Please help me binge by giving me your high volume low calorie food flood ideas
April 17, 2011 1:21 AM   Subscribe

Please help me binge! Looking for high volume, low calorie foods that I can seemingly eat endless amounts of without feeling bad

Sometimes, I just need to eat a lot. Please help me find foods that I can eat HUGE quantities of and binge on without feeling guilty.

Some examples, so you know what kind of stuff I'm looking for:

-Yesterday I ate 3-4 bowls of a thin lentil soup with broccoli and carrots in it. I'm pretty sure I don't have to feel bad about that (the lentil soup was homemade so I know there wasn't much oil in it), with less than a cup of yogurt total, split amongst the bowls of soup.

-Unshelled sunflower seeds- these aren't exactly high volume and low calorie, but it takes so long to shell and eat them, that the overall eating experience is long. That's why I really want, a long eating experience. For instance, cooking the food can help provide me that, but right now I want to focus on the food itself being a longer eating experience. And don't just tell me to eat slower.

-huge bowls of cut up fruits and veggies

-airpopped popcorn.

so I'm in Istanbul- so everything has to be a 'real' unprocessed food, not only because that's the way arguably it should be anyway, but I might not be able to find it here, and I'm not looking to get hooked on any of the locally available processed foods...

thanks for your help!
posted by saraindc to Food & Drink (45 answers total) 105 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I think the last couple examples I gave are pretty boring, and standard. looking for more creative stuff. thanks!
posted by saraindc at 1:29 AM on April 17, 2011

Celery, with a swipe of peanut butter. Can you get that in Istanbul? Hummus? Pistachios? How about dried fruit?
posted by bendy at 1:35 AM on April 17, 2011

Cabbage in broth.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:38 AM on April 17, 2011

Response by poster: but, i don't feel like i could truly binge on anything with peanut butter, or some of this other stuff....when i say binge, i don't mean eat a generous amount of, I mean eat a TON of. i.e. 3-4 bowls of soup, something I can eat in a seemingly endless way....
posted by saraindc at 1:39 AM on April 17, 2011

Best answer: I love to do this with salted edamame in the pods. It has a bit of fat in it but seems like not a bad choice. Plus the pods make even a reasonable portion look like a HUGE amount in a bowl.
posted by Saminal at 1:51 AM on April 17, 2011 [3 favorites]

I suggest doing something physical for 16 hours a day and finding the chocolate ice cream factory and rob it. That's basically what I do.

If you're not doing things like that, I think, uh, you may want to wonder why you find that you loooove eating so much. From sort of personal experience (and because I'm worried about you, in that - anonymous internet way) the eating lots of low-cal stuff is going to sneak up where you get used to eating lots and lots and then you switch to high cal stuff and then your body goes through a loop and a half. If that makes sense.

But I'll throw in carrots! I love munching on endless carrots. Just don't go overboard or you'll start looking like one.
posted by alex_skazat at 1:52 AM on April 17, 2011

Response by poster: thanks, alex....but i don't want to do this every day....just sometimes
posted by saraindc at 2:12 AM on April 17, 2011

Jello. If you can get that where you are.

For more interest, jello with bits of fruit set into it, or with a little yogurt blended in before it's completely set.
posted by lollusc at 2:15 AM on April 17, 2011

Best answer: I'm so glad you asked this question! I hear you with peanut butter...I could eat the whole jar in a snap if given the proper vessel (i.e. celery or spoon). Here's what I've been doing lately (and I look forward to more of others' suggestions):

Get a wok and make stir-fry...I could eat a whole bag or more of chopped peppers, shrooms, greens, etc.
Celery, carrots, peppers, broccoli, etc. with a yogurt/tziki dip.
Popcorn...but divide into 3 bowls. In one, put salt and spring onions or something like that; in the next, onion powder, curry or powdered cheese; in the last, cinnamon, a little butter, honey or maple syrup.

