Do you see the cool face emoji in the thumbnail? You see how wide open its mouth is? That’s exactly how we all looked at some point during dieting! BUT… it doesn’t have to be that way. Dieting doesn’t have to be accompanied with hunger, and vice versa. Perhaps my most recent article about body fat percentages inspired you to become the best version of yourself and get down to a nice and lean state. If so, congratulations! Being lean will help you perform your best, feel healthy and look amazing. You don’t have to be 200 lbs. at 5% body fat to look good. Not even close! Whether you are a man or woman trying to get lean you will often stress over not eating certain foods or constantly eating “boring” foods. But, be hold! There are many food selections you can feast on while dieting to stay full and happy. The food selections that will be covered in this article are mostly foods I have personally eaten frequently while dieting to my current shredded state. Yes, a double chocolate brownie may sound and taste phenomenal, but since you have a daily limited caloric budget, I doubt you will be able to fit in a 300-400-calorie treat into your diet without sabotaging your progress. So, “lettuce” begin!
NOTE: If you haven’t already, I highly suggest that you read the following article before proceeding. It’ll explain fundamental principles about satiety and hunger, which will help you adjust your diet plan and further understand the information here.
Look, many delightful foods will be included in this extensive guide, but that doesn’t mean you should solely feast on them. The following should be staples in your diet to maximize satiety:
Protein is the most satiating macronutrient. Try eating 200-300 grams of cooked tender chicken breast and then we will talk! In addition to being highly satiating, protein is also the most calorie-demanding macronutrient. In other words, the thermic effect of protein is about 3 times as high as carbs and fats. So, eating more protein will help keep you full and boost your metabolic rate.
Vegetables are your friends
I can hear you booing me as you are reading this! Yes, vegetables could seem boring to most people, but the truth is that they should make up most of your diet. Most vegetables (non-starchy ones) are extremely low in calories, voluminous, hold tons of water, and have in fiber. A perfect combination for satiety. Allow me to give you a personal example.
Yesterday, I wanted to eat 50 grams of carbohydrates pre-workout as part of a personal test. My dilemma is that my caloric budget only allowed for a 400 calories meal. Now, as you should know by now, every gram of carbohydrates has 4 calories. Thus, 200 calories out of my 400 allowance will have had to come from carbs. I also wanted to consume 35 grams of protein, which adds up to 140 calories. Now, I only had 60 calories in my caloric budget which aren’t much. I had two options: 1) consume 50 grams of carbs from whatever sources. BUT…then I’d be left quite hungry. 2) consume 50 grams of carbs from non-starchy vegetables. More precisely, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers and maybe some brussels sprouts.
I chose to take the second route to maximize satiety. After working numbers out, these are the amounts of food I ended up eating to meet my calorie and macronutrient requirements:
4 oz. of dry drained tuna (water) – 100 calories.
2 egg whites – 60 calories.
450 grams’ tomatoes – 81 calories.
450 grams’ lettuce – 77 calories.
300 grams’ cucumbers – 45 calories.
100 grams’ brussels sprouts – 43 calories.
So, we are looking at roughly 3 lbs. of food JUST from vegetables! And man, was I full! I was so full that I had to force those vegetables down my throat. Now, I could’ve easily ate 3-4 tablespoons of honey or half a cookie or any other calorie-dense food to get my carbs in, but I am happy that I chose to eat that amount of vegetables. In addition to being extremely full, consuming that much vegetables will supply your body with many essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals that will improve your health, body composition and performance. So, eating your vegetables!
Water makes up about 60% of the human body. Need I say more? Besides being essential to all bodily functions and survival, increasing your water intake will flush out the toxins we consume daily. Additionally, water has zero calories and can help keep you full. Sometimes, we cannot differentiate between hunger and thirst signals. In other words, we often choose to eat more food when in reality we are merely thirsty. Thus, drinking more water will help send signals to your brain that you are full.
NOTE: Following the above guidelines will usually solve any hunger problems for most people. However, being the humans we are, we cannot just eat vegetables and protein and be happy. We like variety. One minute we want to devour a whole pizza pie and the next we want to eat 5 different types of desserts. Luckily, we can do all of this to an extent and make stellar progress. This will help keep you sane while dieting and make your journey effortless and painless.
