Weight losers: Foods that minimize calories after drinking?
July 6, 2011 1:13 AM   Subscribe

What foods do you eat to keep yourself feeling full or satiated before or after a high-calorie, low nutrition activity such as drinking?

I am 6' tall, and I weigh about 195, having topped out around 225 in fall 2008. I'd like to lose 15 more. (I learned *the difficult way* that I deal with stress - relationship stress, work stress, school stress - through a combination of food and drink. I lost this weight primarily by living for two months in Central America, where a heavy meal consists of squash and beans with cheese.)

Sometimes (two or three times a month), I have a night where drink something like 700 calories of beer. On these days, I think of 2,000 calories as a reasonable diet, while on most other days I shoot for 1,800.

On either end of these 700 calories, I'd like to eat a filling meal that keeps me in my 2,000 calorie world (200 cal breakfast + 700 cal lunch and snack + 700 cal beer = 400 calories of the most filling "dinner" thing you can think of.)

Within those constraints, what should I eat?

Disclaimers: I realize that calories are only one measure of health. I realize that beer calories are about the least useful calories. I get something more out of these 700 beer calories, which is to say, they are the entrance fee either to a colloquial real world use of my spanish skills, or the entrance fee to an evening out with friends.

I realize that eating 400 calories of food versus 700 calories of beer is a weird set of priorities, even if it is twice a week or less. Maybe I should go 700:400 instead. If this sounds binge-y or gross, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

But my primary interest is the simple question of what food gives you the lowest amount of calories that make you feel un-hungry.

posted by kensington314 to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I personally rely on beans, pulses and lentils to keep me full for longer. Chile or enchilladas, bean stew, a spicy dhal, something like that.

One thing I would say about this strategy though is that it is spectacularly incommpatible with binge beer drinking. Drinking a lot of beer on top of a full stomach usually results in bloating and trapped wind for me; double with beans. YMMV.

(Actually, 700 calories of beer doesn't sound bingey at all. Depending on the beer you're drinking, that's as few as two pints; certainly, no more than four. Does this fit with your expectations?)

I totally hear that you're looking for a way to manage your calory intake while drinking beer. But if it's not over-stepping the mark, have you considered and ruled out switching drinks to aid your diet? A spirit with a diet soda is much lower in calories.
posted by londonmark at 1:35 AM on July 6, 2011

I'd go for a couple of scrambled eggs with nice fresh herbs on a piece of toast: I reckon you could fit that in 400 calories. It would be pretty filling and do a pretty good stomach-lining job.
posted by Segundus at 2:26 AM on July 6, 2011

Vegetables tend to combine the most food weight and nutrition for the calories consumed. Squash and beans with cheese makes for a fairly nutritious and filling absorbent meal. Lighter on the cheese, heavier on the squash.

I hate to suggest this as the stuff is a mockery of real beer, but have you considered sticking to the super-light beers? Budweiser Select Light promotes itself as having 55 calories a bottle. If you can stand to choke it down, you get the advantages of being able to down four or five bottles with far fewer calories. Also, you get the advantage of being able to drink four bottles of beer at 2.4% ABV resulting in less of a liver workout.

Admittedly, if you enjoy drinking and like good beers, this is going to be a trial. If you're drinking largely to be social and hang out at a bar with friends, this lets you have a beer in hand and save yourself a lot of empty calories. With a bit of effort taking your time with beer and avoiding things like drinking games, you'll be able to keep most of your calories in nutritious foods.
posted by Saydur at 4:22 AM on July 6, 2011

A quick google search suggests 1 Pint of beer is roughly 200 kcal, so you are talking 3-4 pints which is pretty standard fair for after work drinks in the Uk.

So thats not really 'binge drinking' by Uk standards.. its not exactly a Leo Sayer...

make one of them a Guiness and add a packet of crisps and you should be right. skip dinner entirely...

if you want to eat proper meal with low calories. Perhaps something like brown rice and vegetables?
posted by mary8nne at 5:31 AM on July 6, 2011

To feel full, I shoot for lots of protein, moderate fat, and very little carbs. So meat, cheese, eggs, and I'll add some vegetables for bulk. You can easily have a steak for under 400 calories, if you don't wash it down with soda or have potatoes with it. And vegetables are basically just water and fiber, with very little calories.
posted by moutonoir at 6:01 AM on July 6, 2011 [2 favorites]

I frequently make myself a mess of eggs and bacon an hour or so before I leave if I know I'm going to be drinking even moderately. Not only does the fat and protein tend to keep one feeling full, but consuming heavy stuff like that tends to slow down one's metabolism a bit, making the alcohol uptake a bit slower. Keeps you in the game longer.
posted by valkyryn at 6:17 AM on July 6, 2011

The things that make you feel full, and keep that feeling of fullness, are protein and fiber with a little bit of fat. So beans are great, cottage cheese or greek yogurt, veggies, eggs.

Also, be sure you're drinking enough water to rehydrate from the beer, and eat first thing the next morning to start your metabolism back up. If you work out your metabolism can stay burning for up to 36 hours... until you have a drink. So enjoy those beers, the health meal... and a workout soon thereafter.
posted by ldthomps at 6:27 AM on July 6, 2011

Drop a couple of hundred calories at lunch that day and combine with the four hundred to have a hamburger?
posted by A Terrible Llama at 10:00 AM on July 6, 2011

I think your best bet is to go for the most nutrient-dense foods since there is very little nutrition in alcohol. You can check out a partial list here.

My personal favorite is Kale, sauteed with garlic and olive oil, a *little* ground salt added after cooking. Add some chard or spinach to the kale while sauteing and you have an incredibly healthy meal.

You could also go with anything on this site and do well.
posted by pontouf at 10:28 AM on July 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Apologies for not directly answering the question, but what about budgeting in 700 "mad" calories for each week?

Limiting your intake to a certain number of calories per day is an excellent choice for weight loss (I say this as a satisfied calorie counter myself), but dividing time into 24-hour periods is arbitrary; barring any metabolic weirdness, you'd experience the same weight loss eating exactly 1900 calories a day, or alternating between 1800 and 2000 calories per day, for example.

There's no need for you to fast the day of the beer-drinking if you spread the calorie restriction out over the week. Lower your calorie allowance by 100 calories/day, and you can indulge in beer once a week—or if there's no beer-involved socializing that week, 700 calories of some other delicious, guilt-free treat.
posted by BrashTech at 2:02 PM on July 6, 2011

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