For me, it's about breaking things up in various flavours and such. It makes it seem like more, and takes more time to eat (prepping, switching around), therefore making me feel fuller soon.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:20 AM on April 17, 2011 [5 favorites]

Giant, GIANT salads. Here in the Netherlands you can find bags of chopped kale (borenkool) to use in stamppot, and I'll often rip one open, dump it in a bowl with sliced carrots, shallots, capsicums (peppers), radishes, maybe half a sliced avocado, dress with a ton of salt, pepper and a 2 second vinaigrette with mustard, cider vinegar and (key ingredient!) Worcestshire sauce, then eat the whole thing. All of it. I eat it all. And I feel no guilt and it's delicious.
posted by nerdfish at 2:57 AM on April 17, 2011 [8 favorites]

Here in Australia, medical authorities keep telling us to eat "5+2" a day, meaning 5 serves of vegetables and 2 pieces of fruit. I cannot fathom how this is possible to sustain; it takes me a lot of effort to try to buy and consume 35 serves of vegetables a week and 14 pieces of fruit.

If you are able to line up 5 of your favourite vegetables and eat them in one go, you'd be doing a great job. I usually quarter a tomato, slice a red capsicum (red pepper) into long sticks (and red is so much more pleasane to eat than green), quarter a handful of mushrooms, and put it in a bowl to snack on.

Green string beans that have only just been dipped in boiling water for 30 seconds then drained are still really crunchy and great to snack on. The same with snow peas.
posted by surenoproblem at 3:48 AM on April 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

Miso soup is virtually calorie-less, so you could eat/drink gallons of it without worry. I guess you'd be consuming quite a bit of salt, though, so maybe buy the low salt version.

If you can get kale, kale chips are delicious and very low in calories.

I also like to saute up loads of veg - onions, peppers, aubergine, courgettes, mushrooms, etc, in a few spices (cumin, ground coriander, smoked paprika) and eat massive bowls with a spoonful or two of natural yoghurt or low-fat creme fraiche. Very satisfying, low calorie and healthy.
posted by schmoo at 4:10 AM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Nthing veggies -- when I want to eat a lot, I go straight for veggies (and fruit, sometimes, but all that sugar can make me a little sick). I also like to saute an onion in a couple of tablespoons of oil until it's translucent and mix it with quinoa; quinoa is gluten free and a complete protein, so it's better for my body than rice, and mixes in well with roasted or sauteed veggies, so I don't feel like all I'm eating is veg. It gets a little dry, though -- hence the onion.

You might also try making a vegetable soup. A lot of store-bought veggie broths are full of chemicals and sodium, but you can save veg cuttings and boil them (about a pint of cuttings to a gallon of water) to get broth, and then strain it and add more veg. You can also try sauteing the veg first for more flavor. Once you have a basic veggie soup (carrots, celery, garlic, onions), you can add more stuff -- you can add chick peas or lentils, greens, matzo balls, potatoes, squash, meat, noodles, rice... You can puree it or eat it chunky... Possibilities are endless, and it's good for you, has almost no fat, and you can easily eat several bowls in a sitting.
posted by shamash at 4:42 AM on April 17, 2011 [6 favorites]

I've heard that celery actually has a negative calorie count. Not sure if it's true, but someone told me that it takes more energy for your body to digest it than is provided by the celery. That means you could add something with more calories than you'd like to the celery, right?
posted by Glendale at 5:56 AM on April 17, 2011

I don't have any new suggestions, but wanted to add that air popped popcorn can be made way more interesting and exciting with the right additions. I like adding spices to my popcorn: garlic powder, smoked paprika, curry powder, dill, cinnamon, za'atar, chipotle powder, etc. I usually choose one or two spices and spritz the popcorn lightly with oil to get them to stick. Try different combinations of spices, have a couple different bowls with different flavors and enjoy!
posted by radioaction at 6:16 AM on April 17, 2011 [3 favorites]

It's not zero carb, but watermelon gives you pretty good bang for your buck.
posted by Not Supplied at 6:57 AM on April 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

Get a copy of Picture Perfect Weight Loss: The Visual Program for Permanent Weight Loss by Howard Shapiro. This book shows foods that have equivalent calorie counts. It’s shocking how low in calories fruits and vegetables are compared to processed foods. For example, 1 fat-free, sugar-free muffin (9 oz) has 720 calories which is the same as eating 1 pineapple + ½ a cantaloupe + ½ kiwifruit + ½ papaya + 5 oz of grapes + 2 pears + 2 whole wheat rolls. Fruits an vegetables are very low in calories for their volume.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear at 7:05 AM on April 17, 2011 [6 favorites]

Long shot in Istanbul, but if by any chance the markets there have shirataki tofu noodles, those have almost no calories and make a good vehicle for whatever vegetables you care to steam or stir-fry.