Ultimate food list!
Usually we finish up our lunch or dinner with a nice sweet treat, but I chose to put desserts high on the list because who doesn’t like desserts?! All this talk about vegetables and protein can make you crave a nice sweet apple pie. So, in an attempt to save you from devouring a 1000-calorie pie by yourself, I will give you some satiating low-calorie alternatives.
#1) Fat-free Sugar-free Jello
One word: YUM! I buy those brands from my local supermarket. There is a third brand I also buy, but I do not recall its name at the moment. Anyway, who doesn’t like jello?! However, most commercial varieties are packed with sugar and unnecessary ingredients that can make the calories rack up quickly. The reason why I personally eat those brands because they have virtually no calories. One has 10 calories per serving and the other 2 have zero calories I believe! Imagine eating as much jello as you want without consuming any calories. How freaking awesome is that?! Also, those brands make kosher jello. I do not eat pork, and most jello products use pork gelatin as their main ingredient. Those jello brands are also vegan friendly because they DO NOT use any gelatin at all! You might be wondering how that’s even possible. Well, thanks to a seaweed-derived ingredient called carrageenan, our fellow vegans and kosher followers can consume jello. In addition to providing almost zero calories, jello is extremely satiating since it’s mainly water. And thanks to its nice texture, it goes down your throat with ease and takes up a nice amount of space in your stomach which helps keep you full. Did I mention that this jello also tastes fantastic?
You can also make your own homemade jello using the following ingredients:
#2) Fat-free sugar-free pudding
Even though we have many problems in the world, I still enjoy living in this era. Dieting and staying in shape is now easier than ever thanks to using better ingredients in commercially prepared food. For instance, instead of using tons of sugar and butter like the old days, we can significantly decrease the number of calories by substituting sugar with artificial sweeteners and butter with low-fat butter! And whatever that food is, I am sure it will still taste great. With that said, we now have fat-free sugar-free pudding. They are usually made using corn starch, artificial sweeteners, natural flavors and vanilla extract or Dutch cocoa depending on the flavor. The first brand I have ever tried was Lieber’s. Lieber’s pudding was just right! It had the right taste (fantastic), texture and was very easy to prepare. All you need to do is add milk -I use unsweetened almond or cashew milk- to the powder, cook over heat and constantly stir till it boils. You then let the mix cool down and refrigerate for however long you want.
The second brand I recently bought was Jello-0. What I like about Jello-O is that they have a wide selection of flavors, they’re affordable and could be found in almost every supermarket. Some of the flavors available are butterscotch, chocolate, vanilla, white chocolate (yummy), pistachio and many more.
The average caloric content of one serving of pudding is 30-40 calories which is approximately 7-10 times less than commercially prepared pudding (250-400 calories per serving). Sometimes you can have your pudding and eat it too. These low-calorie pudding mixes are guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth and satisfy you.
#3) Very low calorie ice cream
Okay, if you don’t like ice cream, you are probably insane or have some serious issues! We would all love to eat ice cream every day and still lose fat and gain muscle. There is just one problem with eating ice cream every day, the average serving size (1/2 cup) has about 200-250 calories mainly from sugar and fat. While sugar is not unhealthy within the parameters of a healthy diet, eating a liberal amount of ice cream will let the calories rack up faster than we want. Fortunately, there is a new kid on the block and he is the chosen one! His name is Arctic Zero. Arctic Zero ice cream is made from healthy ingredients, mainly whey protein, xanthan gum (fiber) and natural flavors. And guess what? Each pint of Arctic Zero ice cream has only 150 calories! So, we have a creamy and delicious ice cream that has 35 calories per serving and 150 calories per whole pint, what else could we possibly want? This is a dieter’s dream come true. Arctic zero ice cream is high in protein and has a creamy satiating texture which will both help keep you sate. I am also sure that a whole pint of delicious ice cream will leave you more than happy.
Some of the available flavors are: Cake batter, chocolate peanut butter, chocolate, vanilla and many others that I haven’t gotten to try YET.
