5 healthy foods to keep you feeling full longer

By Alistair Gardiner
Published February 19, 2021

Key Takeaways

For anyone trying to lose weight, eating the right foods in moderate quantities is key. And that can be far easier with satiating foods—as long as those filling foods are healthy.

According to the CDC, the best way to stay full and avoid over-consumption is to aim for low-energy-dense foods—such as fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and lean proteins, to name a few. These foods will make you feel more full while consuming fewer calories. 

There are three key factors that characterize these kinds of foods: water volume, fiber, and fat. Fruits like watermelon and apples, or veggies like spinach and carrots, tend to have a high water volume, so you can eat a lot of them while keeping calorie intake low. These kinds of foods, along with whole grains, are high in fiber, which means they take longer to digest and can leave you feeling fuller for longer. On the other hand, foods with a lot of fat are high-energy-dense foods, which can leave you wanting more. 

Here are five foods that are not only packed with beneficial nutrients, but will leave you feeling satiated.


While all fruits and vegetables boost a high degree of satiation, evidence suggests that avocados are particularly suited to keeping us fuller longer. A single fresh Hass avocado is made up of roughly 72% water and contains about 13 grams of monounsaturated fats and 10 grams of fiber.  

A study published in Nutrients looked at the effects of replacing carbohydrates in a meal with avocado-derived fats and fibers by assessing satiation during a 6-hour period after eating, using a cohort of 31 participants. Through surveys and measurements of certain hormones related to appetite in blood, researchers found that those whose meals included a whole or half an avocado experienced significant hunger suppression compared to the controls. Ignore the jokes about millennials and their avocado toast; this fruit could be the key to feeling fuller for longer. 


For years, studies have shown that various tree nuts—like peanuts and pistachios—have high satiety values. Some research has focused on specific nuts, and recent evidence suggests that almonds are particularly effective as a filling healthy snack. 

Almonds are high in protein, fiber and fat, and low in available carbohydrate and digestible energy. This profile, along with its macronutrient composition, gives almonds the upper hand when it comes to controlling hunger and providing energy.

Another 2019 study published in Nutrients tested the almond hypothesis by using a cohort of 42 participants who consumed a fixed breakfast and then a mid-morning snack of either almonds, crackers, or water. The researchers observed no difference in energy intake over a 24-hour period, but the group that snacked on almonds reported an overall lower hunger rating. The researchers also noted that the almond group exhibited a suppressed hedonic preference for consuming high-fat foods, and concluded that raw almonds are more effective for controlling appetite in comparison to an alternative snack with the same energy levels.

Fava beans

Beans and pulses are another great low-energy-dense food source. Health experts tout them for their high levels of protein and fiber, low levels of fats and calories, and their satiating capabilities. While there’s a variety of options to choose from, a recent study suggests that you should consider introducing the fava bean into your diet. 

The study, published in Food and Function, looked at the impact of fava bean-fortified pasta on a range of health outcomes. Researchers analyzed a cohort of 54 young individuals, some of whom were given regular meals of pasta made with whole fava beans, fava bean starch concentrate, and fava bean protein. They found that the fava bean-fortified pasta reduced appetite and resulted in increased protein intake. 

More recent research, published in Food Chemistry in early 2021, produced similar findings. The authors observed that fava bean-fortified pasta had increased protein and dietary fiber that beneficially influenced food intake and satiety, in comparison to ordinary pasta.

Whole grains

Grains are made up of three parts—the bran, the germ, and the endosperm—each of which contains different elements. The bran is a rich source of fiber; the germ contains antioxidants, and B and E vitamins; the endosperm (the largest part of the grain) contains complex carbohydrates and protein. The reason refined grains are less nutrient-dense is that the germ and bran portions are removed, leaving only the endosperm. This is also why whole grains (as opposed to refined grains) are better at leaving us feeling full. 

A study published in Nutrients in January 2021 indicated that taking rice-germ dietary supplements can lead to a number of positive health outcomes, including increased satiety. The study measured the effectiveness of these supplements for obesity in menopause using a cohort of 27 women over the course of four weeks. They found that, not only did the supplement have beneficial impacts on body composition and protein intake, it also increased satiety in comparison to the placebo group. 

Likewise, a review published this month in Advances in Nutrition focused on the impact of whole grain intake on appetite and energy intake. After analyzing 32 studies, the authors found that whole grain foods had a significant appetite-suppressing effect compared with refined grains, which may explain the inverse association between whole grain intake and obesity.


Yogurt is a nutritional powerhouse and can be a key part of a healthy diet. It contains probiotics, as well as protein, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B12, and various fatty acids. Yogurt can also boost feelings of satiety (as long as you stick varieties with no added sugar).

Several studies have provided evidence for yogurt’s satiety capabilities, including a review published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. The researchers examined plain yogurt as a possible therapeutic food for metabolic syndrome, and looked at various health impacts. Among the observations made by the authors, it was noted that including yogurt in your diet reduces energy intake by stimulating satiety. 

Share with emailShare to FacebookShare to LinkedInShare to Twitter