USDA Calorie Cutting Tips

Team 'Em Up: Fiber and Water

There's no doubt about it: High-fiber food helps you feel fuller longer. It passes through the digestive tract more slowly than starch, which digests in a matter of minutes. Your hunger is more easily satisfied when the foods you eat are full of fiber. Team fiber up with fluids to make it expand in your stomach.

As your stomach stretches, it sends a signal of fullness to your brain and you stop eating (if you're listening, that is!). Fluids alone can also expand your stomach, triggering the "full" signal. Make sure water is one of your main fluids. It helps transport the nutrients you need to metabolize fat, as well as carry away unneeded by-products of the fat breakdown process. The standard recommendation of 6 to 8 cups of water per day will serve your weight-loss regimen well.

Here are some other fiber and water consumption tips:

  • Drink 1 cup of water about 30 minutes before a meal to help expand your stomach and help you feel full on less food.
  • Serve broth-based soups (not cream-based soups) often. The liquid helps you feel full.
  • Keep whole-grain crackers, such as Triscuit and Rye Crisp, on hand. A few crackers and a glass of water will satisfy your hunger between meals.
  • Fruits and vegetables are naturally high in water as well as fiber. If you base your eating pattern on fruits and veggies, you'll get both fiber and water in one package!
  • Create vegetable snack bags that have a variety of colorful veggies. Use washed and cut broccoli, red bell peppers, baby carrots, and some white cauliflower -- or whatever veggies you like. Toss in some unusual ones to add interest and variety. Grab a bag and add it to your lunch, or use it for snacks.
  • Be sure to include at least one high-fiber food at every meal or snack.
  • Avoid drinking more than about 1 cup of water with your meal, so that digestive juices aren't overly diluted.
  • Drink lots of water between meals. Keep water bottles placed strategically around the house or yard so you can see them and remember to drink. Also keep water bottles in the car so you can quench your thirst without spending money or expanding your waistline on sugary beverages.
  • Feel like nibbling? Drink a big glass of water or other nonsweetened beverage instead.

Don't think we're done discussing calorie-cutting tips! The next section will introduce even more ideas, including grazing throughout the day and fighting that ever-present tempation to eat junk food!