The best high-satiety foods
How can you lose weight while eating delicious, satisfying foods — without going hungry?
The key is choosing higher-satiety foods that help you feel as comfortably full and satisfied as possible for the fewest number of calories.
Fortunately, a wide variety of tasty, healthy foods can be part of higher-satiety eating — especially with the help of our recipes — no matter what diet you follow.
In this guide, you’ll learn which foods to eat to maximize satiety without sacrificing taste.
What are high-satiety foods?
High-satiety foods maximize fullness and satisfaction while minimizing calories. To put it another way, they provide more satiety per calorie.
The best high-satiety foods
- Chicken drumstick with skin
- Shellfish (shrimp, crab, lobster, etc.)
- Pork tenderloin
- Pinto beans
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Green beans
- Fish (salmon, trout, flounder, halibut, sardines, bass, etc.)
- Cottage cheese
How can you tell which are the most filling foods? As part of our satiety-based eating approach, we assign all foods a satiety score from 0 to 100.
The score is calculated using four factors related to satiety:
- Protein percentage: the percentage of a food’s calories that come from protein rather than fat and carbs. Protein is an essential nutrient that reduces hunger and helps you feel full. For this reason, protein percentage is given the most weight when calculating the satiety score.
- Energy density: the calories (or energy) in a specific weight of food, such as 100 grams (3.5 ounces). Studies show that eating less-dense foods leads to eating fewer calories.
- Fiber: the non-digestible portion of carbs that can stretch your stomach and help you feel full.
- Hedonic factor: a score reduction for the decadent foods that can drive overeating.
What’s a “good” satiety score? Any food that scores 40 to 59 provides moderate satiety per calorie. We consider foods that score 60 or above to be high-satiety-per-calorie foods that can make you feel full.
While prioritizing high-satiety foods may help you lose weight effectively, it’s also important to enjoy what you eat! Including small amounts of healthy lower-satiety foods — such as berries, avocado, and butter or olive oil for food preparation — at meals can make your weight loss journey more pleasant and sustainable. For detailed information about the science behind our satiety score, see our guide, The science of satiety per calorie.
More high-satiety guides:
High-satiety foods and beverages
Make these your go-to foods based on your eating preferences, budget, and whether they are convenient and available.
Meat & poultry
Do you love eating steak, chicken, pork, or lamb? Then you’ll be happy to hear that these satiating foods — which are packed with protein and other essential nutrients — are excellent for losing weight.
Although lean meats have higher scores than fattier cuts, nearly all options in this category have impressive satiety scores. So choose the types you love. And, yes, go ahead and leave the skin on your chicken and turkey if you like it that way. 😉
Chicken breast with skin
Chicken wing with skin
For a complete list, see the visual guide to high-satiety meat and eggs.
If you’re a seafood fan and want a higher-satiety meal with plenty of protein, go for grilled fish or shellfish. Some studies suggest that eating seafood can help you feel full and potentially lose weight.
Seafood gets excellent satiety scores across the board. As long as you avoid breaded or battered, deep-fried options, you’ll be on your way to a high-scoring meal with fish or shellfish at the center of your plate.
Battered, deep-fried fish filet
Battered, deep-fried shrimp
For a complete list see the visual guide to high-satiety seafood.
Non-starchy vegetables have high protein percentages, very low energy densities, and are rich in fiber. So it should come as no surprise that they have great satiety scores. Vegetables also add color, texture, and an earthy taste to your meals.
While you’ll need to eat other foods to meet your all-important protein needs, including vegetables in your diet can give you a weight-loss advantage.
These scores are for raw or steamed vegetables. How do their satiety scores change when they’re cooked with butter or oil?
|Vegetable||Satiety score for veggies cooked without fat||Satiety score for 1 cup of veggies cooked with 1 teaspoon of butter||Satiety score for 1 cup of veggies cooked with 2 teaspoons of butter|
Yes, the scores go down when fat is added. However, veggies cooked with a small amount of butter or oil can still be part of a high-satiety meal when they’re paired with meat, seafood, eggs, or a plant-based protein.
