuts.
A recommended brand would be Strong & Kind Bar; they are quite savory and slightly sweet, containing no refined carbohydrates or hydrogenated oils.
These little power snacks are one of the best low calorie foods that fill you up.
They are packed with 9 amino acids from nuts, seeds and legumes and have 10 grams of protein.
5. Carrots and Low-fat cheese – 95 CALORIES PER SERVING
To not stress over the serving sizes of these dairy staples, it's best going for the pre-packaged versions of the cheddar cheese sticks or the low-fat string cheese.
Bear in mind that you will have to watch your portion size so that your snack doesn’t turn out to be a small meal.
It's recommended that you should skip the hydrogenated oil and sodium loaded crackers but instead enjoy your treat with some chopped carrots: they have more potassium, vitamins A and C and calcium than baby carrots.
6. Greek yogurt & fresh fruits – 80 CALORIES PER SERVING
A sweet treat can seem very tempting when you need a little pick-me-up, but eventually you will feel the sugar crash.
That’s the beauty of Greek yogurt; you will be curbing your craving for something smooth and creamy with only 5 grams of sugar and 17 grams of protein.
Plus, the concentration of probiotics in it is more than that in regular yogurt which helps to keep your immune system strong and helps your body digests food better.
To satisfy your need for sweet, have a cup of sliced strawberries or peaches. With just about 80 calories you’ll be getting your daily recommended intake of vitamin C and adding 3 grams of fiber.
If you want one of the ultimate low calorie foods that fill you up, then you must try this.
7. OATMEAL – 68 CALORIES PER SERVING
100 percent whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice pack in that feel-full factor.
Unlike the sugary breakfast that sends your body on a roller coaster ride, filling fibers aid in balancing your blood sugar levels.
For a satiating whole-grain breakfast option packed with fiber, try some oats cooked in milk (for protein) and water. Add a little honey or banana if you crave a little sweetness.
This breakfast will help to prevent you from overeating later on in the day.
8. BROCCOLI – 26 CALORIES PER CUP
Vegetables that burn calories? Isn’t that a good reason to eat your veggies! As said by “Foods That Cause You To Lose Weight: The Negative Calorie Effect,” 26 calories can be found in 1 cup of broccoli and it requires 80 calories to digest in your body.
So you literally burn 55 calories by eating 1 cup of broccoli!
Don’t like broccoli?
Want one of the best energy efficient low calorie foods that fill you up?
Then try celery, asparagus, zucchini or cauliflower.
9. Watermelon – 95 CALORIES PER SERVING
At least half of every meal or snack should be of a colorful produce, preferably a combination of water and fiber to fill you up on less calories.
For this summer, seek to satisfy your sweet tooth with some water-logged watermelon.
Just 2 cups contain nearly half the recommended daily value of vitamin C and less than 100 calories!
On a hot summer day a watermelon smoothie or slushie can really hit the spot (yummy).
11. BeaNS – 81 CALORIES PER SERVING
Legumes supply the perfect mix of weight loss ingredients. Studies have found that they are excellent sources of fiber that can help to prevent against diseases.
Beans in particular contain complex carbs, fiber, nutrients and a lot of antioxidants making them a great food for waistline watchers.
So think about stocking up on lentils, red-kidney beans, edamame, black beans, chickpeas, and black-eyed peas. Use them for your stews, soups, wraps and salads.
The possibilities are endless!
11. Soup – 40 CALORIES PER SERVING
Studies have found that people who add broth-based soups (even the low-calorie ones) to their diets eat fewer calories at mealtime.
So the next time you are at a restaurant, try the broth-based fiber filled veggie soup. It will help keep your hands out of the bread basket and you will eat less of the main dish.
Tip: You can ask the server to put your main dish in a to-go container that way you consume fewer calories and fat plus you have lunch for tomorrow.
12. FRESH MILK – 42 CALORIES PER SERVING
Okay, so you might have outgrown having milk with your dinner, but hear me out.
Research has shown that consuming fat-free and low-fat dairy products regularly can help you stay slim and satisfied.
The recommended 3 servings daily can be had by kicking off your day with a yogurt or cheese-based breakfast, a glass of low-fat milk as an afternoon snack or drink a low-fat chocolate milk after your work-out (a great exercise recovery drink!).
Drinking low-fat fresh milk is one of best low calorie foods that fill you up for long periods especially at night when that craving kicks in.
13. Green JUICE – 140 CALORIES PER SERVING
If green juices and smoothies are not already part of your diet then you are definitely missing out on these awesome nutrient-dense snacks (can also be a meal).
Made with kale, collard, mustard, spinach or any of the other many greens, green juices are rich in minerals and vitamins, and will give your body the feel-full fiber with very few calories.
Bear in mind that it doesn’t quite taste like salads (just saying).
Here’s a protein shake recipe that is packed with nutrients and can stave off hunger in between meals; in a blender add 2 scoops of vanilla protein powder, 1 cup fresh kale, 1/2 cup frozen pineapple, 1/2 banana, 1/2-cup of ice and 1 cup unsweetened almond milk. Blend until smooth.
