If you’re trying to lose weight, fighting with a growling stomach is a battle you might not win. Don’t let hunger sabotage your diet plans — a few small changes can make a big difference in keeping your appetite under control.  When I think of ways on how to feel satisfied with less food, three things come to mind:  fiber, protein and water.

Foods that keep you feeling full longer can help reduce the amount of calories you consume each day. Most foods that sate your appetite are low in energy density, high in volume and low in calories, which means you can eat more and feel full longer. Complex carbohydrates, fresh fruits and vegetables and lean protein are healthy options that help you feel full until your next meal.

Eat Foods with Fiber.  Fiber slows digestion so your appetite is satisfied longer, and many high-fiber foods tend to be low in calories but high in volume, which fills you up. Good high-fiber food choices include most fruits and vegetables, beans, lentils, barley and oats.

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Complex carbohydrates, such as whole wheat pasta and bread, are packed with fiber and help you feel full longer. Fiber-rich complex carbohydrates take longer to digest than simple carbohydrates found in white bread, pasta and sugary foods. The fiber and slow digestion process keeps you satisfied between meals.  Aim for 25-35 grams of fiber per day.

The highest fiber foods are bran cereal, split peas, black beans, lentils, lima beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, avocado, oats, navy beans, green peas, brown rice, raspberries, soybeans

Don’t forget protein.  Protein satisfies the appetite longer than carbohydrates do.  High-protein foods from animal and plant sources help you stay satisfied between meals.  Have a source of protein with every meal, such as eggs, lean meat, fish, or low-fat milk, cheese or plain yogurt, to feel full longer. Legumes are high in fiber and digested at a slower rate, leaving you full for longer periods. Lentils, chickpeas, pinto beans and black beans can be added to salads, soups and casseroles for additional protein.

How to feel satisfied with less food

In a nutshell, experts say, adding more of these foods to your diet can help curb hunger and help you feel fuller on fewer calories:

– Soups, stews, cooked whole grains, and beans

– Fruits and vegetables

– Lean meats, fish, poultry, eggs

– Whole grains, like popcorn

And here are some easy strategies for working those hunger-fighting foods in your diet:

– Add shredded or chopped vegetables to pasta and egg dishes, main-dish salads, and other mixed dishes, and use them to top pizzas.

– Eat whole fruits instead of fruit juices or dried fruits.

– Use a blender to whip air into fruit drinks, smoothies, or sauces.

– Choose whole-grain puffed cereals, popcorn, breads, cereals, and pasta.

– Enjoy vegetable salads or broth-based soups before meals.

– Top entree salads with lean meats, poultry, eggs, tofu, beans, nuts, or fish.

– Add fruit to salads or enjoy as dessert.

– Add beans to stews, soups, egg dishes, and casseroles.

– Have lean protein or low-fat dairy at all meals and snacks.

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