Because apples just leave me feeling hungry.
March 30, 2010 1:38 PM   Subscribe

What low-calorie foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, do you find most filling?

I know this has been asked in various ways on AskMe, but I can only eat so much of the oft-suggested celery. Basically, I'm trying to get my diet down to 2,000 calories, maybe 1,800 if it's still healthy.

But I find in the first half of my day, I'm at around 1,000 calories and still hungry. Which leads me to buy less-than healthy food in the afternoon.

So what can I be eating during the day that will keep me full but not put me into over-eating territory?
posted by kensington314 to Food & Drink (38 answers total) 54 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: One additional note: I bike home and often take a swim on the way, so I really need something that gives me that energy before I get home.
posted by kensington314 at 1:40 PM on March 30, 2010

Oatmeal fits the filling / energy criteria. Not so much a fruit or vegetable.
posted by grateful at 1:44 PM on March 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

I find that low-sugar vegetables and fruits keep me fullest. (So, no apples or carrots, for example.) I live on brussel sprouts, every kind of pepper, kale (and kale chips - yum!), cucumber, and zucchini. I'm not even remotely recommending the Atkins diet, but you might want to google around to find various online lists of lower sugar veggies, like this one. For a boost of energy I go for non-salted almonds.
posted by meerkatty at 1:44 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Soy milk; rice cakes; oatmeal. Rice cakes are great for munching all day.

I've found that despite all the cheerful diet ads that say to load up on vegetables, I could eat raw carrots or celery or tomatoes all day and still be starving. The only vegetables that seem for me to be the most filling are the ones least recommended by low-carb diets (though still probably better than other foods): corn and beets.

Eating oatmeal in the morning, and drinking a glass of soy milk after lunch, helps me a lot; of course YMMV.
posted by Melismata at 1:45 PM on March 30, 2010

Sugary foods (apples, bread, pasta) cause my blood sugar to spike & then I crave carbs/food more. So I try to eat more protein based foods & vegetables and try to make sure they're not drenched in oils. I also a bit less (like, 10-20% less) per meal and don't really miss it. Lost 10 lbs this way (gained them back when I fell off the wagon...).
posted by MesoFilter at 1:48 PM on March 30, 2010

You might want to look into research about satiety. Nutritiondata has taken that research and developed its own index around "fullness". On that website you can enter any recipe/list of ingredients and it will generate a fullness factor for you.
posted by bove at 1:49 PM on March 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

Hard-boiled egg whites. Toss the yolks (or feed them to a derserving puppy if you've got one around).
posted by charmedimsure at 1:52 PM on March 30, 2010

Right now I'm on a oatmeal kick, started because of oatmeal's known filling properties. It's the only thing that will tide me over until lunch when consumed at breakfast. I actually have what I've dubbed "fruit-n-goo" -- a packet of (quaker reduced sugar peaches and cream) instant oatmeal with enough cut up strawberries to provide a solid layer on top of the goo. The combination also weighs in at less than 150 calories total.
posted by cgg at 1:52 PM on March 30, 2010

Nuts and dried fruit work for me. Take a look, also, at the trail mix thread a bit further down the page.
posted by jquinby at 1:52 PM on March 30, 2010

Rats, just noticed that you were mostly looking for fruits and veggies. Still, a nice mix of unsalted nuts and dried fruit (less the M&Ms and suchlike) would be a good healthy snack.
posted by jquinby at 1:53 PM on March 30, 2010

posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:54 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've found edamame (available in your grocer's freezer aisle) to be surprisingly filling.
posted by mhum at 1:54 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by Doohickie at 1:55 PM on March 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

I've heard great things about Steel Cut Oats both flavor & digestion wise, and I hear the Bob's Red Mill Steel Cut Oats are the best.
posted by MesoFilter at 1:57 PM on March 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

This stuff is incredibly filling, and doesn't have any calories (depending on the brand). Just don't make the mistake I made of trying to eat it raw.
posted by Ashley801 at 1:57 PM on March 30, 2010

Baked sweet potatoes, plain. No butter or anything on them.
posted by kmavap at 2:00 PM on March 30, 2010

nuts (walnuts or almonds), a touch of granola, and plain yogurt make me super full. i have trouble sleeping if im hungry (and im constantly hungry- fast metabolism) and nuts + yogurt are my daily don't-go-to-bed-hungry snack.
posted by raw sugar at 2:01 PM on March 30, 2010

The following is what I eat before lunch:

