The Dieter’s Dilemma: How to Stay Full While Dieting

Being hungry sucks.

Whether you’re prepping for a figure competition, cutting to a lower weight class, or leaning out for beach season is irrelevant.

You’re dieting, you’re hungry, and you want to eat…a lot.

With only a couple hundred calories left to spare in your daily quota you find yourself walking back and forth between the refrigerator and dry foods section, on the hunt for a satiating and at least semi-decent tasting snack.

This goes on for 15-30 minutes before you:

  • Chug water and get out of the kitchen ASAP
  • Eat an entire head of lettuce while trying to convince yourself that it tastes like General Tso’s Chicken, or
  • Say “f*** it” and eat the whole tub of Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream which you were supposed to be saving for your next “cheat meal.”
how to stay full while dieting

Funny because it’s true

I’m sure many of you reading this are nodding your head in agreement and thinking “haaa…been there, done that!”

Unfortunately, hunger is not only a natural reaction to dieting but it actually increases because of it. Our bodies are exceptionally good at preventing us from venturing into the lower body fat ranges and, when we try to bypass this system, the body has numerous mechanisms to try and stop us – one of which is hunger. From an evolutionary perspective this makes sense as it’s the body’s way of avoiding starvation and death.

Obviously this isn’t ideal, especially for those of us trying to achieve and maintain a lean physique, but that’s just the way it is.

Bummer, right?

Well, not so fast. I might have a solution.

After delving into the research, collecting an obscene amount of anecdotal reports, and working with hundreds of successful clients, I’ve compiled numerous “tricks of the trade” to subdue hunger without pounding a ton of calories.

What follows is a list of various foods and mental strategies to incorporate within your daily life to help you achieve and maintain a lean physique.

The first section is broken down into the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat) where I outline my go-to foods during fat loss. In essence, I summarize the importance of a high protein diet with a distinct emphasis on fruits and veggies.

The second section is geared towards those less commonly known “tricks of the trade” in which I provide a host of low-calorie, satiating, and delightfully tasty food options.

Finally, I wrap everything up with several of my online coaching clients’ and my own personal favorite recipes as well as several strategies that will hopefully aid in making the dieting process easier to handle.

If you’re not sure how to set your calorie/macronutrient requirements or how to train during fat loss, I suggest you start HERE.

Once you have your nutrition and training routine in place, the following information may be exactly what you’ve been searching for to help you achieve your ultimate body composition goals.


– J

P.S. If you have a favorite trick or tip that I didn’t include, please post it in the comments section at the end!

How to Stay Full While Dieting


I’ve spoken about the various benefits of protein numerous times before so I won’t go into any great detail here. However, to satisfy my OCD for the sake of completeness I’ll briefly cover the highlights.

Higher protein intakes are extraordinarily important and can be tremendously advantageous while dieting. From its ability to spare muscle, to its high thermic effect, to its capacity to blunt hunger, protein is the Chuck Norris of macros.

Make protein a priority…like this guy

how to stay full while dietingNow that we’ve covered the basics, below I’ve provided a list of my favorite low-calorie/high-protein food sources.

  • Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast. 

Yes, it’s bland and boring but boneless/skinless chicken breast is low calorie, high protein, and when eaten dry is bizarrely satiating. While perusing some forums I came across the following epic quote by Martin Berkhan discussing the benefits of dry chicken:

“If you’re looking to go low calorie, very high protein and low everything else (i.e. PSMF or similar), 250-300 g of dry chicken breast is something you might wanna add to your menu. I’ve tried every protein source under the sun and haven’t found anything that will satiate you more calorie for calorie. 

Key point is to not add stuff to it. It should be dry and boring, and it will take you a long time to finish it because the meat is so damn solid. Jaw muscles get a solid workout. Ain’t exactly a meal you’ll be seeing on Top Chef any time soon but it gets the job done on PSMF type diets or similar very high protein setups designed to be short in duration and cause fast fat loss.”

  • Extra Lean Ground Chicken, Turkey, and Beef
  • Pork Tenderloin
  • Fish (i.e.Tilapia, Haddock, Tuna, King Mackerel, Swordfish, Shrimp)
    • As fish tends to be lower calorie than other high protein options, you can usually eat it in much larger portions. Notably white fish such as Tilapia and Haddock have very low calorie content. Be creative with how you prepare them because plain fish sucks…plus they might make your apartment smell like fish and your roommate will be pissed.
  • Greek Yogurt 0%
    • Greek Yogurt fills me up immediately. However, I’ve noticed this is highly individual as some people can eat an entire tub and still complain of hunger. All I know is that Greek Yogurt tastes great, high in protein, and easily transformed into a sweet dessert.
  • Cottage Cheese 1%
    • Similar to Greek Yogurt, the satiating effect of Cottage Cheese is highly individual. I’d note, many people don’t palate Cottage Cheese very well as the texture legitimately makes them want to vomit. Regardless, if you enjoy it (I do) it’s a great option and those who like it swear by it.
  • Protein Supplements (Dymatize Elite XT is the best for both taste and price)
    • Supplementing with protein powder is a quick and easy way to meet your protein requirements. As an added bonus, some protein companies have done an incredible job of making their products taste like a little piece of heaven. Trutein’s Cinnabun and Dymatize’s Elite XT Rich Chocolate have both received great reviews. Also, Martin Berkhan’s post on Protein Fluff and Protein Pudding provides an in-depth guide to making some of the most filling and delicious recipes known to man.
  • Egg Whites
    • Egg white omelets with a bunch of veggies and/or lean meats are a great high-protein, low-calorie, and satiating meal option. As an aside, I’ve found that hardboiled egg whites (and hardboiled eggs in general) tend to be more filling than eggs prepared differently (i.e. scrambled, over easy, etc)
  • Egg Beaters
    • These things are pretty damn cool. Prepared tactfully they can get very fluffy, dense, and take up a ton of space in your stomach. Toss in a few veggies and you’re in for quite the filling surprise. Quick Tip: make them in the microwave for mega-fluffiness.


