The Most Satiating Foods: Eat Less and Feel Fuller

Managing your weight is not just about eating less—it’s about eating smarter.  

The most satiating foods keep you full and curb hunger, making weight management easier.  Imagine feeling satisfied while eating less.  

This guide highlights nutrient-dense, protein-rich, high-satiety foods to help you optimise your dietary choices and conquer hunger.

Understanding satiety and how it relates to fullness can transform your eating habits for sustainable weight loss.

Top Satiating Foods

Here are the satiety scores of the top twelve foods favoured by our Optimisers.

  1. asparagus – 100%
  2. egg whites – 97%
  3. Greek yogurt (non-fat) – 89%
  4. broccoli – 85%
  5. oranges – 81%
  6. strawberries – 76%
  7. shrimp/prawns – 68%
  8. sirloin steak (fat not eaten) – 60%
  9. cottage cheese (low fat) – 57%
  10. salmon – 51%
  11. potato (boiled) – 48%
  12. chicken breast – 46%

These foods not only help with weight management but also ensure you get an excellent nutrient profile.

Including these satiating foods in your diet can help promote feelings of fullness and satisfaction and support weight loss.

This article explores the most satiating foods in detail, helping you make informed choices for better appetite management.

The Most Satiating Food Groups

Each food has its own unique nutritional profile and satiety score.  However, it’s best to start with food groups that provide the highest satiety on average.  

Understanding which food groups are more satiating can help you make better dietary choices to manage your hunger and support your weight loss goals. 

The table below shows the average satiety score for various food groups.  Click the links to learn more about the unique factors that make these groups satiating.

food groupaverage satiety score
vegetables75%
fruit59%
seafood55%
beans & legumes43%
dairy & egg41%
meat40%
grains31%
fats27%
processed food23%
nuts & seeds21%
average40%

As you can see, vegetables top the list in terms of satiety per calorie, followed by seafood, fruit, dairy, eggs and meat. 

It’s hard to go too far wrong if you build the foundation of your diet from these high-satiety food groups.  However, to help you level up your journey, the following sections highlight the satiety scores of the most popular foods from each group.  

The Most Satiating Vegetables

Most agree that vegetables are crucial for a balanced diet.  High-satiety vegetables, rich in fibre, water, vitamins, and minerals, help you feel full and satisfied without excessive calories.

Their low energy density and high fibre content slow digestion and provide a steady energy release, preventing hunger between meals.  Non-starchy vegetables excel in promoting fullness due to their nutrient density.

Incorporating these nutrient-dense foods into your meal planning can significantly improve your nutrient intake and overall nutrition:

  1. spinach – 100%
  2. asparagus – 100%
  3. mushrooms – 100%
  4. cauliflower – 91%
  5. zucchini – 89%
  6. cucumber – 87%
  7. lettuce – 85%
  8. broccoli – 85%
  9. kale – 80%
  10. bell peppers – 66%
  11. onion – 63%
  12. potato (boiled) – 49%

But the strength of vegetables is also their major downside — you can’t get enough protein or energy from high-satiety, non-starchy vegetables alone.  If you tried to live on spinach alone, you’d explode before you got enough calories.  So, we need to diversify our dietary pallet by adding other high-satiety foods.   

Protein-Rich Satiating Seafood

Seafood is delicious, satiating, and packed with lean protein and minerals.  It significantly contributes to satiety and weight management.

While vegetables offer satiety through low energy density, seafood provides the added benefit of being protein-rich, making it an excellent choice for hunger management and healthy weight maintenance.

  1. crab – 75%
  2. shrimp/prawns – 68%
  3. tuna – 66%
  4. squid – 64%
  5. anchovies – 63%
  6. cod – 60%
  7. mussels – 60%
  8. oysters – 53%
  9. mackerel – 52%
  10. caviar – 50%
  11. sardines – 48%
  12. salmon – 51%

By incorporating high-satiety seafood into your diet, you can improve your nutrition and support your weight management goals.  

Filling Fruits

Fruits can help boost vitamin C and potassium, which are often more challenging to get from other food groups.  They are also high in fibre and water, making them hard to overeat.  

The fibre in fruits helps slow down digestion, providing a steady release of energy and keeping you full longer.  Additionally, the natural sugars in fruits can help healthily satisfy sweet cravings.

