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Foods to Keep You Full

By Adrienne Weeks

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.

Complex Carbohydrates

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.


High-protein foods from animal and plant sources help you stay satisfied between meals. Choose lean protein foods such as legumes, egg whites, fish, dairy products and skinless chicken. 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.


Fresh fruits have a high water and fiber content that help you feel full for longer periods. Water-dense produce, such as apples and melons, are low-calorie and hydrate you as well. Staying hydrated helps you feel full longer, since feeling hungry is often a sign of dehydration. The high fiber content in fruits also slows digestion, helping you stay full. Reach for a pear or add fruit to a salad for a low-calorie, high-volume option.


Vegetables are a low-calorie, high-volume food that also have a high fiber and water content. Foods with a high-water content are also low in energy density. Low-energy-density foods give you more food for less calories. According to the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Services, raw carrots are approximately 87 percent water but contain only 50 calories per cup. High volume, low-energy-density vegetables include greens, broccoli, asparagus and green beans. Add vegetables to pasta, baked potatoes, stir fry and sandwiches for a meal that will keep you satiated.


If you need to snack between meals to stay full, the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute lists several snacks that are below 100 calories. These snacks include a boiled egg, 8 chips with salsa, 1/2-cup of cottage cheese, 2 cups of raw vegetables with 2 tablespoons of low-fat dressing, 3 cups of air-popped popcorn, 1 medium apple and 1 cup of raw strawberries.

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