Ask Keri: When I fill most of my plate with veggies, I end up hungry right after I eat. Which are the most filling vegetables?
Keri says: I hear you. If you’re subsisting on mostly produce, it can be hard to stay satisfied. Let me share a few pieces of advice before we get to the most filling vegetables.
First, the great thing about eating tons of vegetables is you really can eat tons of vegetables. OK, I’m exaggerating, but you should get used to the fact that servings of veggies are always going to be larger than portion sizes for other food groups like meat, dairy, and grains, which all require some restraint. In other words, if you’re eating kale and you want more kale, just eat more kale and please don’t beat yourself up about it.
Next, while vegetables should make up the bulk of your diet, you’re never going to feel satisfied if you’re not getting protein at every meal. Shift your habits towards filling most of the plate with greens, but don’t forget to fill the space left with high-quality protein—whether that means grass-fed steak, wild salmon, or beans and grains—and good fats.
All that being said, some veggies—namely those that contain lots of fiber and water—do fill you up more than others. Here’s my go-to list of filling veggies.
The 10 Most Filling Vegetables
Artichokes are one of my favorite foods of all time (they’re the starring snack in my O2 Diet cleanse!). They’re water-rich and just one artichoke contains more than 10 grams of fiber. Bonus: Not only will they fill you up, they’ll also protect your skin.
In the nutrition department, broccoli shines. It is super fibrous and more than 90% water, so you can expect to feel satisfied after a few florets (OK, maybe more than a few). It also contains compounds that reduce heart disease and cancer risk and prevent inflammation, so it makes sense to give it regular rotation in your diet.
Peas are high in both fiber and water and provide a surprising amount of protein (8 grams per cup) compared to other produce., This is why you’ve likely seen packaged products and powders made with extracted pea protein. They’re also a great source of vitamins A, K and C, as well as thiamine, folate and manganese. What a powerhouse!
Carrots are rich in fiber and come with a sweet, satisfying crunch if you snack on them raw. Plus, they’re perfect for dipping into a protein-rich dip like hummus or Greek yogurt. The beta carotene in carrots helps boost eye health and its antioxidants help protect your heart. They’re also a great source of potassium and vitamin K.
5. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are starchy and fiber-rich, as long as you keep the skin on (since that’s where a lot of the nutrient magic is stored). Plus, they’re filled with powerful antioxidants called carotenoids, which come with all kinds of health benefits.
The rich pink hue in beets comes from a group of health-promoting antioxidants called betalains. Rich in vitamins and minerals, beets also contain a high concentration of dietary nitrates. These compounds convert to nitric oxide in the body, which dilates blood vessels. This helps to lower your blood pressure, amp up your oxygen intake, and consequently reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke.
7. Brussels sprouts
These cruciferous veggies are low in calories but high in the good stuff—fiber, vitamins and minerals. They’re also extra rich in vitamin K, which is crucial for bone health and blood clotting. Read up on the health benefits of vitamin K here.
Cauliflower, another yummy veggie in the cruciferous family, is high in fiber and water content helping keep you full and regular. It also contains bioactive compounds that reduce inflammation and lower your risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Cauliflower’s health benefits don’t stop there. It’s also rich in sulforaphane, a potent antioxidant linked to a lower risk of developing certain cancers, including breast, melanoma, prostate and colon. Cauliflower is also a great source of vitamin K, with all the benefits mentioned above.
RELATED: The Health Benefits of Cauliflower
Asparagus is high in glutathione, an antioxidant that plays a major role in protecting your body against damaging free radicals and boosting your immune system. It’s also a great source of folate and vitamins like A, C and K. Asparagus contains compounds that act like probiotics, helping with digestion and preventing bloat. To get all the health benefits of asparagus, try eating it raw or drizzle it with a little avocado oil to add some healthy fats.
Celery is low in calories (just 15 for 2 medium stalks) yet high in vitamins K and A, folate and potassium. It also contains loads of phytonutrients with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers, like luteolin and quercetin. Just beware of all the miracle claims circling around celery on social media. It’s a filling and healthy addition to your diet, but it may not live up to all its hype.
Bottom line: Adding any of these veggies to your plate will fill you up while boosting your health quotient.