Listed below are the satiety scores of the most popular fruits:  

  1. orange – 81%
  2. tomato – 77%
  3. strawberries – 76%
  4. grapefruit – 72%
  5. watermelon – 70%
  6. peach – 67%
  7. raspberries – 67%
  8. pineapple – 65%
  9. cantaloupe – 65%
  10. kiwifruit – 61%
  11. apricot – 59%
  12. blackberries – 53%

You can enjoy fruits as a snack to tide you over between meals, added to smoothies, or incorporated into meals and desserts.  But if your goal is greater satiety and weight loss, avoid fruit juices that strip out the fibre, and never drink your calories.  

Satiating Dairy & Egg

High-satiety dairy and egg products are rich in protein, calcium, potassium, and riboflavin (B2), all of which play significant roles in promoting fullness.  To maximize satiety benefits, include a variety of lower-fat dairy products in your diet.

Here are the satiety scores of popular dairy and egg products, highlighting their nutrient density and effectiveness in reducing hunger:

  1. egg whites – 97%
  2. Greek yogurt (non-fat) – 89%
  3. milk (low fat) – 81%
  4. whey powder – 70%
  5. cottage cheese (low-fat) – 57%
  6. parmesan cheese – 36%
  7. whole eggs – 33%
  8. mozzarella (skim) – 33%
  9. gouda – 30%
  10. Gruyere – 30%
  11. Jarlsberg cheese – 30%
  12. Swiss cheese – 29%

Dairy products, such as yogurt, cheese, and milk, are tasty and can be added to both savoury and sweet dishes.  Choose low-fat or fat-free options for greater satiety and fat loss.

The Most Satiating Meat

While often controversial, meat is an excellent source of bioavailable protein content and many essential nutrients, particularly iron and potassium, which further boost satiety.

As you can see from the list below, the key to a higher score is to choose leaner cuts of meat:

  1. chicken breast (skinless) – 66%
  2. liver – 65%
  3. sirloin steak (fat trimmed) – 60%
  4. ground beef (95% lean) – 48%          
  5. lamb roast (fat not eaten)- 49%
  6. pork chops –  43%
  7. drumstick – 43%
  8. fillet mignon – 39%
  9. pork steak – 34%
  10. ribeye steak (fat eaten) – 33%
  11. ground beef (70% lean) – 30%
  12. T-bone (fat eaten) – 30%

Fat is a great energy source if you need more energy, but if your goal is fat loss, choose leaner cuts or trim the fat off the meat.   

To optimise your nutrient profile, pair the meat with a generous amount of high-fibre vegetables for nutritionally balanced meals that will fill you up in the short term and keep hunger at bay for longer because they contain all the minerals and vitamins you need to thrive.

Satiety Score vs Nutrient Density

While the satiety score is the most important thing to focus on initially if your primary goal is weight loss, for best results, it’s wise to also monitor nutrient density to ensure you’re getting enough of all the essential nutrients to crush your cravings. 

When you’re ready to broaden your dietary palette further or want to check how your favourite foods rank, our interactive food search tool lets you explore the satiety vs. nutrient density landscape

If you’d prefer, you can download printable high-satiety food lists in our Optimising Nutrition Community here

What is Satiety?

Satiety is the absence of hunger.  

High-satiety foods and meals not only help you feel full quickly but also maintain and stop you from feeling hungry for longer.  

Our satiety score does not make a food ‘good’ or ‘bad.’  It just helps you make informed choices and avoid relying on unsustainable willpower.   

Satiation vs Satiety

Understanding a few key concepts can help you avoid confusion and make better food choices tailored to your goals.

  • Satiation is the short-term feeling of fullness that makes us want to stop eating. 
  • Satiety is simply the absence of hunger regardless of how much energy you consume to achieve it. 
  • Meanwhile, satiety per calorie also considers the amount of energy we need to satisfy our hunger each day.  
  • We experience sensory-specific satiety when we get more than the bliss point minimum amount of certain nutrients.  

How We Calculate Satiety Scores

Our food intake is influenced by cravings for energy from fats and carbohydrates, as well as our appetite for minerals, vitamins and amino acids.  

Once we get more than the minimum amount of any nutrient, we experience sensory-specific satiety.

The point where cravings switch to satiety is the bliss point, which is the nutrient concentration that aligns with maximum energy intake.

