First things first: This article is not about “diet” foods that trick your body into feeling full, and it’s not about finding ways to feel full on less calories.
We are not about calories here at The Alternative Daily — we bid them good riddance long ago and never looked back.
When you eat wholesome real food, you don’t need to count, weigh or portion. You simply dine, savor and relish until you’re satisfied, and that’s it. Hunger is an infrequent experience, and when it comes, it’s exciting, because it means it’s time to eat more delicious, nutritious food.
That’s what this article is about — finding those foods that feed your body deeply so that you can enjoy your meal and move on, without any stress or guilt. When you eat satisfying foods, you don’t need to feel preoccupied by cravings or resisting the temptation to binge on naughty things that you’re not supposed to be eating. All that nonsense is gone, and you can get on with your day.
This article is for the chronic dieter who thinks that it’s necessary to be starving and just nibble on tiny low-fat yogurt cups and dressing-less salads all day. It’s also for the person who is trying to eat healthily, but is always feeling peckish or struggling with cravings for something or other.
Here is a collection of 15 foods that leave you feeling satisfied longer, not just because they fill you up, but because they actually nourish your body.
Avocados should probably be dubbed the king of vegetables, since they are so tasty, nutritious and versatile.
Add half an avocado to any meal, any time of day, to increase your satisfaction level. Be sure to sprinkle it with some pink Himalayan salt, which is a great source of minerals to provide further nourishment.
If you really have a hard time feeling full, go ahead and have a whole avocado dressed with a little olive oil and pink salt. All of that healthy fat will be sure to signal the release of leptin, the hormone that tells your brain that you’re satisfied.
Roasted chicken with its broth
One of the easiest ways to get many meals out of one cooking session is to simply sprinkle some spices over a whole (organic pastured) chicken and throw it in the oven. Put a little bit of water in the bottom of the roasting dish and you will end up with delicious broth to dress the meat when you serve it.
There’s no need to eat dry skinless chicken — if you buy good-quality chicken, the skin is a super-healthy and highly satisfying part to enjoy. Roast chicken with skin is the perfect balance of fat and protein to cover those nutritional bases and leave you nourished and full.
Sweet potatoes with skins
The perfect accompaniment to your roast chicken is some fibrous vegetables. This way, all three macronutrient groups are covered: fat, protein and carbohydrates.
Leaving the skin on your sweet potatoes provides more nutrients and fiber to satisfy your belly. Be sure to add some fat, such as coconut oil or grass-fed butter to your sweet potatoes. This is very important, not only to feel satisfied, but also to absorb some of the vitamins from the vegetable, which are only soluble in fat (as opposed to water).
With those fiber-rich skins left on, and that added healthy fat, you will probably need a smaller serving size than you’d expect! If you are looking to lose weight, do limit the portion size of starchy vegetables (and other carb-heavy foods), because they are the most likely to be stored as fat. Fill up on extra roast chicken instead.
Eggs cooked in butter
Eggs are the perfect nutritional package with fat, protein and a wide range of vitamins and minerals. One study found that people who ate eggs for breakfast (instead of blood sugar-busters like cereal or bread) had lower levels of ghrelin, a hunger-stimulating hormone, and higher levels of a pancreatic peptide hormone called PYY, which suppresses appetite.
Keep boiled eggs on hand for an easy on-the-go breakfast, and you won’t have an excuse!
If you fry or scramble eggs, we recommend using grass-fed butter or expeller-pressed coconut oil as the ideal cooking fats. These both stay intact at a medium-high heat, rather than olive oil, which gets oxidized easily when used for cooking. Grass-fed butter adds lots of good nutrients, while expeller-pressed coconut oil will add a sweet flavor to your eggs.
Homemade salad dressing or pesto
Making your own condiments is a great way to add satiety-factor to your meals and dial up their nutritional value. The idea is to use fresh, vitamin-rich herbs and mix them with oil so that their nutrients become absorbable.
