Foods that Make You Feel Full

Written By: Beth Ehrensberger, RD

Title: Registered Dietitian

Alumni: University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Last Updated on:

Ever feel like no matter what you eat, it seems impossible to tame the rumbling in your stomach? It’s actually quite simple to stop the rumbling and increase your mealtime satisfaction by choosing low-calorie, high-volume foods, and loading up on fiber and protein. By choosing strategic foods that make you feel full, you’ll not only have better control over your hunger, but also the amount of calories you eat.

3 Easy Ways to Make You Feel Full

1. Fill Up on Fiber: Since fiber adds bulk to food, it does the job of filling you up as well as slowing the rate of digestion. The result? You’ll feel full sooner than you would have with a lower fiber choice. Foods that make you feel full like whole grain pasta, bread, crackers, and breakfast cereal can be a good place to start building your fiber repertoire. Keep an eye out for impostors that tout claims like, “made with whole grain” or “multigrain.” If a whole grain isn’t listed first on the ingredient list, it’s probably just a high-fiber impostor. Simple fruits and vegetables are also an important way to increase fiber in your diet. Produce picks like whole fruit (instead of juice – which is missing fiber) at breakfast, bean soup at lunch, and vegetable sticks for a snack can be quick and easy additions. Besides filling you up, fiber can do a lot more for your health: research indicates that a high-fiber diet is a healthy way to reduce the chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

2. Power Up with Protein: If you’re always fighting an empty feeling, you may not have enough protein in your diet. Healthy adult women should be taking in 46 g of protein per day, while healthy men can have a bit more – 56 g per day. Many people are surprised to learn that of the three macronutrients, (protein, fat, and carbohydrate) protein provides the highest level of satiety (in other words, it makes you feel the most full). Armed with this bit of nutrition science, you can structure more satisfying meals from protein foods that make you feel full. Lean cuts of beef and pork, as well as fish, eggs, nuts, and poultry are satisfying selections that work with most any diet – and there are many options that can be incorporated into a vegetarian diet plan. Add an egg to your whole grain English muffin for breakfast, spread your sandwich with hummus, or smear a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter on your apple for an afternoon snack. And don’t forget that beans are not only loaded with protein, but filling fiber too – making them a hunger-trumping double-whammy.

3. Turn Up the Volume: Instead of noshing on foods that squeeze big calories into an unsatisfying little package, try the opposite: fill up with low-calorie foods in a bigger package. Choosing between raisins and grapes illustrates this point: a quarter cup serving of raisins is 120 calories – about the same amount of calories in a one cup serving of grapes. With the grapes, you’ll get four times as much food for nearly the same amount of calories. Following the same principle, think about a side to pair with your lunchtime sandwich. A 1/2 cup serving of potato salad has about 180 calories, but for the same amount of calories, you could have a 1/2 cup of vegetable soup, an apple and a chocolate kiss to soothe your sweet tooth! The lower-calorie, high-volume choices not only have the benefit of being foods that make you feel full, they can also leave a little room for a small treat!

The Bottom Line

Keep your stomach from rumbling with strategic foods that make you feel full. Loading your day with high-volume foods that are low in calories, plus adding in fiber and protein-packed choices will leave you feeling satisfied.

Nutrition 101

fiber, protein, whole grains


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