how to stay full while dietingCarbohydrate intake while dieting is a major topic of debate. Some people swear by the zero/low-carb approach, others prefer carb cycling, and others simply moderate them based on their calorie and protein requirements.

Personally, I’ve experienced the best results through a combination of carbohydrate cycling and moderation based on my daily calorie and protein requirements.

Regardless of the method you choose, below I’ve provided a list of carbohydrate sources which seem to be the most effective at blunting hunger.

Starchy Carbohydrates

  • Quaker Oats Oatmeal
    • Quaker Oats Oatmeal is bar-none my favorite starchy carbohydrate. It’s quick, easy, tasty, and holy hell is it filling! They come in numerous flavors such as Original, Low Sugar Maple Brown Sugar, Low Sugar Apples and Cinnamon, and Low Sugar Chocolate Chip. Each packet is roughly 100-120 calories and, made correctly, can triple in size and density. If you want to make it as thick and voluminous as possible, I suggest using 1.5x the recommended amount of water and microwaving it for at least double the recommended time-frame. Stir the oatmeal and continue heating until the oats soak up all the water; you can thank me later.
  • Boiled Potatoes (Sweet or White)
    • On the satiety index potatoes have consistently been ranked as one of the most filling foods. Personally, potatoes don’t fill me up in the least so, while cutting, I rarely include them in my diet. That being said, many of my clients love them and a host of people across various forums swear by them. As such, if you haven’t tried them it might be worth a shot.
  • Low-Calorie Popcorn
    • Popcorn is a surprising one. Most people wouldn’t expect it but an entire full-size bag of Smart Pop Popcorn only has 240 calories! Cutting doesn’t sound half bad anymore, now does it?
  • how to stay full while dietingBeans (Chick Peas, White Beans, Black Beans, etc)
    • Because of their high fiber and protein content beans are surprisingly satiating. Chickpeas are my favorite but that’s just because I love hummus ever-so-much. I’d note, what we sang about beans when we were children still holds true – the more you eat the more you toot.
  • Carrots
    • Even though carrots are higher in calories than most other vegetables, they make up for it in being extremely crunchy, hard to chew, and filling. Maybe it’s just me but if I eat an entire bag of baby carrots (only about 175 calories) I’ll be stuffed for a long time coming.


how to stay full while dietingMy favorite fruits while dieting are strawberries, watermelon, and oranges. I usually end up freezing and making them into some type of dessert along with Greek Yogurt and a protein powder. I also find that eating them while frozen not only makes them taste better (almost like an ice cream treat), but it takes longer to eat and is usually more satiating than unfrozen fruit.

Below is a list of the fruits I consider to be the most satiating calorie for calorie:

  • Strawberries – 1lb is ~140 calories
  • Cantaloupe – 1 large cantaloupe is ~230 calories
  • Watermelon – 1.5lbs is ~230 calories
  • Oranges – 1 orange is ~80 calories
  • Grapefruit – 1 grapefruit is ~100 calories
  • Apples – 1 medium apple is ~80 calories
  • Starfruit – 1 large starfruit is ~40 calories
  • Papaya – 1 medium papaya is ~120 calories
  • Grapes (definitely freeze these) – .5lb of grapes is ~160 calories


how to stay full while dietingThis should be a no brainer: If you’re trying to get lean then vegetables should make up a major portion of your diet. However, while some people say “vegetable calories don’t count,” that’s really not the case. Yes, they tend to be less energy dense than other foods, and some portion of their calories may not be digestible, but they still have calories and, yes, they still count.

That being said, some vegetables are considerably more satiating than others, especially on a calorie for calorie basis. Below I’ve provided what I consider to be the most satiating – and best tasting – vegetables.