Try starting with any of these fresh herbs:
Chop finely and mix with a healthy oil:
- Extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Walnut oil
- Hempseed oil
Other good things to add:
- Raw apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (for digestive power)
- Pink Himalayan salt (for extra minerals and flavor)
- Raw honey (for healthy sugar, enzymes and an immune system boost)
- Turmeric and cayenne pepper (for anti-inflammatory power)
- Hemp seeds, pine nuts, crushed walnuts (for extra protein)
- Crumbled high-quality cheese, such as feta or goat’s cheese
Use your nutritious dressing freely on top of any food to add nutritional value and healthy fat! This is a great way to make your meal more satisfying.
Full-fat Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt has become a bit of a trendy health food lately, but unfortunately many of the products on the market are low fat. This means the fat has been removed and other things are added in, for example, thickening agents such as gelatin, carrageenan or guar gum.
Avoid these fake-creamy yogurts and go for the real thing. You will find full-fat Greek yogurt very filling and satisfying. Buy the plain kind and add your own honey, desiccated coconut, berries and nuts.
Meat from cows that live on pastureland has a very different chemical structure with lots more nutrients than grain-fed beef. Healthy organic beef is actually anti-inflammatory and a very nourishing food. Fat from healthy animals is also a valuable food and will keep you feeling full.
Salmon is an amazing combination of lean protein with beneficial omega-3 fats, vitamin D and minerals. Studies show that people who don’t consume enough protein tend to overeat and weigh more, so pack in those high-nutrient foods like salmon. Wild-caught salmon is normally from the Pacific Ocean, so beware of Atlantic salmon as it is usually farmed.
Dark chocolate dipped in coconut oil
A 2011 study showed that dark chocolate was so satiating that it lowered the desire to eat more sweet food. Study participants consumed 17 percent less food after eating dark chocolate, compared to those who ate milk chocolate. Dip dark chocolate in coconut oil for a healthy and satisfying version of a Bounty bar.
Banana with almond butter
This snack provides a good mix of complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein and fat — the perfect recipe for a happy belly.
Pickles and other fermented foods, such as kimchi and sauerkraut, contain short-chain fatty acids, which improve and recalibrate appetite signaling. They also provide probiotic bacteria, which improve the digestion of other foods. Preliminary studies indicate that fermented foods increase satiety and curb appetite. This is because they improve the body’s ability to extract nutrition from other foods in the digestive tract, so nutritional and appetite needs are met with less food overall.
Another great source of protein, fat and minerals — add them to anything!
Lots of fiber, vitamin A and vitamin C to be found here. Try making hot or cold pasta dishes using baked spaghetti squash instead of grain pasta. You will be impressed with the delicious flavor. Spaghetti squash is also satisfying, nutrient-dense, and causes less belly bloat.
One ounce (about two tablespoons) of chia seeds contains nearly 10 grams of fiber. This ensures satiety and helps you digest all of those other good foods you’ve eaten, too. Throw chia seeds into yogurt, smoothies or grain-free baked goods.
Coconut is a healthy source of highly satisfying fats and can be added to anything. Use coconut milk in your…
- Chai tea
- Curry or stir-fry
- Creamy sauces
- Homemade ice cream
- With fruit, raw honey and chia seeds for dessert
You’re sure to feel full with the addition of coconut milk to any meal.
Eating empty foods with no nutrition can leave your body wanting more. This is the classic feeling you get after a fast-food meal. Full, but somehow ravenous. Even though you’re consuming calories, you’re not meeting nutrient quotas, so your brain keeps sending hunger signals.
Use this list of satisfying foods as a guideline, and you’ll be rolling happily through your days with a nourished, healthy tummy in no time.
Liivi is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and is training to become a doula. She inspires women to find peace and personal power by taking control of health and fertility naturally. Liivi‘s passion is ancestral nutrition and primal lifestyle design. She and her partner Will live between Toronto, Canada and Queenstown, New Zealand.