Each time we face the decision that involves making changes in our diets to lose weight, the first thing that comes to mind is “how am I going to deal with my hunger?”. This is a relevant question because for a long time, the process of losing weight has been associated with a strict caloric restriction and although this is a requisite to achieve the desired weight, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to starve. However, to reconcile satiety (or lack of appetite) with a low calorie diet, it is imperative to choose the right foods for losing weight without inducing hunger, and at the same time, obtaining the nutrients and energy needed to keep you going throughout your daily routine. Such foods have to meet the following criteria:
- Choose bulky ingredients. Select foods high in fiber that can fill your stomach without providing too many calories. Among these foods with high content of insoluble fiber are certain fruits and vegetables such as celery, broccoli, peppers, jicama roots, pickles, apples, spinach, kale, arugula, watermelon, strawberries, and heart of palm.
- Give preference to lean protein foods (very low in fat) that can improve satiety even in small amounts so you can reduce it’s caloric contribution to the diet. The best known foods in this category are: egg white, tuna, salmon, sardines, low fat cottage cheese, and greek yogurt (low in fat and sugar).
- Include on the menu non alcoholic beverages, which can help you counteract hunger. They will partly fill your stomach hence it would be easier to reduce food portions. For example, you can order a soup low in fat and sodium (or a miso soup) before the main dish. Additionally, drink tea (no sugar) or carbonated water during the meal.
- Include legumes which are high in protein and fiber. Legumes include lentils, beans, chickpeas, etc. The key trick is to cook them according to the vegetarian style with no animal protein or fat added. Herbs and spices can be used to enhance their flavors.
Avoid foods rich in calories but low in essential nutrients that may increase the chances of gaining weight. In this list can be included fried foods (by itself or combined with flour and sugar), cakes, donuts, empanadas, croissants, and chips. Also, stay away from salty snacks and crackers, butter, and high fat cheeses. Bacon, mayonnaise, creamy salad dressing and smoothies can be sources of fattening calories (and low in nutrients) that even in small amounts can ruin your plans for losing weight or controlling it.
So, from now on, let’s choose our foods wisely. Use the above list as an additional resource to control your caloric intake and body weight. Don’t forget that at the end, your health will depend largely on your body weight to stay in optimal shape and while keeping those chronic and crippling diseases away.