  • Broccoli and Cauliflower
    • This may sound gross but raw broccoli and cauliflower are extremely filling. If you’re having trouble getting and staying full, raw broccoli and cauliflower are definitely worth a shot.
  • Cabbage and Lettuce
    • Cabbage and lettuce are g-d sends. From different salads and coleslaw’s to boiled cabbage in a stew, both of them are low in calories, extremely filling, and can be incorporated into a variety of tasty meals.
  • Kimchi
    • This stuff is freakin’ delicious. It’s wicked low cal, has numerous health benefits, and did I mention how good it tastes? Buy it at your local Asian grocery or in the International Foods refrigerated section in your standard market.
  • Cucumber
  • Bok Choy
    • Bok Choy is a type of cabbage and is particularly great in various stews and soups
  • Bamboo Shoots
    • I’ve found bamboo shoots to be relatively tasteless but provide a good bit of texture to your meals. Again, highly recommended for various soups and stews
  • Red & Green Peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Mushrooms
    • On numerous forums many people have said they eat raw mushrooms to blunt hunger while dieting. While I don’t personally find this enjoyable or filling, many people swear by its effectiveness so I figured it would be worth mentioning here.
  • Spinach
  • Onions
    • Onions are a gift of the g-d’s. They make good food taste great and bad food taste good. When trying to fill up on minimal calories you may want to add them raw to various salads and dishes as the potent flavor and smell does a pretty good job of blunting hunger.
  • Fennel
  • Eggplant
  • Tomatoes
  • Summer Squash
  • Celery
  • Pickles
    • Always a great snack. Generally only 5 calories per spear they are inexpensive, tasty, and filling. Pickle Anyone?

how to stay full while dieting


If hunger is an issue high fat foods likely aren’t going to make up a major portion of your diet. While fat provides myriad health benefits, and some people actually experience greater satiety with high(er) fat diets, I’ve found very few high fat foods result in nearly as much satiety as the protein and carbohydrate sources listed above.

As such, my list of filling high-fat foods is very short. If you disagree or have found satiating high fat options please post them in the comments section.

Regardless, you still better be taking your fish oil!!!!

  • Fish
  • High(er) fat meats (i.e. beef)
  • High(er) fat Greek Yogurt/Cottage Cheese
  • Hard Boiled Whole Eggs

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how to stay full while dietingOften times hunger is easily remedied by filling yourself up with fluid – crazy right!?

Various zero/low-calorie beverages, soups, and stews are all great options to consider when you’re hungry with only a few calories left to spare.

  • Water
  • Coffee, Tea , & Diet Soda
    • Zero-Calorie, taste great, and often have a decent amount of caffeine which may blunt hunger in and of itself. #letsgetshredded
    • I think these flavored K-Cups are ridiculously good and provide negligible calories per cup
  • Zero/Low Calorie Drink Mixes
  • Almond Milk
  • Stews and Soups
    • Miso and Wonton soup broths are very low calorie (~30 calories per serving) and sold in most grocery stores’ International Foods section. If you can’t find it, there is certainly an Asian grocer near you who sells them. Also, try adding some of the veggies and/or meats listed above to these soups and stews. Warning: You will have a food baby

Zero and Low Calorie Condiments

how to stay full while dietingSmall portions of various condiments such as bbq sauce, ketchup, and mayo can add a surprising amount of calories without the benefit of filling you up. As such, I’ve provided the following list of low(er) calorie condiments which may help you add some flavor to your foods without worrying about going overboard on calories.

  • Zero Calorie Salad Dressings
    • Walden Farms has a ton of zero-calorie products but I’ve only tried their salad dressings. While some of them are good (my favorites are Sesame Ginger, Cole Slaw, and Thousand Island) others are pretty bad (read: repulsive). Regardless, they’re all zero calories so might as well give ‘em a shot.
  • Yellow Mustard
    • French’s yellow mustard provides 0 calories and adds a good deal of flavor. It’s not gourmet but it gets the job done.
  • Lemon Juice
  • Vinegar
  • All Spices
    • Cayenne Pepper is wicked spicy and does wonders for blunting hunger pangs. If you have trouble getting full, add this to various foods, soups, stews, etc.
    • Salt, Pepper, Turmeric, and all other spices are great additions for little to no calories.
  • Horseradish
    • Not only is this stuff very low calorie but, because of the overpowering taste and smell, it will probably murder your appetite. Fair warning: take small portions or you’ll be breathing fire out of your nose!
  • Knorr Vegetable Dip
  • Low-Fat/Fat Free Cream Cheese
  • Hot Sauce
  • Salsa
    • Most salsa’s are low in calories to begin with but double-check the label and serving size to be sure. Or just make your own – it’s very simple and probably tastes better.
  • Soy Sauce
    • Any soy sauce will do as they all tend to be between 10-15 calories per serving.
  • Low Calorie Ketchup
  • Sugar Free Maple Syrup
  • Zero Calorie Sweeteners

Miscellaneous Foods

how to stay full while dietingBelow are a bunch of random low-calorie foods which many people aren’t even aware exist. Adding these to your dieting repertoire might be exactly what you need to help you stay sane while cutting those last few pounds.

