Hunger is a very real obstacle to losing weight. Choosing foods with a low energy density allows you not only to eat more food and feel full for longer, but also consume fewer calories— while still getting all the nutrients you need to maintain and build lean muscle. Energy density is defined as the number of calories in a given food divided by the number of grams. Foods can have an energy density ranging from zero to nine calories per gram.

High-fat items fall closer to nine calories per gram (energy dense), while foods with lots of fiber and water, such as produce, soups, and salads, contain far fewer calories per gram (energy lean). When you replace energy-dense foods with energy-lean ones, the combination of high protein, fiber, and water content works to keep you feeling full for longer without adding unwanted calories and fat to your diet —and your body.

Old Diet

Breakfast

4 scrambled eggs
1 English muffin
1 tbsp low-fat butter

Lunch

4 oz chicken breast
3 strips bacon
1 cup lettuce

Afternoon Snack

1 peanut butter protein bar with 20g protein

Post-Workout Shake

30g hydrolyzed casein and whey protein blend

Dinner

Chicken and vegetable soup:
– 16 oz bag frozen mixed vegetables
– 2 cups chicken, cubed
– 1 can condensed reduced-sodium cream of chicken soup
– 1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz crescent dinner rolls
3 slices tomato
1 tbsp low-fat mayonnaise

 

lettucewrap

The Hungry Man’s Low-Calorie Diet

Eat like this on days you go low-cal.

Breakfast

½ cup steel-cut oatmeal (dry measure) with cinnamon and sugar to taste
4 egg whites

Lunch

1 cup split pea soup
Smoked turkey and artichoke sandwich:
– 2 slices marble rye bread
– 2 tbsp artichoke spread
– 4 oz thinly sliced smoked turkey
– 1 thin slice onion
– 2 thin slices tomato
– 1 leaf lettuce
– 1 pickle, unsalted

Afternoon Snack

1 peanut butter protein bar with 20g protein

Post-Workout Shake

30g hydrolyzed casein and whey protein blend

Dinner

Lettuce wraps:
– 2 cups cooked chicken, finely chopped
– ¼ cup medium green onion
– 8 oz water chestnuts
– ½ cup spicy peanut sauce
– 1tbsp mint leaves
– ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
– ½ cup roasted, salted peanuts
– 6 lettuce leaves

Totals

Carbs: 161g
Fat: 41g
Protein: 124g
Calories: 1,572