Alternative brand: Klondike
If you can’t find Arctic Zero ice cream at your local supermarket, another more common brand is Klondike. Be sure to get their 100-calorie-versions of bars and ice cream sandwiches instead of the regular versions. These are also very delicious and creamy. They also make a variety of products that fit every taste. Some of those products are: ice cream sandwiches, ice cream bars, ice cream tacos, ice cream cookies and ice cream pops.
#4) Sugar free popsicles
Who would’ve thought that a childhood-common food we all loved would become a dieter’s best friend? These popsicles are healthy and taste amazing. To top it off, each popsicle -which is quite big- has only 15 calories! So, you can have 6 popsicles and you will have only consumed 90 calories. They’re widely available across the nation. Thus, it shouldn’t be a hassle to find them at your local supermarket/deli.
#5) Creamsicles / Cream pops (sugar free)
So, you are not a fan of frozen fruits on sticks? That’s okay. How about we add some cream to the mix? Hmm, now we’re talking. Cream pops or commonly known as creamsicles taste fantastic. They have a dewy creamy texture and provide only 20 calories per cream pop. They’re available in tons of flavors and will help keep you sate and happy while dieting.
#6) Fruit bars
What if you can have a cheat meal but it still wouldn’t be considered a cheat meal? Sounds like an oxymoron, huh? After you try Nestle Outshine’s fruit bars, you will drool just at the thought of eating one. These amazing fruit bars are made with real fruits and are well-sized. They’re not small or excessively huge, they’re just the right size. These fruit bars are guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth and fill you up. Best of all? Each fruit bar has only 60 calories. Some of the available flavors are: coconut, strawberries, grape and about 5 more other flavors.
#7) Protein pudding
The most popular protein pudding maker is MHP. Their pre-made protein pudding doesn’t taste bad at all! My only issue with that specific product is the fact that it has canola oil. One serving of MHP protein pudding has 190 calories, which is still quite high, but the fact that it has 30 grams of protein (120 calories) makes up for the high caloric-content. Nonetheless, protein pudding is a delicious and convenient way to get your protein in and enjoy a nice treat. Alternatively, you can make your own protein pudding using the following ingredients:
- Protein powder. The flavor doesn’t matter.
- A bit of almond/cashew milk.
- 1-3 tablespoons of corn starch for a nice consistency.
Mix all ingredients and cook them together over medium heat until you get a nice thick texture. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes and then make love to it. Or you can eat it warm if you prefer.
#8) Protein fluff
Martin Berkhan from Leangains.com is the innovator of protein fluff. Protein fluff is basically a mixture of protein powder and frozen fruits that are whipped to death! The result is a huge voluminous protein fluff that is guaranteed to satisfy you and keep you sate. Check out the original recipe at LeanGains.
#9) Protein sludge
If you think fitness enthusiasts are addicted to protein, you are right! However, this addiction has resulted in numerous clever ways to make healthy, delicious, low calorie and satiating treats to help you achieve your goals. So, be grateful. Protein sludge is guaranteed to take you back to your good-old childhood days. It’s perfect for a late-night snack while watching your favorite movie/TV show. Check out this simple and delightful recipe at Buff Dude’s YouTube channel.
#10) Low calorie cheesecake
Yes, this is a thing and it tastes like HEAVEN! I still can’t believe how good these little cheesecake slices taste. Say Cheese’s diet delights offer a variety of different flavors such as: chocolate, maple and cappuccino to suit every taste. Every slice of these bad boys has only 95 calories! Another reason why I like that cheesecake is because it’s made using real ingredients as opposed to fluff and fillers. They’re generally made using farmer’s cheese, Greek yogurt, vanilla extract and non-fat cream cheese. So, they serve as nice filling treats with little calories and high protein (about grams per serving).
#11) Make your own dessert
This is one of the most obvious ways to have healthy desserts, yet many people are too lazy to even consider it. Whether you like brownies, cakes, biscuits, cookies, bread, pancakes or any other delicious treat, YOU can make your own healthy version. Instead of wasting money on commercially prepared junk treats, simply look up healthier alternatives online. Some helpful search queries are (for example):
Low calorie cheesecake recipe
Low calorie pancakes
Low carb/fat cookies recipe
You get the idea! The internet is your friend, USE IT! There are dozens of websites and useful resources online at your fingertips. Alternatively, if you don’t want to use someone else’s recipe or you are someone who enjoys cooking, you can pretty much customize any common dessert recipe to your own preference and macronutrient targets. For instance, if a cheesecake recipe doesn’t have as much protein as you would like, you can substitute certain ingredients for protein powder to increase the protein content and probably decrease the overall number of calories. If a recipe has too many calories per serving, substitute or eliminate certain ingredients to reduce the number of calories. The sky is the limit. So, be as creative as you would like.