  • Shirataki Noodles
    • These are crazy! An entire package of these noodles is roughly 25 calories and holy hell are they filling. They’re great for stir fries or big bowls of stew. The only drawback is that they taste pretty damn horrible. They’re a little bit too chewy for my liking and are something akin to what I would imagine eating worms would feel like. That being said, they are extremely filling for minimal calories and with a little imagination could probably taste better than I described.
  • Sugar-Free Jell-o
    • Who doesn’t love Jell-O? Exactly. And this sugar free stuff actually tastes amazing. An entire package is only 40 calories and it’s absurdly satiating. My favorite is the Strawberry flavor. Oh, pay attention and make sure to buy the sugar-free type since they’re grouped with the regular versions and look exactly the same.
  • Sugar-Free Fat-Free Pudding
    • Some of these flavors taste so good it’s shocking. Seriously. How do they do it!? When perusing the site I just found the Cheesecake flavor is available…CHEESECAKE!!! I will be buying it immediately. Be sure to order the sugar-free fat-free version as they’re grouped with the regular ones as well.
  • No Sugar Added Fudgesicle pops
    • 40 calories per Popsicle and exceptionally tasty. Plus you can combine it with frozen fruits or Greek Yogurt to make an even more filling/tasty treat.
  • Arctic Zero Ice Cream
    • This stuff is ridiculous. It’s only 150 calories per PINT of ice cream! Umm what? Yea. I’ve never tried but some of my friends & client’s have and the overwhelming consensus is that it’s pretty damn good.
  • No Sugar Added Pie Filling
    • I’ve never tried this stuff but it looks great and has gotten some pretty good reviews. On my next shopping trip I’ll see if I can find it and let you all know what I think.
  • Low Calorie Peanut Butter (PB2)
    • SO GOOD! Compared to 190 calories per serving (2tbsp) of traditional peanut butter, PB2 comes out to only 45 calories per 2 tbsp. Seems like a great way to get your fix of peanut butter for far fewer calories.

Sample Meals

how to stay full while dietingBreakfast

  • Egg White/Egg Beater Omlette w/ Veggies
  • Israeli Salad (Cucumber, Tomato, Salt, Pepper) with Chicken/Fish
  • Oatmeal and Eggs/Egg Whites/Egg Beaters


  • Tuna/Egg/Chicken Salad: Substitute the Greek Yogurt for mayo. Add celery and spices to taste. It’s low cal, high protein, and tastes great. Makes for a fantastic meal
  • Turkey/Chicken Meat Loaf
  • Cayenne Chicken/Fish Stew with veggies


  • Protein Strawberries: Frozen Strawberries, Protein Powder, Little bit of water, Sweetener, Cinnamon. Mix together and enjoy
  • Cottage Cheese or Greek Yogurt and No Sugar Added Pie Filing
  • Cottage Cheese or Greek Yogurt and Frozen Fruit w/ Cinnamon
  • No Sugar Added Jell-O and Low-Fat Cream Cheese: Wait what? Yea, it’s awesome

Strategies for the Mind

how to stay full while dietingI recently read a fantastic book entitled Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength: Willpower in which the authors discuss various strategies to incorporate within your daily activities in order to strengthen your Willpower and help you achieve your goals.

In addition to reiterating some of their strategies below, I also include several tactics of my own. Again, if there’s anything you find particularly helpful which I didn’t mention please leave it in the comments section at the end.

  • Find a Meal Frequency that Works for You
    • If you have trouble getting full eating small and frequent meals you may want to try Intermittent Fasting (IF) which allows for significantly larger portions, albeit less frequently, throughout the day
    • If you become uncomfortably full after eating large meals you may want to focus on eating smaller meals every couple of hours.
  • Use Your Non-Dominant Hand
    • No, I’m not referring to anything sexual. I know this sound’s funky but start trying to use your non-dominant hand during various daily activities such as eating and brushing your teeth. The authors discuss how forcing yourself out of normal habitual patterns activates certain parts of the brain which may contribute to improving willpower.
  • Establish “Bright Lines”
    • “Bright Lines” simply refers to making clear-cut and decisive ground rules. For example, rather than “I’m going to drink less beer,” say “I will only drink beer on Friday and Saturday nights and will limit myself to a maximum of 2 beers per evening.” Bright lines such as these make it significantly easier to hold yourself accountable.
  • Say “I’ll Have it Later”
    • The authors spoke of an interesting study in which they found participants saying “I’ll have it later” fared much better when compared to individuals who said “I’m not going to have it at all.” For example, rather than saying you will completely abstain from food at a party, just say you’ll have it later on during the evening. Interestingly, saying “I’ll have it later” not only used less mental energy but also resulted in less food consumed later on.
  • Tell a Friend and/or Make it Public
    • Make your goals public and allow other people to hold you accountable. This added motivation may be exactly what you need to help you stick to your “Bright Lines”
  • Brush Your Teeth and Floss
    • Brushing your teeth and flossing is usually associated with being finished eating. If you find yourself craving some food try brushing and flossing to “trick” yourself into losing your appetite. It may or may not work but it’s definitely worth a shot…plus you get the added benefit of improving oral health.
  • Find a Hobby/Stay Occupied
    • Don’t sit around and brood over food. Get out and get busy! Take your mind off of your diet and go have some fun. Not only will this be good for your body composition but life is too short not to enjoy it! Your diet shouldn’t hold you back from taking pleasure in everything the world has to offer.

