A low-calorie diet can be a successful weight-loss strategy, because losing weight requires you to consume fewer calories than you expend. Limiting your food intake to cut calories, however, can leave you feeling hungry. Reduce your hunger by choosing high-fiber, high-protein foods. Keep in mind that a balanced diet, which includes some healthy fats, is best for long-term weight control and health.
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Go for Vegetables
Vegetables are the lowest-calorie food group and the foundation of a nutritious low-calorie diet. Their high water content and dietary fiber makes them filling options. Green salads for a main course or on the side can fill you up without providing many calories. Raw vegetables with low-calorie dips are filling snacks and portable lunch options. Cooked vegetables in scrambled eggs, an omelet or a breakfast burrito at breakfast, or in casseroles, sauces and stews at dinner, can make your meal bigger without adding many calories, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Reach for Fruit
Most fruit is low-calorie and high-fiber. Keep a bowl of ready-to-eat fruit on the counter or the refrigerator so that you reach for fruit instead of high-calorie snacks, such as cookies or chips. Include fruit in a meal to reduce your calories from other sources. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests serving yourself less cereal and filling your bowl instead with fruit, which is lower-calorie. Stewed apples or pears with cinnamon, fresh fruit salad, and grilled peaches with orange juice and ginger are ideas for desserts that are lower in calories and higher in fiber than cakes and pies.
Fat-Free Yogurt Ideas
Fat-free yogurt is a source of high quality protein, which is a hunger-suppressing nutrient that delays food from emptying from your stomach so you feel full for longer after a meal. Greek yogurt is higher in protein than regular yogurt, and it has a thicker, creamier texture. Choose plain yogurt instead of flavored yogurt sweetened with sugar, which has extra calories and no extra nutrients. Yogurt with fruit and oatmeal can be a nutritious, low-calorie breakfast or snack. Eat it plain or use it as a dip for vegetables.
Beans, Peas and Lentils
Cooked legumes -- beans, peas and lentils -- are nutritious and low-calorie. A half cup of legumes provides 100 to 130 calories; 7 to 9 grams of protein; and 4 to 7 grams of dietary fiber. They are sources of iron, zinc, potassium and folate. Feature beans as protein sources in vegetarian dishes, such as burritos, salads with beans and bean burgers. Lentil and pea soups are filling meals that can be low-calorie. Add vegetables -- such as celery, kale and onions -- to make them higher in fiber and more filling, but not much higher in calories.