For a complete list, see the visual guide to high-satiety vegetables.
Eggs are an inexpensive, versatile source of protein and fat that can keep you full and satisfied for hours. Egg whites get a higher satiety score than whole eggs because the whites are so high in protein. But whole eggs taste better and provide more nutrients, because the yolks contain more vitamins and other micronutrients.
Whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong with eggs — even if they’re fried in a bit of butter!
Whole egg fried in butter
High protein dairy products
Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and low fat cheese have high protein percentages, low carb counts, and a tangy, pleasant taste. Plus, some studies suggest protein-rich dairy can be good for weight loss. Low fat dairy products get the highest scores, but full fat yogurt and cottage cheese are also winning options for higher-satiety eating.
|Plain nonfat Greek yogurt||89|
|Low fat (2%) cottage cheese||87|
|Low fat cheese (cheddar, mozzarella, etc.)||85|
|Plain low fat Greek yogurt||85|
|Regular (4%) cottage cheese||83|
|Plain full fat (5%) Greek yogurt||74|
For a complete list, see the visual guide to high-satiety dairy foods.
Beans, soy, and other plant-based protein foods
Legumes and other fiber-rich plant proteins are great for vegetarians or vegans interested in higher-satiety eating. These foods add variety for meat lovers, too.
Several studies suggest eating legumes can help you lose weight. If you’re a plant-based eater, include a wide variety of these foods to maximize satiety while meeting your protein needs.
Edamame (green soybeans)
For a complete list, see the visual guide to high-satiety plant-based foods.
The best beverages contain zero to just a few calories. Why are most of their scores moderate rather than high? Although they don’t add any calories, these liquids provide little to no protein or other nutrients.
The exception is meat-based broth, which provides about 1 to 9 grams of protein per cup, depending on how it’s made.
Tea (black, green, or herbal)
Low- to moderate-satiety foods & beverages
The foods in this section provide low to moderate satiety per calorie. Feel free to include them in your diet based on your preferences and the type of diet you follow.
Cheese is delicious and filling, but it provides less satiety per calorie than lower fat dairy products. Fortunately, nearly all types of cheese have moderate satiety scores. So feel free to enjoy small amounts of your favorites.
|Whole milk mozarella||59|
For a complete list of cheeses and other dairy products, see the visual guide to high-satiety dairy foods.
Low protein processed meats
Bacon, sausage, salami, and similar meats are tasty and convenient. However, their satiety scores are moderate rather than high because they have lower protein percentages and higher energy densities than other meats.
Although you can enjoy them occasionally and still lose weight, go for higher-satiety processed meats like Canadian bacon and ham most of the time.
Although nuts have some protein and fiber, their satiety scores are low because they pack a lot of calories. Plus, once you start eating them, it may be tough to stop. If you eat nuts, portion out a small amount rather than eating them straight from a large bag or container.
Starchy vegetables have lower satiety scores than most of their non-starchy counterparts. This is because the higher number of calories from starch reduces their protein percentages. If your diet allows more carbs, feel free to include modest amounts of these vegetables in your diet.
For a complete list of all the starchy vegetables, see our visual guide to high-satiety vegetables.
Fresh fruits have low to moderate satiety scores because they’re short on protein but contain a lot of water and fiber. While fatty fruits like avocado and olives provide less satiety per calorie, they have fewer carbs than sweeter fruits. So, if it fits into your diet plan, enjoy a daily serving or two of fruit.
Yes, whole grains have more fiber than refined grains. But they’re still low in protein, and most of their calories come from carbs. Therefore, their satiety scores aren’t very impressive. Even if you don’t follow a low carb diet, keep your whole grain intake modest if you’re trying to lose weight.
Fats and oils
Butter, oil, and cream are high in calories and provide virtually no protein. As you can see below, their satiety scores are quite low. However, adding small amounts of fat to your vegetables or other foods can make them taste delicious — without jeopardizing your weight loss. For this reason, we list them as foods to include in small quantities rather than avoid. Remember, don’t go overboard. Use just enough fat to add flavor.
