Volume Eating – Part 3

Back on this post, I asked for input on what you wanted to hear more about. One comment was for more on the volume eating principle. That is one of my favorite topics! Click here and here for my previous posts on the topic.

I really feel that one of the biggest “dieting” myths is that you have to feel hungry in order to lose weight. If you are eating smart, you won’t be hungry. If you eat smart, you actually get to eat more. More calories? No, more volume.
Fruits, vegetables, legumes and cooked grains (cooked since they absorb more water) are the best choices because they supply you with water and fiber while spending very little calories. Low volume / high calorie foods such as butter, high fat meats, fried foods, cheese, etc…have less water and more fat. Fat actually has twice as many calories as either carbohydrates or protein for the same weight. Choosing foods high in water and fiber and low in calories allow you to enjoy larger and more satisfying portions. In one study, women who replaced high calorie, low volume foods with low calorie, high volume foods ate 800 fewer calories a day and NEVER MISSED THEM, even with a 25% decrease in total portion size!
In a study (conducted at Penn State) published recently in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that study participants who ate a large (3-cup) salad before a meal felt more satisfied and ate 8% fewer calories than the control group without the salad before the meal. Now don’t think the salad was a little lettuce with croutons, bacon bits, cheese and ranch dressing. You may find that you eat less when you start your meal with a broth based soup or large (vegetable!) salad.
So what are other ways to increase volume without adding calories?
  • Choose whole grains whenever possible. There is much more fiber and water in whole grains compared to their refined counterparts. Opt for whole grain bread, whole wheat pastas, brown rice, corn or whole wheat tortillas, whole grain crackers, oatmeal, etc.
  • Add veggies to everything! Put them in soups, casseroles, eggs, stews, pizzas and pasta dishes. This will increase the volume tremendously while decreasing the calories per portion.
  • Add fruit to salads! They make them more colorful, more flavorful and more voluminous.
  • Choose beans over meats every once in a while. They have much more fiber and water per serving as well as being a good source of protein and iron without the saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Replace your afternoon snack with fruits and vegetables. Don’t worry about the portion, just watch for how the water and fiber will work to keep you full.
  • Add a fruit to your breakfast meal if you are not currently doing so. It not only adds bulk to the meal but it will also give you added nutrition.
  • Try to eat at least one vegetable with each lunch and dinner meal. Again, add bulk without calories!
The main reason why “dieting” fails is that you rarely are eating enough which leaves you unsatisfied and hungry. No one wants to live like that! Eating satisfying portions (read larger) of low calorie foods can make it easier to feel full and satisfied. You won’t feel like you are on a “diet”, you won’t feel like you have to go hungry. It can work wonders in keeping you on the right track to weight loss.

Don’t forget to balance your meals with adequate protein and fat as well. Remember the 50/25/25 rule: 50% of your plate should be fruits and vegetables, 25% a lean protein, and 25% a whole grain. Perfect for the volume eater!

Emily Fonnesbeck RD,CD