What’s a good meal/dessert without a nice beverage to compliment it? That’s what I think too! The problem with most soft drinks is the excessive amount of sugar per serving. An average soft drink has 200 calories per 8 oz. and if you are really thirsty, chances are you will drink double that amount. Luckily, we have many low and zero-calorie alternatives that can even help us stick to our diet plans. I have already created a nice list of zero-calorie beverages that you can check out here, but I have stumbled upon more options since the time that article was written. Let’s begin.
#1) Diet root beer
We all know alcohol is not good for you. This is especially true if you have just started following a training and diet plans. Thus, consuming beer/alcohol can be counterproductive and harmful. Regular root beer sounds like the best alternative for beer lovers, but the problem is that it is often spiked with massive amounts of sugar that add up to the overall calorie content. One 8 oz. cup of root beer has an average of 250-400 calories! And it’s not like those 400 calories are packed with vitamins or nutrients, they are “empty” calories. A&W took it upon themselves to provide the perfect alternative; a delicious, healthy and calorie-free root beer that has the same texture and taste as regular beer. Have I mentioned that it’s really foamy and creamy? You’ve got to try this one out.
#2) Unsweetened almond/cashew milk
I am proud to announce that I am officially addicted to milk alternatives! Being lactose intolerant is not fun and makes you miss out on milk and other pastries/desserts made with regular milk. Ever since I discovered milk alternatives, I became hooked. They’re not only VERY delicious, but they also have the same creamy texture as regular milk. Best of all, they don’t cause me any stomach problems that I experience with drinking regular milk. Milk alternatives come in many forms and flavors. Some of the available options are:
Almond/Cashew blend (yes, together!)
Cocoa milk (chocolate milk using milk alternatives)
Almond/coconut blend (very creamy and goes well with coffee)
Soy milk (I try not to have too much soy)
Milk alternatives are available in fully sweetened, lite (lightly sweetened) and unsweetened versions. To lower the number of calories as possible, I always get the unsweetened versions and sweeten them using aspartame or any other artificial sweetener. A cup of unsweetened almond/coconut/cashew milk has on average between 25-35 calories! You can also use them to bake some fantastic desserts.
#3) Fresh homemade fruit juices/smoothies
One thing that always boggles my mind is why someone would want to drink sweetened fruit juice! I mean, fruits are already sweet, why would someone want to add additionally sugar to them which significantly increases the number of calories? This is a major issue with commercially prepared juices; they have tons of added sugar and very little juice (concentrate) which doesn’t really make up for a healthy beverage. Instead of wasting money on sugary “juices” you buy at your local supermarket, buy some fruits and blend them at home. Your fresh homemade juice will way healthier, has significantly less calories and supply your body with tons of essential antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Furthermore, the clumpy texture of the resulting juice and high fiber content will help fill you up.
#4) Fresh homemade fruit smoothies
Same idea as homemade fruit juices. The difference is smoothies are often more delicious than juices. Another advantage of smoothies is that they can fill you up even more than juices because of their thick texture. I often use the following ratios to make thick mouth-drooling smoothies:
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond/cashew milk
- 1 cup 4% fat cottage cheese
- 300 grams of whatever fruit (usually strawberries, starfruit or blueberries)
- 1/2 – 1 cup of fat-free Greek yogurt.
- 1-2 packets of aspartame.
The result is a very thick and delicious smoothie that will curb your hunger for some time.
#5) Diet juice
Thanks to our urban fast-paced lifestyles, we don’t always have the time to make our own meals/juices. Maybe you are not in the mood to make your own juice and want to buy something that is already made. Fortunately, there are diet juices available at your local supermarket. Ocean spray has a wide selection of different diet juices to pick from. Some of the available flavors are:
One 8 fl oz. cup of Ocean spray’s diet juice(s) has only 5 calories!
