Adding Volume (and Nutrients!) to Your Meals

Dieting and eating right can be hard, especially if you are left unsatisfied and hungry right after eating! Too often this is because we decide to "treat" ourselves to just a half-serving of something indulgent, all in the name of moderation. But who are we kidding? Three bites of mac-and-cheese and a spoonful of ice cream is not going to be satisfying or filling!

To help with this, I have compiled a few tips and tricks to not only help you add volume to these meals, but nutrients as well! You can still treat yourself while remaining on your diet AND being full and satisfied afterwards. 

1. Add Veggies to EVERYTHING

This may not sound like the most appetizing thing to add to most of your "indulgences", but trust me, it works! Adding veggies to pasta for example is a great way to add vitamins, minerals, volume and fiber that will help keep you fuller longer.

Try these:

  • Add equal parts spaghetti squash or zucchini "noodles" to pasta 
  • Add pureed squash to your mac-and-cheese sauce
  • Use equal parts cauliflower and potato for mashed "faux-tatoes"
  • Add shredded zucchini to your morning oatmeal, you won't even notice!
  • Make stir-frys with all sorts of yummy veggies!
  • Eat vegetable soups & salads before your main meal

2. More Water = More Filling

I know what you're thinking, "Water doesn't fill me up! I want to eat food, not fill up on water!" I'm not suggesting you simply drink more water to keep hunger at bay (although that does work too), but rather choose foods that have a higher water content. Think about it: which is more filling - a fresh apple or dried apple chips? The fresh apple, right? This is because it has more water and more volume!  It takes longer to eat and has more fiber than it's dried counterpart, leaving you much more satisfied for the same (or even less) calories.


Try these:

  • Snack on fresh fruits and veggies over their cooked and/or dried brethren
  • Add fresh berries to your bowl of ice cream/yogurt
  • Eat broth-based soups rather than creamy
  • Cook your oatmeal in 1 1/2 time the amount of liquid (it'll absorb the water and make a bigger bowl of oats!)

3. Air Fills You Up Too!

No, I'm not suggesting you breathe more to fight off hunger. Although that would be a trick! Just like the water, I'm suggesting you eat more "airy foods". Think popcorn, puffed rice cereal, freeze dried fruits, rice cakes etc. These foods provide much more volume per serving which means they take you longer to eat and fill you up. Not to mention, foods like (plain) popcorn have a good amount of fiber in them as well to help keep you satisfied.

I hope these ideas were helpful and you give some of them a try! It just goes to show that you don't have to feel starved when you eat right. You can still treat yourself on occasion, stick to your diet AND be satisfied. You might just have to get a little creative ;)

~ Mandy