Ultra-processed foods are engineered to hit our bliss points to maximise palatability and profit.  In contrast, nutrient-dense, high-satiety foods are more challenging to overeat.

The Satiety Index of Foods

Satiety is one of the most important and underappreciated aspects of nutrition.  Unfortunately, our cravings for nutrients are a complex, multifactorial process, and little work has been done to quantify the most satiating foods. 

The most often cited study is A Satiety Index of Common Foods (Holt et al., 1995), performed by The University of Sydney in Australia, where they tested the satiety response to only 38 common foods.     

The results, as shown in the satiety index chart below, give us clues about the factors that influence satiety.  But with so few foods tested, it’s impossible to generalise this data to other foods that you might eat.   

Satiety Index of Common Foods chart

For the past six years, we’ve been on a mission to create a data-driven satiety algorithm to empower our Optimisers to make more informed food choices and achieve their health goals. 

We’ve continued to build and analyse our database to decode the various factors that influence how much we eat.  We now have more than a million days of data for macronutrients and 619,301 days of data for micronutrients, which gives us a high degree of accuracy in understanding the nuances of each factor and how they interact.

Understanding Energy Density

For example, the chart below shows the satiety response to the energy density (i.e. grams per 2000 calories) in our food, which, as you can see, is not a simple matter of more is better. 

energy density vs satiety

Toward the right, we see foods with a very low energy density, like fruit and vegetables, which are tough to overeat — they fill our stomachs before we can get enough energy to survive. 

The concept of energy density, pioneered by Professor Barbara Rolls, is popular in low-fat plant-based circles but doesn’t help us identify the most satiating foods for people on a low-carb diet where protein percentage is the dominant factor. 

The energy density of processed food that contains a blend of fat and carbs with minimal protein aligns with the maximum energy intake.  However, further to the left, things get a bit murky.  While pure oil isn’t particularly satiating, lean proteins are. 

Energy density is a helpful satiety factor, but only for a low-carb, low-protein diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables.  Hence, to increase the accuracy, we need to consider other factors in our satiety score. 

Protein’s Role in Satiety

The other major satiety factor is the protein percentage

The satiety response chart below, created using more than a million days of data, shows that we eat less when our diet has a higher protein percentage.  

protein percentage vs calorie intake

Toward the left of the chart, we see that we eat less when we only have very low-protein foods available.  We get bored of exceptionally low-protein foods like fruit and rice.  However, our cravings draw us to foods that enable us to reach the 12.5% bliss point for protein.  

This aligns with Professor Raubenheimer and Simpson’s protein leverage hypothesis, which shows all living organisms keep eating until they get the minimum amount of protein they require. 

Other Factors Affecting Satiety

Our satiety formula combines energy density and protein percentage while also using a number of other nutritional parameters that we can quantify using our large dataset. 

Considering only one of these parameters gives us limited accuracy, especially for mixed diets.  However, our system has devised precise weightings for each parameter that maximise our ability to predict how much we will eat of a particular food based on its nutritional parameters.    

It’s beyond the scope of this article to delve into every satiety factor and how they are weighted, but our data-driven satiety algorithm uses the following nutritional parameters with weightings calibrated using 619,301 days of data from people eating a range of diets all over the world to provide maximum accuracy and versatility to any dietary pattern:

  1. energy density
  2. protein percentage
  3. fat
  4. monounsaturated fat
  5. sugar
  6. sodium
  7. calcium
  8. iron
  9. potassium
  10. vitamin C and
  11. riboflavin (B2)

Tips for Adding Satiating Foods

Focus on high-satiety, nutrient-dense foods to support your weight management and nutrition goals.  

Here are some tips for meal planning and making better dietary choices:

  • Plan Your Meals: Incorporate a variety of macronutrients to ensure you meet your nutrient requirements.
  • Prioritize Protein: High-protein foods are essential for maintaining muscle mass and promoting fullness.
  • Include Fiber-Rich Foods: Foods high in fibre help you feel full longer and aid in digestion.
  • Balance Your Diet: For optimal nutrition, ensure a balanced diet with a mix of vegetables, fruits, lean meats, and dairy.

