Bottom line: the only way to lose weight is to establish a calorie deficit. This means that if you’re trying to lose weight, you must establish a low calorie meal plan, or at least a meal plan that contains less calories than your current caloric intake. Establishing this calorie deficit may, however, trigger some not-so-comfortable feelings, like hunger. So what if we want to lose weight, but avoid those debilitating hunger pains? Tactics like “volumetrics,” or eating higher-density foods, can help you eat more but weigh less. Keep these low calorie meal plans and density tips in mind if you’re trying to lose a few.
Volumetric Low Calorie Meal Plans
Volumetric dieting is based on the idea that people like to eat, a universal truth as we all can attest to. People tend to eat the same amount of food per day, whether the foods they choose are calorie-rich or not. Volumetrics is all about getting more mileage out of what you eat. Therefore, according to this philosophy, the best way to lose weight is to eat healthy foods that provide low energy but high volume. With these low-calorie foods, you feel full without filling yourself with high amounts of calories. For example, fruits and veggies have a small amount of calories, but they are very high in density, making them great choices for any diet. Raisins, however, pack a high amount of calories into a tiny package–about 1/4 raisins has about 100 calories. Grapes, unlike raisins, have the same number of calories for an entire cup, making them a better choice if following the volumetric diet.
Other foods that fill you up may include fruits, vegetables, soups, popcorn, puffed rice, egg whites, shrimp, and chicken. Plan your meals around volumetric philosophy by filling half a plate of veggies, one quarter with whole grains, then a small serving of lean protein. A great volumetric meal is anything with fibrous veggies, like a lentil bean soup, which will leave you feeling full and satisfied, or a grilled chicken salad with lots of greens. These meals will not only make you feel fuller because of their high volume, but they’ll also make you chew more, which will send signals to your brain to stop eating sooner. This chewing fact has been confirmed by researchers at Reuters, who found that chewing food 40 times instead of a typical 15 times caused study participants to eat nearly 12 percent fewer calories. Another mind trick? Use smaller plates and spoons! Brian Wansink, a food psychology professor at Cornell University said, “We eat with our eyes, not with our stomach” after performing a study that showed that people tend to eat 25% more when using a bigger plate.
In short, volumetrics and the volumetric ideology can greatly aid anyone’s weight loss goals. Next time you’re trying to create a low calorie meal plan, make sure to plan meals that are high volume and low calorie for great results.