#6) Diet v8 splash
Remember when your parents tried to force you to drink v8 juice as a little kid? Not a very pleasant memory, I know. But, they did so because they love you (or hate you lol). V8 juices are made using vegetables and fruits which are deemed to have many vitamins and other beneficial nutrients. Luckily, you are all grown up now and know that v8 juice is good for you. But, you are dieting and don’t want to spend 100 calories of your daily caloric budget on a cup of juice. What should you do? You should go to your local bodega and get a bottle of diet v8 splash juice. One serving size has only 10 calories and is far healthier for you than most other juices made from concentrate.
#7) Water enhancers
Yes, that’s what they are called! There are tons of brands out there, but any of them will work fine. The whole point of water enhancers is to add some flavor to your water without any extra calories. So, think of it as drinking grape juice without the calories. Not bad. Some of the brands available are; crush, vitamin squeeze, mio, cool mate and skinny girl.
Dressings/Condiments and Syrups
As a dieter, one of the scariest thoughts that often cross your mind is the number of calories you can easily consume by adding dressings to your salads or syrup to your pancakes/waffles. As your savior, I am here to tell you; fear no more! The food you eat while dieting doesn’t have to be bland and boring to lose fat/weight. All you need to do is make smarter choices.
Condiments and salad dressings
#1) Walden Farm’s salad dressings
I came across Walden Farm’s products by sheer coincidence. I was mindlessly walking down an aisle at my local supermarket looking for low-calorie condiments when I made eye contact with those beautiful life-saving bottles of dressings! That was one of the happiest moments of my life. “A CALORIE-FREE DRESSING?!! IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?!” These were the questions that crossed my mind at that moment. Being the curious dude I am, I picked up a few of those bottles and carefully examined the nutrition label and ingredient profile to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. And I WASN’T! I figured those dressings were not going to taste like the real deal because they sound too good to be true. I mean, there are literally zero calories in those dressings and they’re made with healthy ingredients, what’s the catch? I decided to test the water by getting a bottle of Blue Cheese salad dressing, and I am glad I did! I used it on a salad as soon as I arrived home, and I kid you not, I used half the bottle! The texture is just right! The flavor is amazing and really compliments a nice garden salad. Walden Farm’s dressings are the way to go if you want to add a bit of flavor to your food without adding any extra calories. I just got myself another bottle of zesty Italian dressing last night. Can’t wait to try that one out!
#2) Vinegar (all types)
Perhaps you are a classic gentleman/lady who doesn’t like the sophisticated flavors of salad dressings, but a simple touch of vinegar will keep you happy. Vinegar is not only healthy, but it has no calories (all varieties). Thus, you can liberally add vinegar to your food/salads while dieting without risking adding unnecessary calories. NOTE: some commercial varieties of balsamic vinegar and vinaigrette do contain calories. So, examine those carefully first.
#3) Sugar Free/ Reduced-Sugar Ketchup
Ketchup is one of the most popular food condiments on the planet. Ketchup compliments almost every food in existence. Kids love it, and adults would die for some on their fries. The problem with ketchup is that adds unnecessary sugar to your food which further boosts the caloric content of your meal. This isn’t the case when you use the sugar-free or reduced sugar versions of ketchup. You cut the unnecessary calories by 50-75% just by making this simple yet smart choice (5-10 calories per tablespoon).
We cannot simply address ketchup without addressing its twin brother mustard. Classic mustard/Dijon mustard is a great source of beneficial micronutrients and has zero calories. So, feel free to use this liberally. Be careful of fancy mustard varieties that have calories, though. Some of those are; bacon and sweetened mustard products.
Herbs and spices are a great way to boost the nutrition profile of your meal. Additionally, a teaspoon of any herb or spice has a maximum of 5 calories. So, you can use some discretion here and count them as zero calories. This makes them a great way to flavor your meal and spend your precious calories on something else.