Wrapping Up

In spite of the apparent simplicity of dieting, it is never going to be easy. We will inevitably go through ups and downs, positives and negatives, good times and bad; it’s just part of the process. However, through using a combination of strategic and flexible dieting we can make the process a more enjoyable experience.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the information provided in this article and that you will be able to use it to help you achieve and maintain your ultimate body composition goals.

If you have any favorite foods, tips, tricks, or strategies which I neglected to mention please leave them in the comments section below.

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  • Great article, and I loved the graph! I can totally relate to this topic!
    Beans are my “go to” carb when dieting for the exact reasons you listed. I don’t think they get near the credit they deserve by most. I’ll take 1/2 cup of beaners over 1/2 cup of brown rice any day!
    One thing I do to help me is take about 1 tsp of psyllium husk powder in a shot glass of water along with a few caps of Glucomannan right before I eat my second & fourth meal of the day. The fiber helps with satiety and also slows down digestion of the meal, which is helpful for keeping us full longer & slowing down the insulin response if you are consuming carbs, plus it keeps the digestive system running smoothly. Triple whammy! 🙂

    • Jordan

      Thanks, Jen! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      Lol it’s funny – not only are beans great for blunting hunger but they’re legitimately one of my favorite foods. Sometimes when I get back from a night out with buddies we’ll all be eating and I’ll go straight for the beans. They always give me crap for it but I can’t help it – so tasty! especially bbq beans.

      Thanks for those suggestions! I’ll definitely be trying the psyllium husk and glucomannan soon. I’d imagine it fills you up like crazy!


  • Jon Abbey

    Really good article Im shedding some “fluff” for beach season so this was deffiently an article that ill use and probably bother you on some idea for meal ideas. But i got one for you to try this is a staple for what i use right now

    8 oz Unsweetened almond milk OR 8 oz plain greek yogurt
    1 scoop Natures Best Strawberry(I f*cking Natures best proteins, alittle pricey but worth it)
    1 cup of your favorite trailmix

    Try it man youll love specially since i know you love strawberries

    • Jordan

      Thanks Jon, glad you enjoyed it!

      I’m a sucker for trail mix so I’ll definitely have to give that a shot


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  • Shar

    Shirataki noodles are way better if you dry-roast them! Rinse off the packaging liquid, throw them in a dry wok and stir-fry until they start squeaking. No more nasty smell, and they’ll actually pick up sauce instead of repelling it.

    • Jordan

      Thanks, Shar! Gonna give that a try for sure. I knew I couldn’t have been cooking them properly

      • gaz

        Shiritaki noodles also taste better if you rinse them VERY well in lots of warm/hot water. They’re still slippery/chewy, but the smell is gone. Also, see for lots of great recipes using them, and a lot of great low cal recipes in general, hints on what to eat at chain restaurants and fast foods that won’t kill you calorically!

  • skinnybuddha

    I love Arctic Zero, glad to see it’s finally getting some notice. No junk, 14 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber and perfect for people like me that are lactose intolerant….oh and 150 calories for a pint! Hello!!!!!!!!!

    • Jordan

      Yea the macros and calorie content are insane! I still haven’t tried it because they don’t sell it near where I live but I’ll get it soon. What’s your favorite flavor?

  • Alicia

    Dont forget quinoa! I LOVE it it is so versatile and yummy AND filling!

    • Jordan

      Truth – I love quinoa! Doesn’t particularly fill me up but I do enjoy it on a regular basis – surprisingly high protein content as well

      • Dave

        Quinoa great for breakfast. Be careful with its high carb content on eating it in the afternoon though.

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  • Mandy

    You can make your own low fat ranch veggie dip. Use ranch powder and no fat Greek yogurt. The best veggie dip I have ever had!

    • Jordan

      Awesome idea!!!!!! High protein too 🙂

  • Bruce

    I swear by PB2 (it’s great on its own and even better with no sugar added jelly).
    Arctic Zero is pretty good, but the texture is very unlike ice cream. That being said, you get a lot for a few calories and that makes it pretty darn nifty (I like the chocolate peanut butter flavor best).

    • Jordan

      I needa try Arctic Zero! 150cal for a pint of chocolate peanutbutter…umm yes please

  • Michele

    After reading this whole thing, I’m surprised there was no mention of peas. I love peas. I eat them in (nearly) everything. I get a big bag of frozen ones and add them to soups, rice dishes, pasta, and eat them plain either hot or frozen. They’re super high in fiber and are very filling.

    As for mushrooms, I have to agree with your friends. These are another one of my “filler foods” that I put in everything. Some people love them, some people hate them. They’re a bit expensive but add flavor to dishes and are tasty raw, too.

    • Jordan

      Personally peas don’t do it for me. They’re a very starchy carb and are significantly higher calorie than most other veggies. Corn is the same.

