5 Diet Food Duos That Will Fill You Up without Filling You Out

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition
diet food

Contrary to what many people believe, eating less food is not the key to weight loss. Here at the South Beach Diet, we like to stress that really, eating more of the right food is the most effective way to shed pounds. The right foods are those that nourish you and keep you satisfied, so there are no more hunger pangs and unhealthy temptations. The best foods for controlling hunger contain one or more of three types of critical nutrients—fiber, healthy fats and lean protein.

Fiber, or what is often called “roughage,” is a term describing the parts of plant foods that move slowly through your digestive tract, which help sustain that feeling of being full long after you’re done eating. Soluble fiber plays a key role in balancing your blood sugar levels. This prevents the surges that trigger hunger pangs. Insoluble fiber ensures your digestive process is gradual and steady. All kinds of beans, such as kidney beans and chickpeas, are high in soluble fiber, while vegetables and whole grains are rich sources of insoluble fiber.]

Fats are essential because they fill you up and help your body absorb the vitamins and minerals in food. The result: You’re less likely to crave more food to meet your nutritional needs. And not all fats are the same. Healthy fats, particularly monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, are burned more readily than saturated fats, which tend to be stored in your body. You get healthy fats from foods such as olive oil, nut butter and avocados.

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Protein provides your body with the fuel you need to get through your day, but it often comes with unhealthy saturated fats and excess calories. Build your healthy meals and snacks with lean sources of protein, such as eggs, nuts, turkey and seafood. This way, hunger won’t slow you down but you aren’t loading up on foods that add extra pounds.

Eating a healthy mix of fiber, healthy fats and lean protein to prevent hunger is definitely important. It is also a lot easier and more delicious than you realize. Here are five simple dishes that include at least two of these vital nutrients. The best part? All of these tasty combos are appropriate for any phase of the South Beach Diet:

1. Green Salad with Oil (and Vinegar!)

A simple salad featuring leafy greens delivers a hefty dose of fiber, while olive oil adds healthy monounsaturated fat. A Tricolor Salad featuring greens in a variety of hues is just as appetizing to look at as it is tasty to eat.

2. Eggs and Veggies

Eggs provide you with lean protein and healthy fats, so they’re a sturdy foundation for a satisfying meal at any time of day. Add your favorite veggies to an omelet and you’ll get plenty of fiber, too. Asparagus Omelets with Goat Cheese are loaded with flavor and all three nutrients that curb hunger.

3. Celery Sticks with Almond Butter

When hunger strikes between meals, get yourself a snack that is nourishing and satisfying. Celery is a loaded with fiber and it’s the ideal foundation for the addition of healthy fats, like classic nut butters, which deliver both lean protein and healthy fats. Veggies with guacamole is another great combo (Have you checked out our Tomato Salsa with Avocado and Onion recipe?). Either way you go, just be sure to pay attention to your portion size—about one tablespoon of avocado or nut butter is a healthy serving, several spoonfuls from the container will do you any favors.

peanut butter
A staple childhood snack, celery sticks and nut butters is a healthy combo that won’t leave you hungry.

4. Raw Veggies with Vinaigrette

Just about any vegetables you like to eat raw—including baby carrots, strips of bell pepper, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes—are high in fiber and so low in calories that you can enjoy them any time you are hungry.  To keep you satisfied even longer, whip up a simple vinaigrette with olive oil to use as a dip for the veggies. Not only does this mean extra flavor, but it’s also a serving of healthy fats.

5. Lettuce Wraps

Bump up the fiber content of your favorite sandwich by replacing the bread with romaine lettuce leaves. They’re durable enough to hold all kinds of ingredients, so fill them with lean proteins, such as fat-free turkey, hard-boiled eggs, or tuna salad. Top it off with veggies and you will stave off hunger for hours, after you’re done eating. For a special and healthy lunch, try these simple but satisfying Lettuce Wraps with Shrimp.

And if you’re strapped for time, South Beach Diet options like the Chicken Roma (one of Jessie’s favs!) make getting this healthy balance of fiber, healthy fats and protein easy!