#6) Sugar-free BBQ Sauce
Okay, BBQ sauce is phenomenal. That’s one thing the whole world agrees on (for once). BBQ sauce usage is also not limited to steak and ribs, but it can be used to add some nice flavor to chicken and even fish! The problem with most BBQ sauces out there is the high sugar content, which as you probably guessed, adds excessive calories that we can use to eat some more food. Now, we have two options: Walden Farm’s calorie free smoked BBQ sauce (YUM!) or G.Hughes’s sugar-free BBQ sauce. The first being calorie-free and the latter having only 10 calories per serving! You can’t go wrong with either, in my opinion. An average tablespoon of sugar-packed BBQ sauce has 50-100 calories. You do the math.
#7) Zero-calorie Mayo
Craving a good old coleslaw salad? But, an average-sized serving of coleslaw has a few hundred calories. Decisions, decisions. Well, you can make your own coleslaw using Walden Farm’s zero-calorie mayo. Tastes, smells and feels just like the real deal without the 100 calories per tablespoon that accompany regular mayo (and trans fats).
Pancake and waffle syrups
#1) Walden Farm’s zero-calorie syrups
You might think this post is put together in a way that promotes Walden Farm’s products, but I assure you it isn’t. However, it just happens that these guys make very high quality products that fit our dietary needs. I mean, zero calories, phenomenal taste, variety of flavors, affordable, real texture and healthy ingredients, what more can we ask for? Anyway, having a pancake, waffle or slice of French toast without added syrup is like trying to shower without water. But, once again, regular syrups have tons of calories and added sugar in addition to crappy ingredients. This is when Walden Farms come to the rescue. Up until this moment, they have 5 flavors; blueberry, strawberry, pancake, caramel and chocolate. I have only tried the caramel syrup and I must say that I am never using regular caramel syrup EVER again! The caramel syrup tasted exactly like regular caramel syrup and had the same exact consistency. I was adding my caramel syrup to almost everything from pancakes to cereal (which you should try btw).
#2) Smucker’s sugar-free syrup
Smucker’s make some of the best food products on the market, that’s for sure. Even better, they have their own very low calorie sugar-free breakfast syrup that will compliment your pancakes and waffles without a lot of calories. One 1/4 cup serving of this delicious syrup has only 20 calories as opposed to 210 calories per serving from top products on the market.
#3) Hershey’s sugar-free chocolate/strawberry syrup
Who doesn’t like a nice cup of chocolate milk? Or, maybe you like your milk with some strawberry syrup. Fair enough. Hershey’s chocolate and strawberry syrups are the perfect candidates for your cup of milk. With a taste to die for and only 5 calories per serving, you will be running through these like cotton candy.
Tip: Add some of your favorite syrup to a nice warm/cold cup of cashew/almond milk. Stir and enjoy a 30-35 calorie cup of milk that is sure to make you happy.
Carbs are a man’s best friend. But, too much of anything is not good for you. One major problem with highly palatable and commercially prepared foods is the massive carbohydrates’ content which contributes to the high-calorie content and causes a myriad of other issues such as insulin resistance. Nonetheless, carbohydrates are delicious and healthy if not abused. So, let’s explore some nice healthy carbohydrate-based foods.
#1) Thomas Light English muffins
Thomas brand makes some of the healthiest and delicious muffins on the market, if not the healthiest. They only use whole ingredients in making their wide variety of baked goods. One of my personal favorites is their light English muffins. They are essentially English muffins with only 100 calories per serving, which is a moderately-sized muffin. Each muffin comes packed with 5 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber that are sure to keep you full for longer.
#2) Mission tortillas
Mission tortillas are the perfect alternative to regular tortillas. They are fluffy and soft, but they come in other different textures as well. If you have been craving a burrito, you should use one of these tortillas as your wrap (banging!).
#3) Low-calorie pasta
Ronzoni makes what’s called “smart taste” pasta. This version of their pasta has somewhat less calories than your average pasta (170-180 vs 200+). There is no doubt the difference of calories per serving is small, but remember that small numbers add up quickly. For instance; saving 40 calories a day would translate into saving 280 calories per week and 1120 calories per month (one-third of a pound of fat).