- 2 boiled eggs
- 1 cup oatmeal
- 1 banana
- 1 orange
- 1/4 cup almonds

The total caloric value of this food is ~ 750 calories; 28g of protein and 32g of fat. It's a good balance, keeps me eating every hour to keep myself from hunger. A cup of coffee with skim milk and I've got a good start to the day.
posted by Hiker at 2:04 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oatmeal, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, lentils etc are all filling low-calorie foods. Fruits like apples, pears and oranges have some natural sugar, but actually not that much compared to fruit juice and soda. But you also need to add some proteins to your diet, for example low fat yoghurt without added sugar.
posted by iviken at 2:06 PM on March 30, 2010

I was in the same boat as you looking for different foods to keep me filled while still cutting my weight. One important thing most web sites/people leave out is a balanced meal. Having fat offset carbs, and consuming protein will keep you filled longer and satisfied. Basically watch your macronutrient and consume each everytime you eat! One last point is to stay away from sweet food. I find they make me want to eat even more whether this being artificial sweeteners (splenda and whatnot) or yogurt/fruit. Granted, I am not saying sugar is bad, not at all especially fruit sugar, but they tend to make me want to eat more.

That being said, my favorite foods to keep me filled are:

cottage cheese
cantaloupe (very low cal and fills me up but I'll get hungry after a while)
natural almond butter (eat with carrots or wheat bread)
smoked salmon (protein and good fat)

Also this list you might find helpful. Fruits with the lowest calories per 100 grams. Although some may not fill you up, generally fruits are good options.

Calories per 100 grams

Grapefruit 30
Watermelon 30
Starfruit 31
Strawberry 32
Cantaloupe 34
Honeydew 36
Papaya 39
Asian Pears 42
Blackberry 43
Nectarines 43
Pineapple 45
Cranberries 46
Florida Oranges 46
Plums 46
Apricots 48
Oranges 49
Apple 52
Raspberries 52
Tangerines 53
Blueberry 57
Pears 58
Kiwi 61
Cherries 63
Mango 65
Grapes 69
Persimmon 70
Pomegranates 83
Banana 89
posted by telsa at 2:12 PM on March 30, 2010 [5 favorites]

Strawberries are quite filling, I've found.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 2:19 PM on March 30, 2010

Edamame fills me up
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 2:40 PM on March 30, 2010

Normal salad (lettuce, other salad-y stuff if you feel like it) with a little bit of full fat dressing seems to do the trick for me. Even if you use 100 calories of dressing, it's not so bad in terms of calories, and you'll be full for quite a while because of the volume and fat and fiber.

If you're willing to consider it, adding a bit of protein (tofu, chicken, egg white) will make you even fuller, and won't really add substantial calories.

Also, pickles! Sure, they have a lot of salt, but who cares about water weight? They're tasty and savory, so in my experience it feels like you've had something substantial.

Also, half a serving of high fiber cereal tends to be extremely filling, especially if you have a glass of milk or water along with it.

Canned or frozen peas are good too, especially with some garlic or pepper, and a tiny bit of butter or olive oil. (Again, the fat helps in terms of satiety, as well as general health, etc.)

Overall, keeping the sugars at a minimum, or at least a rarity, does wonders for not becoming ravenous, as well as for weight loss in general.
posted by sentient at 2:48 PM on March 30, 2010

Bananas are the only fruit I can think of that genuinely fill me up. I believe a banana is less than 100 calories.

Also, depending on your current weight, whether you're a man or a woman, and how long that bike ride or swim normally lasts, 1800 calories could be pushing it, unless you're trying to lose weight.
posted by nicoleincanada at 2:52 PM on March 30, 2010

Out of curiosity, which foods are you normally eating to consume the 1000 calories in the first half day? I find that having some fat in the morning helps fill me up.

To keep yourself full without overeating, try increasing your liquid intake (it fills your stomach with no calories if you're having water, tea or coffee). Psyllium seed husks can be bought at health food stores - they absorb water and become gelatinous and filling. I occasionally throw some in my morning drink, but they're pretty gross on their own.

I find cold fruits & veggies leave me unsatisfied, but heating them up makes them feel more filling. I'll take an apple, cut out its core (leaving it still whole but with a hole in the center). I put it in a bowl with a bit of water, sprinkle with lots of cinnamon and a touch of sugar, then microwave for a minute until it's soft and mushy. Add a dab of cream or butter, if desired, and its significantly better than the cold apple from the fridge.

