Registered Dietitian Suzanne Farrell from Cherry Creek Nutrition shows us some healthy and filling foods.
Bananas are still on shaky grounds and many people still pass on them, thinking that they are too high in carbs. As I said over 10 years ago, when the Atkins craze was at a peak, "the banana didn't make you fat." Not all carbs are created equally and eating a whole banana for a snack is certainly not the same as eating a cookie. Believe it or not, our bodies actually need carbs and are a primary source of fuel for muscles and the brain. For a real shocker, they can even help in weight loss. Bananas contain a type of fiber called resistant starch.
What is Resistant Starch?
Basically, resistant starch (RS) resists digestion, and does not get absorbed or broken down in the small intestine, likes most carbs. Instead, it gets fermented in the large intestine and produces beneficial fatty acids, that act as a prebiotic, feeding healthy bacteria in the gut, increase satiety of the food and improve blood sugar control.
Yes, that's right- and not just sweet potatoes. White potatoes are also a source of resistant starch and contrary to the word on the street, are not linked to weight gain. Just don't bury it in butter and sour cream, and pair it with a protein such as chicken, lean beef, fish or beans for a more balanced blood sugar reaction.
This is another food I've had many patients tell me they avoid because they thought it was just another carb, void of any nutrition. On the contrary, it is source of fiber, RS, and water, which makes it filling. It also contains the phytochemicals lutein and zeaxanthin which helps promote healthy vision.
Seaweed may not be the first food that comes to mind when feeling hungry but keep your eyes peeled for it in the grocery store, as it contains protein and fiber, which makes it a satisfying and very nutritious snack. Dried seaweed is a great alternative to snacking on chips when needing a good crunch, and is much lower in calories. It's available dried, such as in GimMe Seaweed snacks or nori for making wraps, or a fresh seaweed salad. It is also a source of many vitamins and minerals, including iodine, which is important for thyroid health and hormone regulation.
Whole Grain Bread
Can you believe I said bread?! The word on the street is to just cut out all bread and you'll lose weight. As with many very general diet rules this advice isn't fair to whole grains. According to the Dietary Guidelines report, which examines how we actually eat, Americans way over consume refined grains a.k.a white bread, and significantly under consume whole grains. So the real message should not be about avoiding, rather, doing a better job of balancing between the two. Bottom line: eat less refined grains and swap them for whole. Whole grain bread is rich in fiber and is filling.
Whole Wheat Pasta
Whole wheat pasta (another source of whole grains) is also rich in protein, fiber and resistant starch. Top it with some veggies or lean protein and enjoy! Trouble controlling portions? Serve it on a smaller plate or along side 50% of the plate as veggies.
Full Fat Milk & Full Fat Greek Yogurt
Studies have more recently shown that full fat dairy isn't as bad as once thought. This is not to say, especially at this point, when more research needs to be done, that it's "better" than lower fat varieties. Research published in the journal Circulation showed that consumption of full fat dairy reduced risk of type II diabetes. Another study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that it also reduced risk of obesity. Calories found in higher fat dairy are accompanied by protein, calcium and vitamin D so this supports the benefits of choosing foods based on the company they keep. The fat and protein in it make it more satisfying and long lasting. This is not to promote going out and guzzling copious amounts of full fat milk, rather, taking it off of any "bad" foods list and include it as an option in the diet.