When I first tried to lose weight, I made a lot of mistakes. One of which was not eating enough during the day. I thought if I kept my breakfast and lunch calories in check, the pounds would come right off. Unfortunately, this strategy didn’t work because I’d end up starving by the end of the day and then overeat at dinner and snack late into the evening.
When I started to add more calories to my daytime meals, I was able to better balance my food choices, so I wasn’t hungry all of the time. But, I didn’t just add any old ingredients to my meals. I made sure they were high in nutrients and volume. By filling up on high-volume foods (ones with few calories per bite), I was able to increase my portion size while cutting calories at the same time. This little (or should I say “big”?) trick was key to me losing 20 pounds and keeping it off. With that said, here are 4 ways to eat more to weigh less!
Include fruits and veggies with every meal
Fruits and veggies are low in calories and packed with nutrients, so I like to “pump up” my meals by including lots of them. I’ll toss a handful of chopped broccoli, peppers, and onions into a cheese quesadilla or fresh berries in Greek yogurt to add some serious volume to my meal. Similarly, I like to snack on “watery” fresh produce, which fills me up, but not for a lot of calories. Some of my favorites: celery with peanut butter, cucumber slices with hummus, and fresh cantaloupe chunks. Seeing all of those bright, beautiful, and appetizing colors in my food also inspires me to continue my healthy eating all day long.
Fill up before the main course
When I’m dining out, I like to fill up a little before the main course is served to me. Typically, I’ll order a soup, salad, or share an appetizer with my husband. Recently, I’ve started to order a side dish, like roasted Brussels sprouts or grilled asparagus, from the a la carte options as a healthy option to ward off hunger pangs and pace myself during the meal. At home, I’ll throw together a quick salad with greens, cherry tomatoes, and a little olive and balsamic vinegar or snack on roasted veggies from the previous night’s dinner, which helps take the edge off my hunger, so I don’t overeat when dinner is served.
Satisfy your eyes with a full plate
When I sit down to a meal, I always make sure to first satisfy my eyes with a plate full of food. Before I even take a bite, my brain subconsciously registers a feeling of satiety because seeing a huge portion of food in front of me lets me know I probably won’t leave hungry. To create a full-looking plate without adding a lot of calories, I typically load up on fresh greens, veggies, and “puffed” or “whipped” foods that take up a lot of space, like rice cakes, rice cereal, and Greek yogurt. I also like to eat baked squash or a potato straight out of the skin instead of scooping and mashing it because the portion looks a lot bigger on my plate. All I know is if I satisfy my eyes first, my stomach follows suit, and I don’t tend to overeat.
Be sure to add protein and fat
Protein and fat are key to feeling satisfied at the end of the meal, so I make sure I always have some of each on my plate. Even if my plate is piled high with all sorts of healthy, voluminous foods, I know I need both protein and fat to fill me up. Some of my favorite sources: lean meats, fish, avocado, beans, and cheese.
Read Tina’s daily food and fitness blog, Carrots ‘N’ Cake.