What determines if a food is less calorie packed and more filling?

Water
Many fruits and vegetables are high in water, which provides volume but not calories. Grapefruit, for example, is about 90 percent water and has just 39 calories for half of the fruit. Carrots are about 88 percent water and have only 52 calories in 1 cup!
Fiber
High fiber foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains, not only provide volume, but they also take longer to be digested, leaving you feeling full for a longer time.

Vegetables
Most vegetables like salad greens, asparagus, green beans, broccoli and zucchini, have few calories and lots of volume. Each vegetable serving is about 25 calories, and typical serving sizes are 1 cup raw or a half a cup cooked. Starchy vegetables such as corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes and winter squash, have about 70 calories in a half a cup serving.

Fruits
All types of fruit should be included in any healthy diet. Some fruits make better choices than others. Fresh, frozen and canned fruit without added sugar have 60 calories per serving. They have a large percentage of water and they have high fiber content. A serving is a small or medium size piece of fresh fruit or a half cup of sliced fruit.

Carbohydrates
Most foods in this group are either grains or they are made from grains. They include: cereal, rice, bread and pasta. Your best bet is whole grains because they're higher in fiber and other important nutrients. Whole grain means the bran and germ are left on the grain when it's processed. Examples include whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, oatmeal, brown rice and whole-grain cereal. Each serving of carbohydrate has about 70 calories. A typical serving is a half cup of grain, such as rice, pasta, barley or cereal, or one slice of bread. Eat sweets and high-fat foods in moderation since many of these foods are high in calories but low in volume.

Protein/dairy
This includes foods from both plant and animal sources. The best choices are those that are high in protein but low in fat and calories, such as legumes C beans, peas and lentils, which are also good sources of fiber C fish, skinned white-meat poultry, fat-free dairy products and egg whites. Foods in the protein/dairy group have about 110 calories a serving, which is about a half cup of legumes, 3 ounces of chicken or fish, or 1 cup of skim milk. Serving sizes vary depending on the type of food.

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Feel full on fewer calories. Is it possible to feel full if you are having fewer calories? Definitely! The concept of energy density can help you feel satisfied while eating fewer calories. When you consume fewer calories, it is easier to lose weight and keep it off long-term.

To achieve and maintain a healthy weight, you have to follow an eating plan you can live with for a lifetime. That means no severe restrictions, no extremes of hunger and definitely, no fad diets! By choosing foods that are not energy dense C meaning you can have a large portion with fewer calories; you can lose weight without being hungry. All foods have a certain number of calories within a given portion (volume). Some foods, such as desserts, candies, chocolates and many processed foods are high in calories. That means that they are very energy dense. That would be good if you were never going to eat again, and you need to eat the most calories in a small portion. A small quantity of this food has a large number of calories. For example, just a half cup of mixed nuts has 438 calories. On the other hand, other foods like vegetables and fruit have low energy density. You can have a big portion of these foods with few calories. For example, in that same half-cup serving, raw broccoli has just 15 calories, and one medium sized fruit has 60 calories.

Increase your fruits and vegetables in your meals. For example, add blueberries to your yogurt in the morning. Throw in a bag of frozen vegetables when preparing pasta. Use a tomato sauce instead of a cream sauce to top your pasta dish. Decrease your meat portion and fill up your plate with vegetables.
Start with soup or salad. Instead of starting with your main dish, start lunch or dinner with a vegetable soup or a large salad with a small serving of low-fat. These foods are full of fiber, they take longer to eat, and they curb your hunger. For your main course, have whole grains, some baked or sautéed vegetables and a small serving of low fat protein.

By increasing your portion of vegetables and whole grains, you will automatically decrease your intake of high calorie foods. You will eat fewer calories and feel full! So next time you are eating at home or in a restaurant, do not forget to order a large vegetable salad or a big bowl of vegetable soup. And in a restaurant it helps to ask the waitress to take away the bread basket as soon as you sit down. Out of sight out of mind. This eating plan is one that you can fit in your schedule and enjoy.