You’re still following that healthy diet you started on January 1, but now you’re feeling like the “d” in “diet” stands for “deprivation.” More agitated and sluggish than usual, you swallow that last forkful of dinner on your plate, longing for just a little bit more food.
You may find it comforting to know that there are ways you can boost portions and sate your appetite — without adding calories.
Pass The Veggies
There’s a reason mom always told you to eat those veggies! In addition to healthy vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, vegetables also contain filling fiber and a large amount of water. Low-calorie foods like these are called low in energy density because they fill you up without filling you out. Keri Gans, RDN, author of The Small Change Diet, recommends including a healthy serving of at least one veggie with each meal.
Start With A Salad
Add even more vegetables to each meal by making salad your seven-days-a-week appetizer. Out to dinner? Order a salad. Eating at home with the family? Make salad the precursor. Of course, not all salads are created equal. (We’re looking at you, Mexican fiesta bowl!) Gans suggests starting yours with leafy greens like spinach and kale, and adding in raw veggies like tomatoes, mushrooms, cucumbers and carrots. Top your salads with one to two tablespoons of slivered almonds — an excellent source of heart-healthy fats — and dress them with vinegar and one to two tablespoons olive oil. “[It] contains healthy fats that may help keep you satiated,” says Gans. “If your salad still isn’t satisfying enough for you, bulk it up with more healthy veggies.”
Drinking a glass of water at mealtime goes a long way toward helping you feel full, says Gans. Water consumption provides a host of health benefits — including beautiful skin, regulation of the kidneys, gastrointestinal system and body fluids, and weight loss — which is why it tops Gans’ strategy list. (Note: Water and diet soda are not interchangeable. Studies show that artificial sweeteners used in soda may actually encourage sugar cravings — yikes!)
If you’ve done your due diligence with these good, better and best ideas and still feel hungry, Gans suggests you finish your meal with a piece of fruit. Try an apple, pear, orange or seasonal fruit, or indulge in her favorite sweet treat: berries.