Oh dieting, how I hate thee. Or at least, how I used to hate thee.

The dieting of days gone by was all about restriction. Eat less. Don’t snack. No nibbling.

Thankfully, times have changed. Dieting isn’t about starving yourself or eating tiny meals. Now it’s all about what you eat.

The reason I sucked at dieting is because I’m a person who needs to feel full. It’s all well and good me eating a meal which looks great and tastes delicious, but if I’m hungry a few minutes later, you can be sure I’m dissatisfied.

Modern dieting and healthy eating is changing the game on that front. Now those of us trying to eat well aren’t stuck eating baby-sized portions, but can eat our fill, as long as it’s the good stuff.

So how does it work?

The trick is to go for foods that are a) harder for your body to break down and digest, and b) light on the calories. There are a surprising number of these types of foods.

Celery for example, is rich in dietary fiber, which is harder for the body to digest (so you’re fuller for longer), has that nice satisfying crunch to it, and is mainly water, so you can eat about 100 grams of it, and it will only set you back 16 calories, while still giving you 1.6 grams of fiber to keep your stomach busy.

Cucumber is similar; at only 16 calories, you’ll get around 3% of your daily dietary fiber intake, and stay hydrated.

Other foods which are higher in calories but will keep you fuller for longer (because we can’t survive on water alone), are broccoli (34 cal per 100 grams), cauliflower (25 cal per 100 grams), and carrots (41 cal per 100 grams).

One quick tip though: go for foods that are naturally low in calories. Foods that have had calories removed; things like 99 calorie yogurt, or low-fat options, typically have added something else for flavor, and it’s usually not something that’s nutritionally beneficial. Figuring out how to add more substance to your meals without bulking up too much on calories is the key to losing weight without going hungry.

What are your favorite low calorie foods?

Femi A-Williams is a health and fitness convert trying to reconcile a healthy lifestyle and a happy food life. She is 80% whole grain and 20% donut.

All posts by Femi A-Williams