      If they work for you then great! It’s all about personal preference.

      I love sauteed mushrooms (especially with onions) but they just don’t fill me up. I eat ’em all the time, though

  • What about avocados in the “Fat” section?

    • Jordan

      I love avocado and eat it regularly. It’s a great source of fat and an overall fantastic food. In terms of this article, however, where the goal is to maximize satiety per calorie, avocado’s really aren’t ideal.

      That doesn’t mean avocado’s are bad in any way. Rather it just means that if you need to fill up quick on a low-calorie food, avocado probably wouldn’t be the best choice.

  • Christian

    I didn’t see anything about tofu. Tofu is amazing because a block of it is around 250 calories and it fills you up like crazy. Not to mention the awesome soy protein you gain from it. For lunch I like to cook a slab of it up like a steak. That definitely ups the calorie count, but only to a max of around 400 to 500 calories.

    • Jordan

      If you like tofu and it helps you stay full, great! It’s all personal preference.

      Personally, I’m just not a big fan of it. The protein quality issue is whole separate topic, but I would much rather eat chicken, turkey, fish, beef, etc.

  • Looking at your list of fish, I think it’s important to point out that people should be careful when eating fish. Some of the fish on your list are large and higher on the food chain which means they contain higher quantities of mercury and other heavy metals, which can get into your system. In particular, some types of tuna, king mackerel and swordfish all fit into this category.

    I’d avoid the bigger tuna’s and king mackerel/swordfish completely. If you are going to eat them, drink green tea with your meal as it has properties which help reduce the number of toxins that make it into your system.

  • Chris

    How can anyone eat this way for long? All this food tastes horrible. Unfortunately, low-fat dieting doesn’t work and the research has been thoroughly debunked by science. The calorie in-calorie out idea has also been debunked. Your body uses calories from different macro-nutrients differently, so it’s not as simple as creating a 3500-calorie deficit to lose 1 lb. of fat. Eat alot of protein and vegetables with lots of good fat, like grass fed butter, olive oil, and coconut oil. Stay as fat away as possible from all grains, legumes, starches, and sugar. You will feel full way longer than eating low fat. And you will lose weight and keep it off. I’ve lost over 50 lbs eating this way and I’m never hungry. My blood work is great. Stop telling people to eat low fat. It’s ludicrous! Fat does not cause people to get fat. Carbohydrates do! Fat and cholesterol do not cause heart disease. Triglycerides do and they’re caused by carbohydrates! Read the literature.

    • Chris,

      How about you read something other than Gary Taubes and consider for a moment that he may not be entirely correct. Grains are not evil. Table sugar is not evil. Carbs, in general, are not to blame for disease and obesity. It’s being sedentary AND eating more than we burn.

      Forget your absolute statements of “low-fat doesn’t work.”

      Your n=1 experience doesn’t mean it’s ideal for everyone.

      How about this for an n=1?

      My blood work is great. My testosterone is way high and blood sugar is stable. Guess what my diet consists of? 300-400g carbohydrate per day coming from fruit, table sugar, lactose and some potatoes.

      My fat intake? 30-40g daily tops.

      Protein is moderate at 1g/lb of body weight.

      I’ve maintained my physique on this intake for months. Please be advice.

      • Chris

        Report back in 20 years when you have type II diabetes from all those carbs.

        • paul d


          The outline above is a very solid set of dieting options (from a macro and micro-nutrient perspective and it dam well works and also enables optimal performance in terms of resistance training! Like all (dare I say it “taubes” fanboys), your weight loss will slow and eventually stall my friend. You have inadvertently created a calorie defict through your change in macros and associated satiation, and that is what is working for you, “for now”. When you start to more closely match the calories you consume to what you actually use daily (as you lose more weight you will lose your current deficit), your weight loss will stall. Look around you on the interwebz at all the LC paleotards who are bitching about this on their various fractionated and dogmatic Low Carb paleo forums. Go read Free the Animal and Richard’s experiences and see his revisions on carbs after reading Anthony Colpo!!!

          Debunked my ass!!! Research (when read without confirmation bias) seems to universally indicate that if you eat more than you use in terms of energy expenditure, you will get to be a big tubby tub tub tub.

          JC – you are wrong, grains and table sugar are truly evil, and I am now convinced you are the devil. Carbohydrates are to blame for all the ills in the world, not just obesity and disease. Be warned, after posting this, Grok will be coming for you buddy. He does not give a shit about your shredded six pack dude, you been preaching about them carbohydrates. Before it is too late, get onto the Taubes blog, and confess in the comments and seek his wisdom to change your evil ways!!! Better yet, go paleo, and wash you mouth out with (“grain fed” organic coconut oil – umm ass fed butther, and a fried piece of bacon).

          Chris, go read some frigging metabolic ward studies.

          Paul “A calorie is a calorie” D

          • hey Paul,

            Do you have a newsletter?



    • Jordan

      Chris I’m glad you’ve seen success with your diet – seriously, that’s fantastic!

