Fact: Hunger is a beast. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or just to make it from breakfast until lunch, your days are much better spent when not plagued by a growling stomach.
Luckily, there are plenty of foods that have a trifecta of great qualities: nutrient-dense, moderate in calories, and superrr filling. Best of all, they’re actually pretty tasty too.
Here are a few of our favorites.
Avocado, the quintessential millennial fruit, is packed with healthy fats and fiber, so it can sustain you for quite a while. It can also add a filling factor to other foods that may not be quite as satisfying, like toast.
Greek yogurt is a thick, protein-rich yogurt full of probiotic bacteria, which may improve your digestive health.
For the most filling option, choose full fat Greek yogurt. New research suggests full fat dairy may be better for some aspects of health than low fat dairy, and it contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fat that may help you feel full.
Quinoa (“keen-wah” — you’re welcome) is a grain similar to rice. It’s perfectly chewy and has a mild flavor, so you can use it in place of rice in any recipe or even eat it for breakfast.
Best of all, it’s got more protein, more fiber, and fewer calories than brown rice. Sounds like a win-win-win.
Pair it with some extra-dark chocolate for a truly fancy snack.
MCT oil is made up of fats called medium-chain triglycerides. MCT oil is commonly derived from coconut oil and is liquid at room temperature. Research shows that MCT oil may help you feel more satisfied and eat fewer calories throughout the day.
Try adding MCT oil to smoothies, oatmeal, coffee, and salad dressings for a filling dose of healthy fats. There’s no need to give up fat completely, since cooking with fat helps you absorb more nutrients (and makes your food taste better).
We know, we know: Liver? Really?
But pâté is actually one of the easiest and best-tasting ways to eat liver, which is (rightfully) nicknamed “nature’s multivitamin.”
Spread across some whole grain crackers, pâté makes a perfect snack that will keep you comfortably full for a while thanks to its combo of fat and protein.
Add it to salads, grill it (for the healthiest steak you’ll ever eat), make burgers out of it, or make salmon patties (and top them with a dressing or sauce made with filling MCT oil for added satiety benefits).
You can also use chickpeas to make falafel, eat them as a standalone protein source or a side dish, or use chickpea flour to add a filling protein boost to baked goods. Sure, we love hummus, but these versatile beans are good for so much more!
The reason chia seeds make awesome pudding is the same reason they can help you poop: In the presence of liquid, they turn into a gel. Another benefit of this: They break down very slowly, keeping you full.
Try adding chia seeds to salads for some crunch or making chia seed pudding for a healthy and filling sweet treat.
Take this with a grain of salt, but some research suggests that the oleic acid found in olive oil can help regulate your appetite and potentially prevent weight gain.
Try using olive oil to add flavor to your meals by drizzling it on salads or sautéing veggies in olive oil and garlic for a punch of flavor.
You may remember (fondly or otherwise) the breakfast du jour of low fat dieters in the ’80s and ’90s: half a grapefruit with a scoop of cottage cheese on top.
While we now have a better understanding of the importance of fat, cottage cheese is still an excellent choice for a filling snack. Pair it with some high fiber fruit like raspberries (or grapefruit, for a ’90s throwback) for a quick and satisfying breakfast.
Need an easy way to make a breakfast of oatmeal more filling? Beat an egg into it, sweeten it as you normally would, and microwave it for an extra minute.
You’ll hardly notice the egg, and your stomach will thank you by keeping quiet until lunchtime.
Spinach contains a lot of water that cooks out rapidly, which is why a mountain of raw spinach turns into approximately half a thimble of cooked spinach. However, this also means you can eat a TON of spinach for very few calories.
Baby spinach makes a perfect salad green, and pairing it with an olive oil-based vinaigrette magnifies the filling factor and helps your body better absorb the many nutrients in the spinach.
Potatoes are actually really filling compared to other starches like rice and pasta. This includes white potatoes (gasp!), which you may have been told are Literally Evil.
White potatoes are actually just as healthy as sweet potatoes, their orange cousins who get all the love. But how healthy potatoes are depends on how they’re cooked — opt for roasted or baked potatoes over French fries and chips.
If salmon is a bit too strong-tasting for you, tuna is a good way to get some fish in your diet. Whether fresh or canned, it’s rich in lean protein.
For a quick, filling meal, opt for a can of seasoned tuna packed in olive oil. Pour it over some salad greens, add a filling carb like cooked chickpeas, and enjoy!
Like raspberries, strawberries are surprisingly low in sugar and calories and can help keep you full.
A whole cup (144 grams) has less than 50 calories. Top them with some CLA-rich (real) whipped cream to make it extra filling.
Like spinach, the humble cabbage is full of water and fiber, low in calories, and really versatile.
Use it to add bulk to pretty much any meal, raw or cooked. Raw cabbage, finely shredded, can be used to make coleslaw, an easy side dish you can throw together in 5 minutes.
Say what you will about red meat, but you gotta admit a steak dinner is really filling.
Trimming off the visible fat helps decrease the calorie count. A 4-ounce (113-gram) ribeye with no visible fat has just 190 calories and provides 23 grams of protein. As a bonus, steak is a great source of readily absorbed iron, vitamin B-12, and zinc.
Instead of making a lame “fun guy” joke, we’ll say this: Mushrooms are tiny nutrition powerhouses. They’re fiber-rich and super filling and make a great vegetarian alternative to meat.
Some mushrooms — like shiitakes — are rich in antioxidants that may promote overall wellness. Try mushroom jerky for a salty, chewy, and satisfying vegan snack.