Satiety scores for fats alone
Low carb alcohol
Research suggests that drinking alcoholic beverages may interfere with weight loss. Alcohol can also increase your appetite and decrease your inhibitions, which may lead you to eat more than you need (or eat foods you normally avoid) without intending to.
Because alcohol provides calories but no protein or other nutrients, satiety scores for all types of alcoholic beverages are extremely low. If you decide to drink occasionally, choose lower carb options like dry wine or plain spirits.
Some people may find that using calorie-free sweeteners helps them avoid high-sugar foods and beverages. However, others may experience hunger or cravings when they use sweeteners.
Although we don’t have satiety scores for sweeteners, we recommend choosing calorie-free or nearly-calorie-free options if you want to use them. See our guide to low carb sweeteners for a complete discussion and our list of recommendations.
Very-low-satiety foods and beverages
If your goal is to lose weight without feeling hungry, minimize or avoid the items in this section.
High carb, high fat foods
Foods that are high in both fat and carbs provide very little satiety per calorie. Plus, the delicious taste of ultra-processed foods — such as the sweet or savory snack foods created by food manufacturers — can make it tough to stop at “just one.” Indeed, some researchers suggest that these highly palatable foods can even be addictive and keep you wanting more.
|Frosted layer cake||7|
|Chocolate chip cookie||1|
Foods high in sugar and refined carbs
Refined carbs provide calories but lack protein, other nutrients, and fiber. Many of these products are marketed as “low fat” or “fat free,” making it appear as though they’re good for weight loss. However, as their satiety scores indicate, they’re unlikely to help you feel full and satisfied.
|Low fat graham cracker||25|
|Sweetened breakfast cereal||21|
|Low fat breakfast pastry||21|
All sugar-sweetened beverages are loaded with little more than sugar and calories. What about 100% unsweetened juice? It’s packed with “natural” sugar. Also, research suggests that consuming carbs in liquid form is less satiating than consuming carbs in solid food.
|100% Orange juice||28|
High carb alcohol
While all types of liquor provide empty calories, sweet wines and liqueurs are also high in sugar, and beer is high in carbs. For this reason, beer and sweet alcoholic drinks receive even lower satiety scores than low carb alcoholic drinks. In short, they’re not a good option.
Ready to get cooking? Try some of our delicious, nutrient-packed, high-satiety recipes:
Keto Caprese chicken
Roast turkey roulade with herbs
Mexican shrimp ceviche (aguachile)
High-protein vegetarian plate with edamame and feta cheese
Keto chicken Alfredo pasta
Pulled Indian beef with low carb roti bread
Crab cakes with cucumber salad
Keto fried chicken with broccoli
Cajun chicken salad with guacamole
Keto crack chicken
Higher-satiety meal plan
Want a meal plan with plenty of variety that will keep you full and satisfied? Check out our free 2-week meal plan:
High protein: Minimal cooking, maximum results #1
Would you like to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible but still want to lose weight while enjoying delicious food? We’ve got you!
These quick and easy recipes are loaded with flavor and have everything you need to feel great inside and out.
Our high-protein meal plans are specially tailored for effective and healthy weight loss. They will provide you with the maximum amount of nutrients per calorie, often resulting in rapid fat loss while sustaining muscle mass due to the high-protein content.
With higher-satiety eating, you don’t have to go hungry or feel deprived to lose weight.
When you prioritize the high-satiety foods you enjoy — accompanied by smaller amounts of healthy foods that are a little less satiating — you’ll feel full and satisfied throughout your weight loss journey.
Introducing our new satiety score
Using our new satiety score will help you pick the right delicious foods for sustainable healthy weight loss.
Higher-satiety eating: what & how
Learn how our new higher-satiety eating approach can help you lose weight and improve your metabolic health.
The best high-satiety foods – the evidence
This guide is written by Franziska Spritzler, RD and was last updated on February 3, 2023. It was medically reviewed by Dr. Bret Scher, MD on May 2, 2022.
