Soup: A great way to fill up with less calories is to eat foods that are high in fiber and water.
Barbara Rolls, a researcher at Pennsylvania State University has shown that people are satisfied with far fewer calories when they eat foods that are high in water than foods than foods with little water. Examples: 1 cup of seedless grapes has about 105 calories; ¼ cup of raisins has 120 calories; which one is going to fill you up more.
In a study by Dr Rolls, people were given a “pre-lunch” appetizer of 270 calories chicken rice casserole alone, the same amount of casserole with an 8 ounces glass of water, or 270 calories of chicken rice soup made from the exact same ingredients as the casserole plus 8 ounces water, then they were served a buffet lunch. The people who ate the soup ate about 420 calories LESS than either of the other groups. This study shows that the water IN foods is more helpful at making you feel full than the water you drink with a meal: Reference this article.
You can help decrease your caloric intake by eating lots of fruits and vegetables, and eating soups for meals more often. Soups with a broth base are a better option than those with a cream base, as the cream will negate any calorie lowering effects of soup. Hearty soups and stews made with beans and veggies that soak up a lot of the water are as good as more watery soups.
Here is a recipe for a South of the Border soup made with chicken, black beans, corn and lots of veggies.
Makes 8 servings, each about 2 cups
2 tbsp olive oil
½ medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into small cubes
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 medium carrot, grated
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup frozen corn
1 can black beans (S & W Organic from Costco have only 85 mg sodium per serving)
2 cans No salt added Diced Tomatoes
2 cups Chicken Bone Broth (Pacific brand is low sodium and has more protein than regular chicken broth; regular, low salt chicken broth is fine)
2-4 tbsp lime juice
Optional: ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro or basil
2 tbsp mild chili powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
Optional: ½ tsp ground cardamom, ½ teaspoon ground coriander
Salt and pepper to taste (skip the salt if you have been told to keep your sodium intake low)
Directions: Heat the oil in a heavy pot; add the onions and garlic and sauté until soft and slightly browned. Add all the other vegetables except for the cilantro or basil. Add the chicken, sauté until browned. Add the beans, tomatoes and broth and spices. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, add the cilantro or basil and lime juice and serve.
Nutritional information per serving: 280 calories; 7 gm fat, 20 gm carbohydrate, 6 gm fiber, 32 gm protein, 225 mg sodium.
Top with a couple tablespoons grated extra sharp cheddar cheese (adds about 55 calories and 3 gm protein, no carbs)