7 Low-Calorie Foods That Really Fill You Up

7 Low-Calorie Foods That Really Fill You Up

Wanting to eat a low calorie diet is easy, but actually sticking with the program? That's another thing altogether. The main culprit is the food: low-cal foods tend to leave us wanting more when it comes to quantity and staying filled up. That shortfall is what leads to cravings and binge eating, and then the entire plan goes off the rails.

Here are seven foods that are low-calorie, very filling and easy to incorporate into a healthy diet that is tasty, varied and interesting, i.e. one you can stick with.

1. 100% Whole Grains

Good for you and very filling, too. Oatmeal is loaded with fiber, which takes longer to digest and helps trick your body into feeling more full, longer. Brown rice and whole grains also help balance your blood sugar, which prevents cravings and blunts your hunger. Begin with a breakfast heavy on whole grains and you have a head start on successfully and comfortably managing your calorie intake all day.

2. Black Rice

Yes there's such a thing. If you've already made the transition from white rice to brown, now its time to go all the way over to the dark side. Black rice has fewer carbs and calories than both white and brown rice, and it packs more fiber and additional antioxidants. That fiber is what will help you feel full (see above) and keep your calorie count down.

3. Watermelon.

Watermelon packs a filling one-two punch: high in fiber and high in water. We already know about fiber. Water is another thing that will help you feel more full for longer. Go ahead and pound as much watermelon as you can.

4. Beans

The more beans you eat, the more you stuff yourself with... wait for it... fiber! Beans of all varieties – black bean, red beans, lentils, chickpeas, edamame, you name it – are also low on calories and a great source of antioxidants and nutrients. More beans!

5. Soup

For this one we have more science on our side: a Penn State study showed that eating broth-based soups leads you to consume smaller meals and fewer calories. So that big bowl of soup as an appetizer? Totally go for it. Broth-based soups are typically loaded with veggies (there's that fiber again) and high in water – very filling. Put beans in your soup? Even better.

6. Milk

Milk with dinner is not just for kids anymore. Low-fat milk is also low in calories, but high in protein and many other nutrients. Milk is much more filling (and obviously healthier) than sugary juices, soda or even plain old water. In general when it comes to cutting calories and weight loss, the more low-fat dairy you can add to your diet, the better.

7. Green smoothies

Smoothies usually sound better for you than they actually are — store-bought smoothies are typically loaded with sugar and way higher in calories than they should be. Green smoothies, however, are great for you. Made with spinach, kale or collard greens, green smoothies trade the sugar for an extra dose of that low-cal, very filling fiber. Don't worry about the taste: when you add things like bananas, apples and pineapple, you get an ultra-healthy creation that actually tastes pretty good.