Foods That Make You Feel Full

Foods That Make You Feel FullAt its core, the key to losing weight is to burn off more calories than you consume. This is virtually impossible to do while still staying healthy, so it’s important to choose what you eat more wisely. What you should do is make better choices, opting for foods that make you feel full longer rather than foods that give you a quick fix, leaving you hungry again shortly after.

What you should look for are foods that contain water, foods that are high in fiber, and foods that contain the good kinds of fat. In terms of foods that contain a lot of water, reach for citrus fruits and green vegetables. Fruits that are high in vitamin C, like a grapefruit for instance, will help your body process fat more quickly and help you feel satisfied longer. A grapefruit is a great way to start the day and will help carry you through to your mid-morning snack.

The great thing about green vegetables is that they’re high in fiber, contain a lot of water, and very few calories. Your body will actually burn off most of the calories in kale, spinach, or broccoli simply by digesting the vegetables. They also contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and will help you stay full without adding too many additional calories to your daily intake. Add some to your lunch and dinner while cutting down your portion sizes of other foods.

For snacks, skip over candy and chips no matter how hard it may be. Instead, look for popcorn and nuts. When prepared naturally, popcorn is a great snack because it’s tasty, low in calories and high in fiber. But try to avoid making it unhealthy by adding butter, cheese, or salt as a topping. Nuts like almonds and walnuts are a great snack food as well in their natural form, providing healthy fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Here are a few ideas to help you better plan your meals to help cut calories, reduce fat, and stay full longer:

Breakfast:

  • cottage cheese (mix with fruit or oatmeal)
  • eggs
  • grapefruit
  • oatmeal (natural, unsweetened preferrably)
  • whole grain toast

Lunch and Dinner:

  • grilled chicken
  • grilled or steamed fish (salmon, tuna)
  • soups (avoid creams, look for chicken or vegetable broth-based with lots of vegetables, low in sodium)
  • whole grain brown rice
  • whole grain pasta

Sides:

  • asparagus
  • beans
  • broccoli
  • carrots
  • spinach

Snacks:

  • apple (packed with fiber)
  • low-fat cheese
  • nuts (almonds, walnuts, peanuts)
  • popcorn (natural, unsalted, unbuttered preferably)
  • yogurt (low-fat)

Make Your Own Microwave Popcorn

Make Your Own Microwave PopcornYesterday I wrote about how bad microwave popcorn can be for you. It’s packed with chemicals that are not only unhealthy, they can actually lead to serious health problems as well. Not to mention the fact that when you do the math, you’re paying a considerable amount more per batch compared to buying just the kernels and making your own.

Of course it’s the convenience that you pay for when you buy microwave popcorn, but it is possible to make your own microwaveable bags that will save you both time and money. The next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up a bag of popcorn kernels and some standard brown lunch bags and you can make your own microwaveable popcorn bags at home at a fraction of the cost.

All you’ll need to do is take an empty brown paper bag, fill it with about a half a cup of popcorn kernels, and then fold the bag over a couple of times. Next, put it in your microwave and pop based on the time that it would take to pop a regular bag of microwave popcorn. For me, it’s two minutes and 30 seconds. Ensure that you don’t glue, tape, or staple the bag shut. Staples can lead to sparking and glue or tape can introduce unwanted chemicals into your food.

Voila! After two or three minutes, you’re left with natural popcorn made in your micrwave, no chemicals needed or wanted. Finish off the popcorn with a topping of your choice. I like to sprinkle on a bit of parmesean cheese and I’m good to go. It’s quick, easy, tasty, and so much healthier than the store-bought microwave popcorn. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Is Microwave Popcorn Bad for You?

Is Microwave Popcorn Bad for You?I used to eat a lot of microwave popcorn. I used to think that by choosing an unbuttered, unsalted version that I was making a healthy choice for a snack compared to a bag of chips or tortillas. Turns out that I was wrong. Not because popcorn itself is bad, but rather popcorn that you microwave is bad for you.

The bags that hold the popcorn we microwave are lined with something called perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA for short. When heated, this acid breaks down, which isn’t good when it’s in contact with your food. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency lists PFOA as a “likely carcinogen” and says that it’s likely to cause cancer in humans. Sounds like something that would be found in cigarettes, doesn’t it? It sure makes you wonder how food companies can get away with putting it in direct contact with our food, especially since many people eat microwave popcorn straight out of the bag.

But that’s not all! I mentioned that I would eat unbuttered microwave popcorn, but if you’re one of the many people who enjoy buttery, extra buttery, or movie theater-style popcorn, you could be in even more trouble. Diacetyl is the artificial compound used to give foods a buttery flavor. Like PFOA, when heated in the microwave, it can pose health problems to those who not only ingest it, but breathe that sweet buttery aroma from the bag as well.

Diacetyl has been known to cause a lung disease known as “popcorn lung” where the lungs become severely obstructed. After one man developed popcorn lung and sued three microwave popcorn manufacturers for millions of dollars, some companies have begun to label their popcorn to indicate that no diacetyl is present. While this is a small step forward, it’s still best to spend an extra few minutes and make popcorn the old fashioned way, either on the stove or via an air popper the next time you sit down to watch a movie.