#4) Pasta alternative – Shirataki noodles
Shirataki noodles are the hottest thing nowadays. Their reputation has increased significantly over the past few years. Shirataki noodles are a traditional dish in the Japanese culture and they’re made from yam flour. What makes Shirataki noodles special is the fact that they feel and look like pasta but have only 10 calories per serving! Quite frankly, they don’t taste the same as pasta, but for 10 calories per serving and tons of fiber (about 3-6 grams) they serve as a decent alternative. Shirataki noodles taste like nothing, but they taste decent when cooked with vegetables and tomato sauce or soy sauce. They are filling, high in fiber, voluminous and have very low calories. So, learn to like them.
Fitness enthusiasts are some of the most creative people on the planet. What’s a great way to boost pasta’s nutritional value besides increasing its protein content? Like we needed another reason to love pasta. With that said, iso-pasta comes in many different shapes, and they all have the following macros:
- 170 calories per serving
- 30 grams of protein
- 7 grams of net carbs
- 4 grams of fiber
- 1.5 grams of fat
I doubt you need any other reasons to get some of this amazingly-delicious pasta.
So, your favorite movie/TV show will be on soon and you would like to enjoy a nice snack while watching it. But, research suggests that people eat as 3-4 times as much as they usually do when they watch TV. This would practically mean hundreds if not thousands of extra calories easily consumed over a short period of time. Not a great formula for dieting successfully! But, perhaps there are some healthy filling snacks we can binge on without feeling guilty, right?
Popcorn is liked equally by both children and adults. Not only do great memories at the movies cross our minds when popcorn is mentioned, but it also tastes great and helps keep us full. Air-popped is one of the most satiating and low-calorie snacks you can have between meals or while watching your favorite show. The problem with commercially-prepared popcorn is it’s usually popped using oil (and not good ones) and is covered with tons of butter which racks up the calories very quickly. However, if you air-pop some popcorn at the comfort of your house, you will be enjoying a satiating snack that only costs 35 calories per cup. So, eat away!
#2) Walden dip
So, you have some fruits or chips, but you want to dip them into a nice flavorful condiment to compliment the flavor. You rather save the 300 calories you would consume from your regular dip on real food, though. What should you do? You should get yourself some Walden Farm’s dips. Available in chocolate, caramel and marshmallow flavorful while having ZERO calories. Yes, that’s right ZERO!
#3) Walden spread
So, all this talk is making you hungry. Why don’t you go make yourself a nice peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Hmm, don’t have enough calories to cover that, ha?! Worry not, I got you! Walden Farm’s really did it with this one. Their spread is basically whipped spread that has a decent texture, but it’s still not like the real deal. This goes specifically for the peanut spread. Peanut spread doesn’t seem to get a lot of love online since the reviews are conflicting, but the cinnamon raisin has a nice reputation. Either way, for zero calories I will happily eat any of those spreads!
#4) Walden jam
Once again with Walden Farms and their great products. This time, they came to our rescue with their delicious fruit jelly/jam. Of course, they have zero calories! They taste, smell and feel like the real deal. In fact, they are made with real ingredients, but prepared in such a way that makes them calorie-free. Add some of their strawberry jam to their cinnamon raisin spread over a nice slice of Ezekiel bread and enjoy a delightful and satiating snack for only 80 calories (from the Ezekiel bread).
#5) Polaner sugar free jam
One tablespoon of your average fruit jelly/jam has at least 50 calories! And of course, you won’t just eat 1 tablespoon, but more like 2-4. So, you are practically looking at ~200 calories mainly from sugar. Regular fruit jam has tons of calories because of the added sugar manufacturers add to enhance the sweetness. What I don’t understand is why you would want to sweeten something that is already sweet! Goes to show you that our population is addicted to sugar. Anyway, Polaner has a full line of REAL fruit jam that has absolutely no added sugar. I have personally tried their blueberry jam and I must say that I am hooked! With only 10 calories per big tablespoon and a taste to die for, I will never be using regular sugar-packed jams ever again. The texture was nice and you could tell that the product was high quality and made from real fruits. I could see mashed blueberries inside the container and the taste was authentic. And since these are made from real fruits, they’re packed with fiber.