Meal Planning Pro Tips

Incorporating high-satiety foods into your diet can help manage hunger, control calorie intake, and support overall health and weight management goals.  Here are some practical tips and strategies for your daily meal planning that successful Optimisers follow in our Macros Masterclass and Micros Masterclass.

  • Start with Protein: Plan your protein sources for the day—from protein-rich meat, seafood, dairy, and legumes—to ensure you’ll meet your minimum protein requirements.
  • Add Fiber-Rich Foods:  Include as many high-satiety vegetables as you enjoy or can tolerate.  This will provide bulk and a complimentary micronutrient profile for meat, seafood, and dairy. 
  • Add the remaining energy:  If your energy budget allows, you can now add some extra energy, if required, from fruit, nuts, seeds, and even fatty dressings.

Delicious High-Satiety Recipes

Incorporating high-satiety foods into your diet is not only beneficial for managing hunger and supporting weight loss but also for creating delicious and satisfying meals.  If you’re looking for some recipe inspiration, you can download the Healthiest Meal Plan in the World, which is packed with our NutriBooster recipes.  

high satiety, nutrient dense meal plan

Your Personalised Satiety Formula

While our satiety formula is calibrated using 619,301 days of data from people eating a range of diets all over the world, unfortunately, there is no perfect one-size-fits-all satiety algorithm.

The nutrients you need to prioritise to crush your cravings are unique to you.  To identify your priority nutrients and the foods and meals that will complete your unique nutritional fingerprint, check out our free Nutrient Clarity Challenge

Optimise Your Diet for Higher Satiety

If you need help optimising your diet for greater satiety, you can join our Macros Masterclass.  Over four weeks, we guide our Optimisers to find the right balance of protein, fat and carbs, along with the shortlist of nutrients that provide greater satiety for most people. 

Level Up Your Nutrition Game

Once you’re ready to take your nutrition to the next level and move from the bliss points towards the optimal nutrient intakes for all the essential nutrients, you’ll love our Micros Masterclass.

Beat Low-Satiety Foods for Better Health

Understanding the science behind low-satiety foods explains why they are so addictive and hard to resist.  By recognising the roles of nutrient density, energy intake, and nutrient bliss points, you can make more informed choices for lasting satiety and better health.

Avoid the trap of high-calorie processed foods and aim for nutrient-dense meals that keep you full and satisfied.  Empower yourself with this knowledge and take the first step towards a healthier, more fulfilling diet.  

Ready to Take Control of Your Hunger?

Join our community of Optimisers transforming their lives with high-satiety foods.  Start your journey to effortless weight loss today!

Join the Optimising Nutrition Community!

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5 thoughts on “The Most Satiating Foods: Eat Less and Feel Fuller”

  1. interesting, I have been tailoring my diet these past 3 plus months to higher satiey foods and carbs with protein and fiber (like beans) salads sometimes I get tired of eating salads sometimes, but I have found other ways to use veggies, so when I want cereal I make sure the caloires are modest adn fiber is high and it still has a little sweetness frm say raisins for example, and eat only one serving. I use lower carbs fruits when I can such as blueberries and strawberries eat a half of banana with a meal when i want it, which latly has not be often. your really did alot of work onthis post. I hope alot of people see it and consider it in their food choices to fight obesity and all the other healht problems caused by malnorishment

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  2. A food I haven’t seen on any of the satiety lists is sourdough bread. I make whole-wheat sourdough and it keeps me amazingly full & satisfied for hours. Much longer than regular whole-wheat bread would. I usually eat it with a lean protein, but often just by itself.

    Reply
    • Sourdough bread will definitely be more satiating per calorie than more refined bread options. However, not as satiating as non-starchy vege, meat and seafood which are more nutritious and have a higher protein %.

      Reply
  3. As an Australian I have noticed very different attitudes here towards good nutrition compared to the USA. We have a government research body CSIRO that promotes a evidence-based higher protein, high vegetable, moderate fat diet, and hitting most of your recommendations. Around half the households in Australia have one of their books at home. We also have substantial research coming from USydney and other universities that encourages evidence-based recommendations – for glycaemic load, protein, etc. These are taken up in women’s magazines and TV (along with crazy diets too, unfortunately!) Plus we don’t have the powerful anti-meat lobbyists seen in the USA, so our mental pictures of what is ‘normal’ are different. Fortunately our longevity rates are up there with Italy and Japan (etc) – higher than the USA.

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