If you're looking to minimise your food intake, there are a few important principles that apply. You need the maximum volume for the fewest calories; it's best to have something high in protein, with some slow-release energy, and it's helpful to have some fibre too.
Here are our top foods to help keep hunger at bay!
Chia seeds are the ultimate filling food. The seeds themselves are very tiny, but when added to any liquid, they expand to form a gel several times their original volume. This takes a long time to digest and therefore keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
Nutritionally, chia seeds are full of protein and omega-3 essential oils, so they are also good for you in their own right.
Quinoa is a great alternative to rice. It has a low glycemic index - which means that it releases its energy slowly. Quinoa is also high in protein, which in itself takes a while to digest and helps to keep you fuller than rice or wheat.
Pulses contain three things that help to keep you full: Fibre, which helps to slow the digestion; soluble fibre, which forms a gel in the gut, and protein, which takes a while for the body to break down.
Oats and oatmeal can be cooked into porridge, which has a high viscosity and passes through the gut slowly. It's also full of slow-release energy to keep you going for longer, and fibre to give the digestive system something to work on.
There are various types of edible seaweed including wakame, kombu and nori. They are all very high in fibre and expand within the stomach. In addition, wakame contains fucoxanthin which is believed to help the burning of fat.
Almonds are high in protein and fibre, and therefore have a satiating effect. They are particularly effective in the form of almond butter, which can be spread onto toast or added to smoothies. Iif you have a powerful enough blender, you can blend whole almonds yourself into the smoothie without the need to buy ready-made almond butter.
Dates are full of fibre and slow-release carbohydrates. They are of particular interest to those with a sweet tooth: high-quality dates such as sukkari dates have a caramel-like taste and can reduce the need to eat sugary sweets.
Barley has a similar nutritional profile to oats, and can be added to soups in order to bulk them up. Barley is also full of useful vitamins and trace minerals, and together with its high fibre content, will help you stay full until the next mealtime.
Various protein powders are now available: hemp protein, rice protein, chia protein, soya protein, and much more. Protein is broken down slowly, thus helping you stay full, and in its powder form is low in calories. Add protein powder to smoothies or sprinkle into your breakfast cereal or porridge.