As much as you love your greens, sometimes you may not feel full just eating leafy vegetables and fruit alone. You may get hungry again after an hour or so, and this hunger may lead you to fill up on  “junk,” especially if you don’t have healthy food easily accessible during that time.

Before you throw in the towel and go back to eating animal protein, you need to know that you can stay satiated (and lean) on a plant-based diet. You just need to know what types of plants to add.

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A plant-based diet does not mean you need to only eat kale, lettuce, broccoli or spinach every day. These are great non-starchy greens to have, but they may not necessarily fill you up.

To Feel Satiated, Try Incorporating Starchy Plant-Based Foods

According to Dr. McDougall, research shows carbohydrates lead to long-term satiety, enduring for hours between meals, whereas the fats in a meal have little impact on satiety.

Before you worry about getting fat eating carbs, I’d like to clarify that not all carbs are equal. Refined and processed carbs like white bread are a no-no. The processing and refining steps of refined carbs usually turn them into products stripped of nutrients (fiber, vitamins, and minerals) and loaded with salt, oils, sugars, dairy- derivitives, and chemicals.

However, complex, natural, unprocessed sugars, made in nature by plants, contain fiber, vitamins, and phytochemicals which are all good for the body, reducing risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity.

Other than starch-based foods, I’d also like to add that nuts and seeds are also a great source of protein and can help you feel full.

According to Dr. Michael Greger, 90 percent of relevant studies have shown that subjects showed no weight gain from nut consumption perhaps because nuts are so satisfying and appetite suppressing that you just eat less throughout the whole day. Nuts may also increase our resting energy expenditure by as much as 11 percent, helping us burn more calories while we sleep!

Without further ado… below are 5 groups of plant-based foods you can incorporate in your diet to help you feel full:

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1. Grains

Examples: Wheat, barley, rye, corn, oats, millet, black rice, brown rice, purple rice, quinoa

Out of the grains listed, quinoa deserves a mention. I love quinoa (don’t we all?) especially since it serves as complete protein for vegetarians and is relatively low in calories.  Quinoa has significantly greater amounts of both lysine and isoleucine, which allows the protein in quinoa to serve as a complete protein source, providing amino acids your body needs.

Check out our quinoa recipes here! 

I also love brown, black and purple rice because they’re chewy and filling. Check out our dellliccious forbidden black rice with ginger and coconut recipe here.

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2. Starchy Vegetables

Examples: Squashes, carrots, yams, parsnips, artichokes, potatoes, and sweet potatoes

Yeessss… I love my sweet potatoes, which is high in vitamin A and C, protecting cells and tissues from free radicals and oxidative damage which accelerates aging and causes diseases such as cancer.

Boiling sweet potatoes has also been shown to have a more favorable impact on blood sugar regulation and to provide the plant with a lower glycemic index (GI) value. Check out our plethora of sweet potato recipes here.

3. Legumes

Examples: Lentils, beans (black, green, kidney, pinto, navy, garbanzo), peas, peanuts

Beans are high in fiber, protein, and plethora of minerals that are good for your body. And yes, beans can curb your appetite.  A recent study reported that subjects were more satisfied with their diet when garbanzo beans were included, and they consumed fewer processed food snacks during test weeks in the study when garbanzo beans were consumed. They also consumed less food overall when the diet was supplemented with garbanzo beans.

Check out our mouthwatering raw sprouted hummus recipe for some living energy!

 4. Nuts

Example: Cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, brazil nuts, macadamia nuts

Before you fret at the thought of eating fatty nuts, please note that most of the fats in nuts are good for your health.

A study published in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders suggested that an almond-enriched low calorie diet (high in monounsaturated fats) can help overweight individuals shed pounds more effectively than a low calorie diet high in complex carbohydrates.

So snack on your almonds and eat your nut cheese!

5. Seeds

Example: Chia seeds, flax seeds

Yes, I have to mention our favorite superfood, chia seeds.

Chia is the richest plant based source of omega 3, dietary fiber, protein, vitamin, and antioxidants.  It also contains a right ratio of amino acids and essential fats. Indigenous population in Central America would use chia to sustain their energy and blood sugar levels so that they could sometimes run over 100 miles in a few days!

When you eat chia seeds, they will expand c. 3x original size and keep your stomach full, especially since the seeds absorb water and expand!

Still feeling hungry? Check out our top delicious vegan recipes here.

 Image source: Squash Soup