      That being said, I never said to “eat low fat.” Ever. In fact, if you read the article you would have seen that I explicitly stated: “fat provides a myriad of health benefits, and some people actually experience greater satiety with high(er) fat diets.”

      Which leads me to my point: Everyone is different. Some people respond very well to high fat/low carb and others respond well to low fat/high carb.

      I am tolerant of all systems and methods, but I do not support dogmatic beliefs. I’m very happy to hear that you’re healthy, functioning, and seeing success – that’s great! But just because this method might not be the one you practice (for right now anyway) does not mean that it is inherently wrong.

      Thanks for contributing to the comments section, Chris. If you have any constructive ideas I’d love to hear them.


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  • Alan

    I’ve found that kava kava, the polynesian root is a good way of staying full at the end of the day. It’s super high in fibre and it gets you mildly euphoric so you don’t care about hunger. Extract into cold water for 5 minutes, massaging in a nylon bag then add some coconut milk to take the edge off the taste.

    The coconut oil in the milk also helps shed inches around the belly.

    • Jordan

      Thanks, Alan! I’ve actually never tried kava kava but I’ll definitely give it a shot now…especially considering it gets you mildly euphoric 🙂


  • Interesting list, thanks for sharing.

    I’ve written a similar post in the past (see link provided). We differ somewhat on just about everything except protein sources. Which just goes to show how individual these things can be. In the end we have to figure out what works personally.

    Here’s how my system breaks down according to the outline you used:

    lean fish & poultry (100% agree with you here)

    starchy carbs:
    NONE. I have to stay away from these, as they tend to cause cravings.

    blackberries & raspberries (high fiber & protein relative to other fruits)

    dark leafy greens (high fiber & protein)

    nuts, specifically almonds (higher fiber & protein than other fat sources)

    I keep carping on the fiber & protein in stuff because in terms of satiety, the big 4 are:
    1- protein
    2- fiber
    3- water (in the food, not drunk with it)
    4- fat

    You have to be careful with “zero calorie” condiments and such because each serving of those should be assumed to be 4 calories. FDA labeling says that if a serving is under 5 cal then it can be labeled “zero.” And yes that goes for Splenda packets, which are actually 3.5 calories each.

    Just my 2 cents. 🙂

    46, female, 5’7″, 150lbs, ~18-19% bf
    Keeping off 185+ lbs (<55% of my body weight)

  • Alda P.


    This helped me a lot, because I am on a diet right now and I could use some ‘boost’ on things, not to get so hungry all the time and ‘cheat’ my body.
    Thank you a lot for the advice!

    One more thing, What do you think about low fat milk? Is this good on a diet? For example for breakfast with some corn cereal or dessert with protein powder.

    Alda P.

    • Jordan

      Glad it helped, Alda!

      Low fat milk is perfectly fine! To be honest, if staying full is an issue I think you may want to replace your cereal with something more filling such as a protein source and veggies.

      However, if cereal and milk fills you up then by all means feel free to have it!


  • Willem

    If you eat a meal with a glass of water it will be less filling then if you throw that water in your meal and blend it into a thick soup. Veggie soups (with chicken of course ;)) en salads give me 2 hyooge and long filling meals each day without going crazy in calories. Add some dairy (yoghurt, quark) with some fibre and you have 3 meals already.

    • Jordan

      That’s a great idea, Willem! I never thought of blending it up like that – I’ll have to try it out.



  • Devon

    Have you considered making stove top popcorn? It’s very simple and since you actually put in the oil, much easier to control than pre-package microwaved stuff. Also, there are fewer chemicals. A heaping serving is about 140 calories (80 for the popcorn and 60 for a small amount of vegetable oil).

    • Michele

      Also think about making it without oil. It does work!

      • Jordan

        That’s an awesome idea and somehow it never even crossed my mind. I’ll do it!

        Thank you!


  • Matt

    Why does the chicken have to be so dry and chewy? That’s not helping anyone stay on the diet if it’s gross. Salt it half an hour before you cook it (other spices are good too, but you need salt and quite a bit), leave it on the counter so it’s closer to room temperature before it goes in the oven, spend $15 on a probe thermometer to make sure it doesn’t go over 150F then let it rest under foil for 5 minutes before consuming. Flavorful, moist, healthy chicken. Yes, you added salt, drink a glass of water and stop whining.

    • Jordan

      You’re right, it doesn’t have to be dry, chewy, and taste bad. You can absolutely cook it and make it a delicious meal.

      I will say, however, that if you’re in need of something very filling, dry/chewy chicken will be far more satiating than moist/savory chicken.


  • Thanks for this… I’ll be taking this list to the grocery store tonight!

    • Jordan

      Awesome! Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.


  • Djunia

    Popcorn in the microwave doesn’t have to be the horrible prepared stuff — just put popcorn kernels in a glass bowl and put something fireproof and soft (silicone trivet or pot holder works) on top and nuke for about 2-3 min (depending on the microwave). No chemicals, no fat, lots of fiber.

    Dropping carbs and wheat did nothing for my efforts, but dropping added sugar made a huge difference as did adding protein — getting older, it was getting a lot harder to work out to the extent I enjoy.

