When we hear the word “diet” many people tend to think of drastically lowering calories, and the need to munch on lettuce leaves and cucumber in a salad every day, with very little substance. This is why eating salads usually have you feeling hungry as quickly as 30 minutes after, because oftentimes, they just have lettuce, cucumber and tomato if you’re lucky. Gosh, I actually hate salads, because so very little thought goes into them sometimes. Or does this only happen where I live? Hmm!
If you love filling but healthy foods, like me, you might enjoy incorporating these foods into your regular day to day diet. If you don’t know how to cook them, come back to my website often or join my mailing list, where I’ll be uploading new recipes in the new year.
In no particular order of preference, the below are 10 of my favourite healthy, delicious and satiating foods.
There are about 33 calories in 100g of okra, yet it is very satiating, due to its high dietary fibre content. Fibre helps your digestive system to function better, thus easing constipation issues. Okra is a diuretic, which helps with water retention. And among other things, okra feeds the good bacteria in your gut, therefore boosting your immune system to help fight against viruses and infections.
Depending on the way it is cooked, okra can have a slimy texture. So if you love snails, you’ll have no problems with okra. Hehe. But if you’re like me and you’d prefer to avoid the slime, they’re best when oven-baked. Besides, I’m sometimes lazy when it comes to cooking anyway, so I bang any and everything in the oven. No shame in my game!
This is my “go to” veggie, which I eat as often as twice a week. It’s so easy to prepare. And you can even have it as a healthy snack. Just wash some fresh broccoli, sprinkle with salt to taste (I use pink salt), toss ‘em in a bowl, add a tablespoon of olive or coconut oil, cover and cook in the microwave for 4-5 minutes, depending on how crunchy you’d like them. And voilà! Btw, you can never eat too much broccoli, in my opinion. So just eat until your spirit guides say, “that’s enough, dear!” 🙂
Cabbage is high in Vitamin C, full of nutrients, helps to lower blood pressure, reduces inflammation in your body, among other benefits. If you’ve only ever had a few slivers in a salad, try it cooked.
I prefer cooked cabbage, since you get to eat more of it and I find it goes down easier. Spice it up by adding your favourite herbs, along with onion and garlic. You can toss it with some olive oil and bake in the oven, add to a stir fry, or simply steam it for a few short minutes.
High in folic acid, potassium, Vitamins A, C and K, asparagus is a powerhouse vegetable. If you “accidentally” over indulge on a dinner out and you want to beat the bloat the next day, this is a good one to include. It contains a lot of soluble and insoluble fibre, which the body digests slowly, which means that you stay fuller for longer. That’s why it’s such a popular weight loss food – having asparagus reduces your chances of snacking between meals.
Celery juice is all the craze in the weight loss and detox world. And while it’s not my most favourite on this list (taste-wise), I had to include it here. It’s one of those veggies that you either love or hate, but I’m somewhere in the middle. 🙂 Celery is a very convenient snack. You can eat it raw, and/or use as a dipper with some hummus (preferrably home-made). You can run it through your juicer for a great energy booster drink. You can also add it to your soups and veggie purées. Celery is great for balancing hormones, reducing inflammation in the body, and regulating blood sugar levels. It is also said to alleviate skin problems such as acne, psoriasis and eczema.
Of all the foods listed here, avocado is the highest in calories, due to its fat content. But don’t be alarmed – this is the good stuff! You do know that there are “good fats” and “bad fats” right? We’ll go into that in another blog post. However, it’s generally OK to have a small avocado in your daily diet if everything else you eat is reasonably low fat. But remember that one size doesn’t fit all.
Avocados are good for heart health and are high in beta-carotene and antioxidants, which are beneficial for your eyes, including your night vision. They are anti-inflammatory, great for your skin and improve digestion. Why not throw a piece in a fruit and veggie smoothie or add as a side dish? Yummy!
You could literally make a meal out of mushrooms – just pile them on your plate. Did you know that they also contain protein? I sometimes substitute mushrooms for meat, since I’m not a big meat eater. A plate of oyster, button or shiitake mushrooms sauteéd, with some cooked quinoa or brown rice will keep you full for ages. Besides, they’re so easy to prepare. If you want to save time, buy those that have already been cleaned and sliced, and ready to be thrown in a pan or, you guessed it, in the oven. They are good for bone health and full of antioxidants, which can help to prevent cancer.
Carrots are so versatile. Have you met anyone who doesn’t love them? They can be eaten raw, as a snack, added to smoothies, baked, fried, steamed, juiced, you name it! They are good for your eyes and skin, fight cholesterol, boost heart health, lowers your blood pressure, and can even satisfy a sweet craving. Yup! Basically, you can hardly go wrong with carrots.
Quinoa is high in magnesium and contains an amino acid called lysine, which is a key component in tissue growth and repair. It contains iron, which helps to keep our red blood cells healthy. It’s also high in protein and fibre, which makes it very popular as a healthy, weight loss food. It’s a great substitute for white rice, as it’s lower in carbohydrates and packed with nutrients.
10. Chick peas (garbanzo beans)
Mmmm! I might have saved the best for last. Did someone say curried chick peas? This is my favourite way to have garbanzo beans. It’s so delicious and filling. I sometimes throw some mixed veggies or chopped red/green peppers (along with coconut milk, which I would put in everything if I could) in mine to give it extra umph!
One cup of chick peas has around 35 grams of carbohydrates (the good carbs) and 10 grams of protein. They regulate your blood sugar, they’re high in fibre, which protects against colon cancer and B Vitamins, which are said to be protective against breast and lung cancer.
Some people are intolerant to certain legumes, including chick peas. If you find that it makes you gassy, you could try adding some turmeric, which helps to fight against bloating and gas.
If you’d like to see how I prepare my curried chick peas, scroll down to watch the video.