I also find that coffee decreases my appetite, but ymmv.
posted by valoius at 2:57 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

The last time I followed a similar diet to what you describe I worked in an office and there were no rules against eating at your desk during the day. So for lunch I had a combo of sliced cucumber, bell pepper, tomatoes and sometimes turnips. I brought more with me every day than I could eat for lunch, so after I finished that initial plateful, I'd slice a little more of each and kept munching throughout the afternoon. By grazing like that I avoided hunger pangs and had enough energy for my evening bike ride before I ate dinner.
posted by Oriole Adams at 3:29 PM on March 30, 2010

Squash, both summer and winter, have long been my go-to veggie for both fullness and nommyness.
posted by elizardbits at 3:41 PM on March 30, 2010

I like pickles or olives - not particularly filling, but they're a strong taste, and seem to work for me.
posted by backwards guitar at 3:41 PM on March 30, 2010

When I saw there were 28 answers here, I assumed it would be the word "bananas" 28 times. No other fruits and vegetables have as much stick-to-your-ribsness as bananas in my finding.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 4:02 PM on March 30, 2010

Cantaloupe is my go to fruit here, you can eat more of it for less cals - say compared to a banana - which helps me feel satisfied. I hate riding on an empty stomach.
posted by WayOutWest at 4:34 PM on March 30, 2010

The trick for me has always been to have a small portion of protein (e.g. a few nuts, ounce of cheese, 1/2 cup of cottage cheese, a little bit of peanut butter) with my fruit or vegetable serving. And to eat every 2-3 hours I'm awake, via these kind of snack portions or in small meals. Then you never get hungry, and you're also staying within your calorie limits.
posted by bearwife at 4:46 PM on March 30, 2010

Fruits and vegetables pretty much never fill me up (and I will eat large amounts of them - it's not strange to me to eat a pound of strawberries in a sitting, or eat an entire cucumber). I find a few slices of whole-grain toast (not bread, but toast) will.
posted by needs more cowbell at 4:49 PM on March 30, 2010

butternut squash and pumpkin are my GO TO low calorie snacks. Butternut squash french fries are so tasty as is pumpkin oatmeal.

also, i suggest making green monsters to give you the energy you need before you swim. There are tons of recipes but the simplest is here

* 2 cups organic spinach
* 1-1.25 cups milk (your choice of cow’s milk, soy, hemp, almond, rice, etc)
* 1 tablespoon flax (I use chia seeds)
* 1 banana
* ice

Directions: Place the ingredients into the blender in the following order: 1) Flax, 2) spinach, 3) banana, 4) milk. The reason for this order is so the heavier ingredients weigh down the flax and spinach and keep it from flying up around the blender and sticking to the side. Blend everything on the highest setting for 1 minute or so. Finally, add ice and blend on the ice setting.

You can add chocolate whey protein or chia seeds or strawberries or any other thing you'd like really. Chia seeds give it a nice little crunch and keep your extra hydrating for exercise.
posted by icy at 6:15 PM on March 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

it's not strange to me to eat a pound of strawberries in a sitting

It was by doing this that I learned - the hard way - how raspberries have the highest fibre content of any fruit ever in the universe. Please learn from my terrifying mistake. Do not eat an entire pound of raspberries in one go, no matter how fat and juicy they are.
posted by elizardbits at 7:45 PM on March 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

I've been on a weight loss/increased exercise plan of late, and here's what really helped me not be hungry early in the day: a big breakfast with eggs.

Specifically, I eat two eggs (you might prefer three) with a gob of broccoli (steamed) and spinach (frozen, defrosted then warmed up in a pan). I add a tiny bit of salt and pepper. If I'm really hungry, I add a piece of whole wheat toast with a bit of butter. Super filling.

This is the first meal I've had that, when I'm exercising a lot, actually keeps me full well into lunch time.

I've also been increasing my protein consumption, which has made a huge difference in feeling full and weight loss. I've been eating a yogurt protein bowl with these ingredients:
1 cup non-fat plain yogurt
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2 small apple, diced
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped or mashed up
squirt of agave nectar (really small amount)
1 cup blueberries (I use frozen, make it in the morning, then eat it all at lunch)

With all the exercise you're getting, are you getting enough protein?

Anyway, with all this protein, I stay full a lot longer. Fruit is great, but it won't necessarily fill you up.
posted by bluedaisy at 7:48 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

My snack of choice is carrots with hummus. If you want to get really wild and crazy, carrots and salsa are mighty tasty too.

Also, edamame isn't bad. Apples and peanut peanut butter are good too.
posted by Ostara at 8:04 PM on March 30, 2010

posted by chase at 1:08 PM on March 31, 2010

Breakfast: A boiled egg and a small slice of toast.
Lunch: 30g lentils (cooked in stock) and half a can of tuna.

Keeps me going until dinner and is probably less than 500 calories. I think it's the protein that keeps me full, and the fact that I have a desk job so aren't particularly active (5 mile walk to and from work aside).

I have to say, I'm a bit baffled by the size of some meals people above are suggesting for someone wanting to keep their calorie count down. I guess that I don't have the context, maybe these people are on their feet or day.
posted by chill at 11:47 PM on March 31, 2010

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