Volume Foods for Healthy Weight

May 01, 2012

Ever considered eating more to loose weight? Well filling up on “volume” foods can help you do so, while improving the nutrient density of your diet

With so many different diet suggestions out there, have you ever considered eating more to lose weight? Well filling up on “volume” foods can help you do so, while improving the nutrient density of your diet. In fact you need not label this eating plan as a diet, but just a shift in eating habits, that will serve you well both inside and out!

A recent study from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds us that the nutrient/calorie density, or the amount of calories per bite of food, may make all the difference in helping shed some extra pounds.

Researcher Barbara Rolls, PhD, and her colleagues at Pennsylvania State University have done extensive research on the "volumetric" theory of eating. “We have found in numerous studies that when you allow people to eat as much as they want of foods that are high in volume yet low in density (calories), they eat less at the meal or during the day,” according to Rolls.

Volume foods can help you feel fuller faster, and provide the nutrient density (vitamins, minerals and other nutrients) to keep you healthy. High volume foods are those with a high water and fiber content, i.e. fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains. These foods are filling even though they contain fewer calories. If your diet is full of high volume foods, you'll feel satisfied after every meal.

For example, an apple about the size of your palm is a mere 75 calories; over 85 percent of its weight is from water and fiber –both zero calorie, it is considered a low-density food as it is low in calories per bite. Don’t forget apples are high in nutrition!

What are some other high volume foods?

A large salad with grilled chicken or baked fish on top.

Snack on cucumber, celery, carrots, jicama, and a juicy tomato, with hummus – all high volume, helping you stay fuller longer.

Fruit as a snack is also an option. Think watermelon, citrus fruits, berries, bananas, pears, melons and more. Fresh or frozen is most likely the best choice, as some canned fruit are often packed with sugary syrups that are loaded with calories. If you are choosing canned fruit, be sure to read labels.

Try a veggie soup which is low calories but nutrient dense. And if it's made with beans and diced vegetables, you'll get even more volume in your bowl; it will keep you full without the added calories coming from a cream based soup.

Not sure what to have as a side with your main dish? Have a side salad with lots of veggies – eat the salad and the veggies first and then your main, you may end of eating less calories overall after filling up on salad!

Adding a few “high volume foods” to your diet can help keep your appetite satisfied without increasing your caloric intake. Just remember to go easy on the creamy salad dressings, and other toppings that can add more calories than you think. Stick with whole foods in their original form to get the best out every meal.