Feeling hungry? Trying to reach or maintain a healthy weight can sometimes leave you wondering how to avoid or ease hunger pangs without adding excess calories. Satisfy your hunger and your palate with better-for-you food solutions. Start with eye-appealing colors, enticing aromas and interesting textures to satisfy your senses. Follow up with a few small food prep changes that help you fit a variety of nutritious foods and better-for-you food solutions into everyday meals and snacks. With wise choices, you even can enjoy small amounts of your favorite treats. The key is to choose foods that are high in nutrients, but lower in calories.
Food Solution: Just for You
With a little kitchen creativity, enjoy most foods while keeping within your calorie goal.
- Make over favorites. Instead of “chips and dip,” enjoy 2 or 3 whole wheat crackers spread with hummus. Skip the sundae; top frozen yogurt with cut-up or pureed fruit instead.
- Serve a “tasting” portion. Serve higher-calorie foods with style in mini amounts. Try a chilled creamy soup in a cordial glass, chocolate mousse in a ceramic Chinese spoon or a fried appetizer snack on a small skewer.
|Try This… ||Instead of… |
|Fat free or low fat milk ||Whole milk |
|Fat free evaporated milk ||Cream |
|Extra-lean ground beef or lean ground turkey ||Regular ground beef |
|Hummus or pureed beans ||High fat dips |
|Fat free broth ||Regular broth or creamy soups |
|Reduced fat, light or fat free salad dressing ||Regular salad dressing |
- Manage the munchies. A pre-portioned snack (e.g., a cheese stick, container of Greek yogurt) can satisfy your taste buds and help you control your calorie intake.
- Take cereal to a new level Snack on fresh fruit, cut-up veggies, fat free yogurt, air-popped popcorn.
Food Solution: Satisfying Morning Starters
Eat breakfast for energy and to curb midmorning hunger.
- Take cereal to a new level. Top a whole grain variety with yogurt, colorful fruits (berries, peaches, melon) and a tablespoon of nuts.
- Make over French toast with whole grain bread. Or go for whole grain frozen waffles. Top with fat free yogurt and sliced fruit instead of syrup.
Food Solution: Add Good-For-You Volume
Increase your portions of better-for-you foods like fruits, veggies and beans to make your meals more filling. They add vitamins, minerals and fiber, but relatively few calories.
- Layer it on. Turn a simple meat and cheese sandwich into a hearty and satisfying meal. Add layers of colorful veggies and fresh fruit for dessert.
- Give it bean-ifits. Add cooked or canned dry beans to chilis, burritos, soups, salads and pasta sauces to boost the volume and nutrition.
- Bulk up stir-fries and pasta sauces. Just add more chopped or sliced vegetables, as well as beans. Make it easy: start with shredded broccoli or carrots.
- Top a thin crust pizza. Make a frozen pizza more nutritious and colorful. Layer on lots of sliced veggies before baking or include veggies in the crust with a cauliflower crust pizza.
Food Solution: Nutrient-Rich and Easy
There’s no need to sacrifice satisfaction or up the calories when you’re short on time. On busy days, plan and prepare quick meals with nutrient-rich better-for-you convenience foods.
- Assemble a main dish salad: pre-washed salad greens topped with chicken or turkey breast (deli-style or prepared by you), canned beans, tuna or salmon and low fat salad dressing. Serve with a small whole grain roll.
- Fill up with veggies on the side. Add raw veggies to your lunchtime sandwich. Or pack a side salad in your lunch bag.
- Add fruit. Pack grapes, a pear, peach, kiwifruit or crunchy apple to go with a sandwich.
Food Solution: Slow It Down
Mealtime is often a social time and/or a time to relax. Whether eating with friends or alone, maximize your eating enjoyment with foods that take longer to eat.
- Soup it up. A broth-based soup filled with chunky veggies or beans takes a bit longer to eat, and it’s nutrient-rich.
- Start with a salad. A first-course salad with lower fat dressing slows the pace and helps you feel satisfied.
- Check out chopsticks, too. For many people, eating a stir-fry dish takes longer with chopsticks. When you master the technique, also try it with other foods.
Satisfy your senses with Healthy Living food ideas that are big on flavor and eye appeal but low in calories like our Ranch-Style Fish Tostadas and Spicy Southwest Bean & Corn Salad.