Roasted squash is also a lot of bites for the buck.
posted by lakeroon at 7:08 AM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Check out the other types of seeds. If I remember correctly, Turkey also eats the wide variety of seeds that are available in the mid-east - some of them are harder to break into than sunflowers, and therefore can be eaten for hours without actually taking in a substantial amount of food.

They're called Lep in Arabic countries - unfortunately I can't remember what they're called in Turkey.
posted by scrute at 7:08 AM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Cekirdek is what the seeds are called in Turkey, the 'C' is the funky C with the cedilla (hook) so that it's pronounced Ch.

Thanks for all the ideas! I'd love some more than don't involve vegetables, even though I'll be eating lots of those...
posted by saraindc at 7:24 AM on April 17, 2011

1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds takes me a freaking hour and a half to eat. I don't eat the harder part of the seed inside--I just eat the juicy, fleshy part and then spit out the inner seed. It takes a lot of work, kinda.
posted by so_gracefully at 7:42 AM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Just FYI, bendy: hummus & pistachios are both high in fat, and dried fruit is high in simple sugars. Completely the opposite of what the OP requested.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:22 AM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

You mentioned air-popped popcorn......I ate pretty much nothing but for weeks (apart from regular, sane meals) and lost a decent amount of weight. Get yourself some bulk spices like powdered garlic, chipotle, wasabi, cumin, curry, paprika and fresh cracked pepper (not all together, obviously). You can also try hot sauces, Red Star nutritional yeast flakes, good parmesan cheese.
posted by nevercalm at 9:07 AM on April 17, 2011 [3 favorites]

Pickles are my go to for this - trymixed vegetable pickles, not just cucumbers. There are some awesome traditional Turkish mixed vegetable pickles. You can eat like a whole jar for thirty calories.
posted by peachfuzz at 9:13 AM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Pickles are my go to for this - trymixed vegetable pickles, not just cucumbers. There are some awesome traditional Turkish mixed vegetable pickles. You can eat like a whole jar for thirty calories.

But the sodium blows you up for days.....
posted by nevercalm at 9:19 AM on April 17, 2011

Pomegranates are my go-to when I need to occupy myself for an hour - I pick them apart by hand. Takes forever, and they're tasty.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:40 AM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Bag of spinach!
posted by 4midori at 10:12 AM on April 17, 2011

This is useful. Recipes that load you up with lo-cal stuff. Some of them are pretty tasty, too.
posted by Decani at 12:07 PM on April 17, 2011

I do this with carrots. They're not quite as low-cal as some veggies, but you can still eat 1 lb. of them for less than 200 cals, which is not bad. And because they're tasty by themselves, no need to use dip/dressing or anything.

I would suggest not cooking whatever veggies you're contemplating. Richard Wrangham's latest book Catching Fire: How Cooking Made Us Human tries to show that cooking makes food less work for more calories. Think about the difference between eating cooked and raw carrots - you could probably eat many more cooked for the same muscle-work. And that's not even mentioning cooking oils. You're looking for the opposite effect.
posted by clerestory at 12:36 PM on April 17, 2011

Tomatoes. Cut them in half, put salt + pepper + herbs + parmesan (or any combination of those 4) on them, and broil them until your desired level of mushiness (make sure you broil them in a container of some sort because they can release water). You can eat like 5 giant tomatoes, they don't have a lot of calories and are mostly water.

People mentioned egg whites. Egg whites + cucumbers are so good! I hard-boil eggs, slicing them, taking out the yolks. Then slice a cucumber, put the egg white on the cucumber + a dash of salt or soy sauce. You can eat a ton of this, plus the slicing takes some time, so it's a good snack to occupy your time.
posted by at 12:38 PM on April 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

The idea behind what you're looking for is Volumetrics; food with high water content and/or fibre. But as someone who's had an issue with feeling full too you should also seek out foods that make you feel fuller longer. It's hard to pin down other than to say its about protein, fibre and water density. I can never finish a bowl of soup made with squash, or sweet potatoes, but I could bowlfuls of lentil soup before I felt like I had enough.
posted by squeak at 12:38 PM on April 17, 2011

Hearts of palm! Not sure if that's available in Istanbul or if it's too processed (they come like pickles in a jar of brine), and they are pretty expensive, but they're like salty delicious artichoke hearts.
posted by Ashley801 at 1:49 PM on April 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Cucumber! Slice one or two entire large cucumbers up on a plate and you won't go hungry for hours. It's filling and low glycemic.
posted by gillianr at 4:03 PM on April 17, 2011 [3 favorites]