    • Jordan

      Yea I’m going to have to try the standard popcorn kernels on the stove top sometime.

      And that makes sense that decreasing sugar and increasing protein helped. Generally speaking those two things will increase satiety and help with diet adherence.


  • Ian

    Mung bean noodles are one of my favorite carbs to go to. They have a really low glycemic index. If you get the right one that are made only form mung bean noodles they are about 250 calories for a cup of dehydrated which normally my wife and I split one cup and make some killer stir frys. Be careful not to over cook them.

    • Jordan

      Thanks, Ian! I’ve never tried mung bean noodles but I just looked them up and they seem pretty cool. I’ll try them out for sure.


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  • Barton G

    I just wanted to say I found this article through a link but found it extremely useful, I’m 5 months post Bariatric Gastric Bypass Surgery, and many of your suggestions are helpful and also fall within the eating guidelines in the post op dietary plan. I appreciate your common sense approach and also including your personal views and thoughts on how food affects each of us. I plan on following your future articles with much interest. Thanks for your hard work.

    • Jordan


      Thank you for the kind words! I’m glad this article was helpful and informative 🙂

      If you need anything please don’t hesitate to ask!


  • Botzie

    Thanks so much for this thorough article. Especially the motivational parts at the end. I’ll have it later is definitely something i’ll be incorporating into my daily mindset. Also it helps that there is a variety of foods so enjoying different meals won’t be an issue. Trying to lose 100 pounds so this will be a great start along with the supplementary article about starting out and how to calculate caloric intake and working out.

    Thanks again, Keep up the good work

    • Jordan


      My pleasure! Glad you liked it 🙂

      The “I’ll have it later” trick is surprisingly effective – one of my go-to recommendations for many fat loss clients.

      Good luck with everything and if you ever have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask!


  • Zii

    This is exactly what I do! I also like to buy Kashi GoLean and Hi-Lo for the protein when i’m craving cereal. “Hood” also makes amazing dairy products! Like they have 2% chocolate milk with only 80 calories per cup and it tastes awesome! They also have a dairy drink (milk) with 35 calories per cup and 6 grams of protein! I love their products, have you ever tried any of them?

    • Jordan


      Thanks for the recommendations! I’m a big fan of Kashi as well – TOO GOOD!!!!

      I haven’t heard of Hi-Lo but their products sound great. I’ll have to check them out. Only 80 calories for 2% Choc Milk? This is spectacular news 🙂

  • Abi King

    Great tips! And sugar-free gum helps a LOT. particularly Extra brand, lasts a long time. <5 calories per stick.

    • Jordan

      Thanks Abi!

      Truth, gum is fantastic. Oftentimes just getting a random taste in your mouth is all you need.


  • Mary

    Excellent! I’ve got a bunch more for you:

    -Sugar-free pickle relish– uses artificial sweetener, but I think it’s not really noticeable. I know there’s a brand that also has sugar-free sweet (“bread and butter”) baby pickles, but I can’t remember the name right off.
    -Fiber One 80 calorie cereal– Each serving has something like 10 grams of fiber, so there’s only a net caloric value of 40 calories per 3/4 cup.
    -Bragg’s liquid aminos– kinda like soy sauce, zero calories.
    -Dried nori (seaweed) snacks– low calorie sea vegetable, used to make sushi but also come in flavored forms to eat as a snack. You can also find dried nori soup mixes that have something like 30 calories per serving.
    -Jerky or dried meats– especially if you have an asian market nearby, pick up some dried spicy cuttlefish… Super chewy, savory, and almost entirely protein.
    -Fat free feta cheese– most fat-free cheeses are full of fake carbs and taste awful, but i’ve found feta to be the exception since it has such a strong flavor.
    -Dried Textured vegetable protein– I like this stuff because it is cheap at natural food stores and has a nutritional profile that fits well with my food plan. It has kind of a bad reputation since some fast-food restaurants use it to “stretch” ground beef, and for some reason this gets people all agitated. It doesn’t taste like much, but it’s fat-free, high fiber and high protein, and I find it good in chili and high-protein muffins.

    And since popcorn has been a hot topic, I would suggest that anyone who eats a lot of popcorn get an air popper. They’re pretty cheap and allow you to make popcorn without adding any fat or salt, which of course you can add once the popcorn is popped if you still want it.

    • Jordan

      Wow – that was awesome!!!!

      Thank you for those suggestions, Mary! Very much appreciated 🙂


  • Steve

    Link seems to be working fine now. Brilliant article Jordan keep up the good work

  • Jessica was DeDona

    Why should the turkey be extra lean?

  • NatashaV

    Wow, this is one of the best, straigh-forward posts I have seen! This is exactly how I do it!

  • Nikki Knutt Rollier

    Great tips!

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  • Andrew Stone

    If you can find the Halo Top ice cream in stores somewhere, it tastes so much better than Arctic Zero and is only 240 calories per pint!!

    • Renay Levine Carver

      Calories are per serving (4) not per pint