#6) Peanut butter powder (PB2)
Let’s say you picked up a container of fruit jelly by Polaner. Now, you need some authentic peanut butter to compliment the fruit jam and bread. Peanut butter in powder form tastes exactly like regular peanut butter (it is real peanut butter) but it has significantly less calories thanks to having 85% less fat than regular peanut butter. One serving (2 tablespoons) of PB2 peanut butter has only 50 calories as opposed to 200 calories from regular peanut butter. Available in two flavors; chocolate peanut butter (a taste to literally kill for) and regular peanut butter.
Sometimes, we want to eat something but we open the fridge and stand in front of it like we time traveled 2 thousand years ahead thinking what to eat! Here I show you some random satiating foods that I often eat to curb my hunger.
Egg whites (Beaten)
Egg whites in general have significantly less calories than regular whole eggs due to not having any fat. And as we know, dietary fat is the most energy-dense macronutrient. Also, protein is the most satiating macronutrient. But, here is a trick to make egg whites more satiating; whip them using a hand mixer until the consistency becomes thick and foamy. Cook them over medium heat and enjoy a nice egg white omelet that is 3-5 times larger than the regular omelet you make.
Nuts ‘n More butter spread
Perhaps you have some calories to waste on a cheat meal. But you still don’t want to go all out and want to cheat “clean” instead. Nuts’ n More butter spreads are the perfect fit for these occasions. They come with peanut butter as base or almond/cashew butter. They all taste fantastic and have higher protein content than your average peanut butter. There are tons of flavors to pick from with Birthday Cake and Chocolate Maple Pretzel being the newest additions.
Fat free Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt is known to have significantly higher protein than regular yogurt. What’s amazing about yogurt and dairy products in general is the fact that they aid digestive health tremendously thanks to having billions of naturally occurring probiotics. Whole-milk Greek yogurt tastes phenomenal and is very healthy, but it has about 200 calories per cup, which is still somewhat low. However, Chobani’s fat free Greek yogurt has only 120 calories and 22 grams of protein per cup making it a great and healthy snack.
Cleaning up your diet means taking out processed and sugar-packed foods, candy and treats. But, maybe you happen to have a sweet tooth like myself which makes it hard for you to give up certain foods. Fruits are nature’s candy. They are not only delicious, but they also come in different flavors, textures, smells and levels of sweetness that fit every taste there is. Fruits are also packed with fiber, minerals, vitamins, and other essential nutrients that will help optimize your health and aid your body-transforming efforts. If you are scared of fruits because they have “sugar”, please do yourself a favor and read this article on fruit sugar (Fructose). Fruits are also voluminous thanks to having tons of water which promotes satiety.
Whether you like blackberries, raspberries, blueberries or strawberries, keep eating them! They have tons of antioxidants, fiber, high in water content and delicious. Though they’re all satiating, strawberries are the most satiating fruit. 100 grams of strawberries is only 30 calories! So, one pound of strawberries would only cost you 135 calories.
Generally speaking, melons are some of the most satiating fruits on the planet. But, honeydew wins the prize. It doesn’t really weigh much which helps us eat more of it. 100 grams of honeydew have only 30 calories.
Starfruit is not very popular due to mainly being an Asian-based fruit. However, I am sure you will find these elegantly-shaped treats at your local Asian supermarket. The good news is that it’s becoming more popular thanks to the internet and urbanization. Starfruit has a unique shape and flavor and only contain 31 calories per 100 grams. Fortunately, starfruit -also known as carambola- is very light in terms of weight, thus we can eat tons of it with no problem.
Although peaches are high in fructose, they still manage to have less calories than other fructose-rich fruits like apples and pineapples. 100 grams of peaches contain only 39 calories and tons of water.
Dieting is only hard if you can’t manage your hunger. If you want to get lean and mean, you will have to sacrifice some treats, however, this doesn’t mean you should restrict yourself just to vegetables and chicken breast. There are tons of guilt-free treats out there and low/zero-calorie alternatives that you can take advantage of. Losing fat is only about consistency and dedication, but you can still spoil yourself on a daily basis without sabotaging your progress. You don’t have to go insane just because you are “dieting”. I learned about all these different options as part of my journey of getting shredded. But, I wish someone had told me about these tons of available options which could’ve saved me plenty of time and misery that was caused by eating very restrictively. Enjoy and stay consistent!