No one's mentioned steamed full artichokes! Throw some bay leaves, maybe some soy sauce, lemon etc into the water and steam... Add a dip if you want. Yummers!
posted by stratastar at 4:36 PM on April 17, 2011

Ooh-- this is processed, and you might not be able to find it in Istanbul, but it's a good one -- Japanese shirataki noodles. They're made from the root of a kind of yam and have almost no calories -- but they're also clear and completely tasteless. If you add them to a soup they bulk up a soup really well.
posted by Ashley801 at 6:04 PM on April 17, 2011

My diet lately consists of salads (lettuce/cucumber/tomatoes, very minimal dressing), home-made coleslaw (made as healthily as possible), lettuce-wrap sandwiches (some combo of meat, tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles, a little cheese), and dinner always includes some kind of protein served with broccoli/cauliflower or a smaller salad. I use bacon occasionally to add some extra flavor. I drink water constantly and have 1 cup of coffee or tea (w/sucralose) every day. Sometimes I'll have a glass of 2% milk (1).

I don't ever binge - I'm always really full, actually - but I could probably binge until I exploded on any of it and never gain weight. Maybe not the milk. But the rest, easily.
posted by empyrean at 10:19 PM on April 17, 2011 [2 favorites]

Steamed leafy green vegetables (curly kale, broccoli, spinach, spring greens etc) with a bit of salt and pepper or other seasoning. I know you asked for more suggestions that don't involve vegetables, but this is my favourite "I want to eat a big bowl of low calorie food" thing...
posted by lizabeth at 3:26 AM on April 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

Looks like my favorites have been covered, so I'll Nth them - cucumber, pickles (if you can stand the salt), tomatoes, and watermelon. I'll add grapefruit to the mix too, if you like the taste. And while I believe honeydew melons and cantaloupes have more calories per volume, I still think they give you a lot of volume and taste per calorie.
posted by Tehhund at 5:31 AM on April 18, 2011

Trader Joes' seaweed snacks!
posted by schmod at 9:19 AM on April 18, 2011

Best answer: The easiest way to perk up celery / sliced raw green veg, I've discovered, is with a dash of wonderful, wonderful Middle Eastern spice blend. Works if you like spicy food. Harissa is more hot-spicy, berbere is more savoury-spicy (but still has a mild kick). There are, of course, others, but these are my go-to mainstays.

Both are wonderful. I can eat an entire bag of celery simply as a vehicle for berbere.
posted by lonefrontranger at 11:36 AM on April 18, 2011

Besides what was mentioned you can go for sugar free jell-o.
They weigh in at ~15 calories a snack and can be frozen in the fridge to create an everlasting, light refreshing snack in the warmer months.
posted by prithee at 12:52 PM on April 18, 2011

Response by poster: wow, thanks for all the answers everybody:) I have a feeling I'll be eating a lot of vegetables
posted by saraindc at 2:07 PM on April 18, 2011

This truly is the best broccoli ever. It is difficult to express how tasty this is. You will easily eat an entire head of broccoli so make it when you're alone because you won't want to share.
posted by tractorfeed at 2:36 AM on April 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

Following up on the salsa idea, I used to love buying those sourgough hard pretzels and dipping them in salsa. They are so damn hard that it takes a lot of effort to chew them, so 4 feels like a lot. And with each bite dipped in salsa, it is an excellent choice for the salty/crunchy snack craving with a lot of flavor, and some Vitamin A too.
posted by Miko at 8:46 PM on April 29, 2011

you mentioned that the process of shelling sunflower seeds helps you "binge" in that it takes a long time to eat them. I find that I do the same thing with grapefruit. Rather than cutting it in half and eating it with a spoon, I peel it by hand, like an orange, then I pull off all of the pith (the stringy white stuff that covers the flesh of the fruit). Once that's done, I pull the fruit apart into whatever natural collection of segments fall away. Then, I put those segments in a bowl, and get an empty bowl. I carefully pull the very thin, translucent skin that separates each segment away, and put only the flesh of the fruit in the empty bowl. When all of this is done, I have a bowl of yummy grapefruit that's taken me about 20 minutes, if I've done it well.

You can eat a lot of grapefruit this way, and it will take you a long time.
posted by tzikeh at 10:10 AM on April 30, 2011

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