The guide contains scientific references. You can find these in the notes throughout the text, and click the links to read the peer-reviewed scientific papers. When appropriate we include a grading of the strength of the evidence, with a link to our policy on this. Our evidence-based guides are updated at least once per year to reflect and reference the latest science on the topic.
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In a 12-day randomized crossover study, people were allowed to eat as much as they wanted on a high-protein, normal-protein, and low-protein diet. During the high-protein portion of the trial, they consumed 500-550 fewer calories than they did during the normal-protein and low-protein portion of the trial:
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2013: Protein leverage affects energy intake of high-protein diets in humans [randomized trial; moderate evidence]
A systematic review of randomized controlled trials found that higher protein diets tend to promote weight loss, due in part to reducing hunger and increasing satiety:
Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2004: The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss: a critical review [systematic review of randomized trials; strong evidence]
In short-term trials, overweight and lean women ended up eating fewer calories when they were allowed as much food as they wanted at low-energy-density meals compared to high-energy-density meals – even though they reported having similar hunger and fullness levels after all meals:
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1998: Energy density of foods affects energy intake in normal-weight women [randomized trial; moderate evidence]
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2001: Energy density of foods affects energy intake across multiple levels of fat content in lean and obese women [randomized trial; moderate evidence]
In a one-year trial, overweight women who cut back on fat and increased the amount of low-energy-density foods in their diet lost more weight than women who simply cut back on fat, even though both groups were allowed to eat as much as they wanted:
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007: Dietary energy density in the treatment of obesity: a year-long trial comparing 2 weight-loss diets [randomized trial; moderate evidence]
In a small study, people who ate a large portion of spinach at lunch felt significantly full, which researchers attributed in part to the increased fiber in the meal:
International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition 1995: Satiety effects of spinach in mixed meals: comparison with other vegetables [non-controlled study; weak evidence]
In a study conducted in an inpatient hospital ward, 20 people ate a non-calorie-restricted ultra-processed diet and non-calorie-restricted minimally processed diet for two weeks each, in random order. The participants ate an average of 500 calories more per day on the ultra-processed diet — entirely from carbohydrates and fats — and gained 2 pounds (0.9 kilos), on average:
Cell Metabolism 2019: Ultra-processed diets cause excess calorie intake and weight gain: An inpatient randomized controlled trial of ad libitum food intake [randomized trial; moderate evidence]
In a 16-week weight loss trial, 120 women with excess weight were assigned to either eat four or more lean beef servings per week or to restrict all red meats. Despite similar weight loss of 8.7% in both groups, women in the lean beef group reported fewer cravings and fewer feelings of deprivation compared to those who limited red meat intake:
Nutrients 2018: Hunger, food cravings, and diet satisfaction are related to changes in body weight during a 6-month behavioral weight loss intervention: The Beef WISE study [randomized trial; moderate evidence]
A trial in people with overweight or obesity found that including 500 grams (17.6 ounces or approximately three 6-ounce servings) of lean red meat per week as part of a Mediterranean diet resulted in equal weight loss and reduction in metabolic risk factors compared to following the same basic diet but eating much less red meat:
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2018: A Mediterranean-style eating pattern with lean, unprocessed red meat has cardiometabolic benefits for adults who are overweight or obese in a randomized, crossover, controlled feeding trial [moderate evidence]
In another trial, people who ate a poultry-rich, high-protein diet lost body fat:
Biological Trace Element Research 2011: Frequent consumption of selenium-enriched chicken meat by adults causes weight loss and maintains their antioxidant status [randomized trial; moderate evidence]
In a small trial, young men who ate fish or beef at lunch reported feeling full and satisfied. In addition, those who ate the fish-based meal ended up eating less at dinner:
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2006: A comparison of effects of fish and beef protein on satiety in normal weight men [randomized trial; moderate evidence]
In a trial of 324 people, men who ate either lean or fatty fish as part of a weight loss diet lost an average of 2.2 pounds (1 kilo) more in four weeks than men who ate less seafood. However, in this study, women lost the same amount of weight regardless of their seafood intake:
International Journal of Obesity 2007: Randomized trial of weight-loss-diets for young adults varying in fish and fish oil content [moderate evidence]
In trials, people have reported less hunger and greater fullness after meals containing eggs compared to meals without eggs:
Nutrients 2017: Consuming two eggs per day, as compared to an oatmeal breakfast, decreases plasma ghrelin while maintaining the LDL/HDL ratio [randomized trial; moderate evidence]
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2015: The effect of a high-egg diet on cardiovascular risk factors in people with type 2 diabetes: the Diabetes and Egg (DIABEGG) study-a 3-mo randomized controlled trial [moderate evidence]
International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition 2011: The effects of consuming eggs for lunch on satiety and subsequent food intake [randomized trial; moderate evidence]
The Journal of Nutrition 2011: Increased consumption of dairy foods and protein during diet- and exercise-induced weight loss promotes fat mass loss and lean mass gain in overweight and obese premenopausal women [randomized trial; moderate evidence]
The following study received funding from the dairy industry:
Obesity Research 2004: Calcium and dairy acceleration of weight and fat loss during energy restriction in obese adults [randomized trial; moderate evidence]
One review of 21 trials found that people who included beans, lentils, and other legumes in their diet lost a small amount of weight without deliberately restricting calories:
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2014: Effects of dietary pulse consumption on body weight: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials [strong evidence]
Other studies have shown weight loss benefits in overweight people who included soy in their diets:
Nutrients 2019: Soy products ameliorate obesity-related anthropometric indicators in overweight or obese Asian and non-menopausal women: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials [strong evidence]
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2014: Appetite control and biomarkers of satiety with vegetarian (soy) and meat-based high-protein diets for weight loss in obese men: a randomized crossover trial [moderate evidence]
With the exception of soy, plant foods are low in one or more of the 9 essential amino acids your body needs. Consuming different plant proteins over the course of a day can help you meet your essential amino acid requirements:
Nutrition Reviews 2019: Maximizing the intersection of human health and the health of the environment with regard to the amount and type of protein produced and consumed in the United States [review article; ungraded]
Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2016: Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: vegetarian diets [position statement; ungraded]
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1994: Plant proteins in relation to human protein and amino acid nutrition [review article; ungraded]
According to a review of randomized trials, people who carry excess weight often end up consuming more calories when they eat nuts:
Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 2018: Effect of nuts on energy intake, hunger, and fullness, a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials [strong evidence]
Drinking alcoholic beverages can slow down weight loss because your body burns alcohol before it burns carbs, protein, and fat — including body fat:
The Journal of Clinical Investigation 1988: Ethanol causes acute inhibition of carbohydrate, fat, and protein oxidation and insulin resistance [randomized trial; moderate evidence]
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1999: De novo lipogenesis, lipid kinetics, and whole-body lipid balances in humans after acute alcohol consumption [non-randomized trial; weak evidence]
British Journal of Nutrition 2019: The effect of alcohol consumption on food energy intake: a systematic review and meta-analysis [strong evidence]
Health Psychology 2016: Alcohol’s acute effect on food intake is mediated by inhibitory control impairments [randomized trial; moderate evidence]
Research suggests that these sweeteners partially activate the “food reward” pathway responsible for cravings:
The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine 2010: Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings [overview article; ungraded evidence]
PLoS One 2015: Which foods may be addictive? The roles of processing, fat content, and glycemic load [non-randomized trial; weak evidence]
Public Health Nutrition 2019: Ultra-processed foods: what they are and how to identify them [review article; ungraded]
Advances in Pharmacological Sciences 2016: The influence of palatable diets in reward system activation: a mini review [review article; ungraded]
Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2009: Effects of food form and timing of ingestion on appetite and energy intake in lean young adults and in young adults with obesity [randomized controlled trial; moderate evidence]
International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders 2000: Liquid versus solid carbohydrate: effects on food intake and body weight [crossover trial; moderate evidence]