Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Filling foods

I have issues with weight. And no, I haven't joined Overeaters Anonymous, I'm just facing reality. And with those issues have come sessions of uncontrollable eating -- when nothing I eat seems satisfying. A few hours later I am ravenous, because I ate junk, which might have tasted terrific but lacks any staying power.

Last night's Weight Watchers discussion was about filling foods -- the foods that will keep you satisfied for hours. Filling foods are great sources of protein, or they are packed with water, fiber and sometimes air. Here's the list:
* Whole-grain pasta, brown rice, potatoes and grains;
* Fruits and vegetables;
* Whole-grain cereals, without added sugar, nuts or dried fruit;
* Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes and meat substitutes;
* Fat-free dairy and dairy substitutes;
* Soups made with filing foods.

To demonstrate, my ever-resourceful WW leader, Karen, -- who loves props -- held up a 2-inch brownie, which is equal to 5 WW POINTS. (Each member is allowed so many POINTS a day, determined by weight, age and activity level.) For most people, 5 POINTS takes quite a chunk out of their daily POINTS total.

Then she held up a basket of fruit: a banana, two apples and an orange, all equal to 5 POINTS. And yes, Karen recognized that sometimes our brain needs that brownie to keep us on track with our diet, but most days, if we choose the basket of fruit, we will fill full, in control, and stay on the eating plan.

I also learned one interesting fact, which WW calls "Energy Density." We tend to eat the same volume of food each day, and by filling our stomachs with this amount of food, we avoid feeling hungry.

Bottom line: Weight loss is all about paying attention. To feel satisfied, eat foods that are high in volume, and oh by the way, you'll lose weight since you are automatically cutting calories.

I shared my favorite snack with the group last night, the one I have on my hour trip home from work. I spread celery ribs with 3 wedges of low-fat Laughing Cow cheese, which keeps me sated for hours. And now I understand why: You can never eat enough celery, the ultimate filling food since it's so low in calories, that just using your jaw to pulverize the strings burns up those calories. And 3 wedges of Laughing Cow light cheese are only 2 POINTS, which fits into my eating plan perfectly.

The following recipe is from Weight Watchers, and one I've been using for years, except I substitute lemon juice for the lime juice. For me, it just perks it up a tad more. Either way, it is satisfying. Serve it with a whole-grain pita for a filling lunch or snack. Or, spread it on a celery rib. OK, I love celery, but this combo really tastes terrific.

1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
2 Tblsp. red onion, chopped
2 Tblsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tblsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1/4 tsp. salt, or more to taste

* Put avocado in a medium bowl and mash with a fork until almost smooth.
* Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined.
* Cover surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to one day.

1 comment:

  1. I have the same problem. Some experts believe that lack of sleep (another problem I've had for ages) releases a hormone that triggers hunger. HELP!