14. Radish – 17 Calories Per Cup
Radish can be stingy when it comes on to calories but they provide a good amount of vitamin C and they deliver a great texture and piquant flavor to dishes.
They provide enough of the vitamin C that our bodies need to repair bodily tissues and support growth which includes your expanding muscle mass.
The leafy green top is very much edible and is loaded with low-calorie nutritional benefits as well.
15. Cucumber – 22 Calories Per 1/2 Cucumber
Cucumbers are one of the most popular low calorie foods that fill you up and that's because they are 95 percent water.
Their high volume of water helps to keep your body hydrated and feeling full so it’s easier for you to resist going into the cookie jar.
For a bit of extra fiber, leave the peel on the cucumber as that’s the hardest part of the vegetable.
16. Strawberries – 49 Calories Per Cup
Now ever-present in supermarkets and grocery stores all year-round, strawberries supply a good shot of vitamin C, are high in fat-fighting fiber and are of course, light in calories.
Studies suggest that breathing could be made easier during exercise (especially for those who suffer from exercise-induced asthma) by increasing their intake of vitamin C.
What’s even more interesting is that a study done by the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 2014, found that eating more rosy fruits give you a wallop of antioxidants that might help to keep coronary problems at bay by improving the blood cholesterol numbers.
17. Honeydew Melon – 61 Calories Per Cup
Sweet and juicy, the fleshes of honeydew melons are low in calories but contain plenty of potassium and vitamin C.
You can enjoy it in salads, smoothies, salsas, yogurts or just eat the wedges as is.
If you are new to buying this type of melon, avoid any that has soft spots and choose the one that has a waxy rind and feels heavy for its size.
Honeydew melon is one of the most refreshing low calorie foods that fill you up.
18. Blackberries – 62 Calories Per Cup
Blackberries are just down-right great.
They are light in calories but packed with fiber which is essential in helping you to feel full and is the primary reason roughage has been shown to contribute to the shedding of fat.
It also helps to slow down digestion and an 8 gram cup helps to keep you full in between meals without filling you out.
Blackberries' nutritional content also contains antioxidants, potassium, magnesium and vitamin C.
19. Plain Rice Cakes—35 Calories Per Cake
Made from puffed brown rice, rice cakes can satisfy your cravings for something crunchy without the high number of calories.
Rice cakes are a great source of energizing carbohydrates, whole grains and one of the most effective low calorie foods that fill you up.
The flavored types tend to have more sugars and sketchy ingredients so try to avoid those ones.
20. Chicken Breast – 92 Calories Per 3 Oz
Looking for a high-protein, muscle-building, low-calorie meat? Then skin-less, boneless chicken breast is a good option.
There are so many ways that you can prepare chicken breasts that you could not get bored with it.
It will keep you feeling satiated, and because of the high protein content of chicken breasts, your body will experience the thermic effect of feeding, which is the amount of calories you burn by the digestion of food.
21. Lentils – 115 Calories Per 1/2 Cup
Very few foods bring to the table the amount of nutritional bang for your money as lentils do.
They are stingy with calorie but supply plenty of core-carving fiber, vitamins, minerals and muscle-sculpting protein. Not to mention they are budget-friendly as well!
22. POPCORN – 80 CALORIES PER CUP
If you are one to Netflix binge in the afternoon or late nights, then you must have experienced the temptation of wanting to snack which is hard to avoid in cases like these.
If you’re munching on popcorn, then you can snack away without feeling all the guilt you would normally feel after eating a whole bag of Doritos.
Popcorn is good at filling up the room in your stomach and seeing the container emptying in front of you tricks your brain into thinking you are consuming more calories than you really are and that you will feel full when you finish.
When you pop the corn yourself, it gives you control of the amount of salt and butter that gets added to the kernels but you can still have the store bought version as long as you check the fat and sodium content.
23. TIN SALMON – 122 CALORIES PER SERVING
Having different servings of protein throughout your day go a long way in keeping you feeling fuller for longer.
Make sure to avoid the vending machine cravings in between meals especially if you had something like tin salmon as part of your lunch.
Seafood is great for your heart and body in general because of the omega-3 fatty acids that it provides.
Its low calorie and protein content can keep you sated without adding extra pounds to your body.
A single tin of salmon contains 122 calories and a massive 17.5 grams of protein – therefore, you can fly by that 2 p.m. junk food craving.
You can buy and prepared your fresh salmon if you prefer but the canned version is just as good without all that work and you can use it for a salad or mix it with some vegetables for a sandwich.
Any way you choose to get your salmon, you can enjoy a hearty and delicious snack.
24. Almond Milk, Unsweetened – 30 Calories Per Cup
This faux milk is a dairy-free, low-fat, nutty alternative to other dairy milks, which is perfect for vegans and vegetarians.
It is made by grinding skinned almonds with water then filtering out the mixture. Low in calorie it is great for post workout shakes, pancakes and cereals.
Always look for the unsweetened version if you want to avoid the sugar.
IT'S YOUR TURN to TRY SOME
It's up to you now to take up the challenge, get creative and start snacking healthily on these low calorie foods that fill you up.
Yes, a lot was listed above but just start off with one that you're most “comfy” with as you will feel more motivated, then gradually include more to your diet.