In this WIAW post, I share about the high volume low calorie foods I ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was A LOT of food!
I eat a LOT of food. I'm talking quart sized smoothies, dinner plate sized lunches, serving bowl-sized salads, and oatmeal for two. Just scroll through my Instagram and you'll see!
The amount of food I eat has become totally normal to me, but sometimes when I set my huge, serving-bowl-of-a-salad next to my husband's small plate, or drink my smoothie with friends, I'm reminded that I'm not your average 25-year-old American girl. While sometimes I do feel a bit awkward about my portion sizes, I've come to be okay with the weirdness, because eating this way is how I can feel my best!
It's been almost two years since I decided to go vegan, but it's really been in just the past 6 months or so that I've started caring more about avoiding processed foods and eating whole, plant-based foods...especially whole, ripe, raw fruits and veggies! But as most of you know, vegetables and other plant foods are high in nutrients, but quite low in calories. That means in order to meet my calorie needs, I need to eat a large volume of food.
I remember I used to make smoothies using ½ of a banana. Now I use 2-3 bananas in addition to some other kind of fruit!
I used to think the lettuce I put on my turkey sandwich was a quality amount of greens for the day. Now I add greens to most of my smoothies and eat a large head of lettuce a day!
As you can see from the food I ate last Friday, my meals are voluminous and colorful. This is the kind of diet that makes me feel my best! I love that I don't feel sluggish and sleepy after I eat lunch, but have energy for the rest of the day. I love being able to eat as much as I want without worrying about my weight. I love counting nutrients instead of calories. I love feeling hydrated throughout the day.
Before I eat breakfast I usually chug lots of water...and continue doing so throughout the day.
For breakfast on Friday I had a Berry Banana Smoothie with hidden zucchini and cacao nibs on top.
Lunch was quite a random assortment as no specific food was calling my name. Snack plate it is! I had a bowl of Deliciously Ella's Green Cleansing Soup, sautéed veggies, an orange, a bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, and a rice cake with mashed avocado and nutritional yeast. I enjoyed eating a lot of random colorful things and while the soup looks nasty, it's really delicious! It's made with white beans, sautéed spinach and broccoli, and seasoned with cilantro and cumin. Yum!
A serving bowl sized salad with 1 head of romaine lettuce, 1 large apple, 1 bell pepper, cherry tomatoes and a dijon balsamic vinaigrette with a large baked sweet potato on the side . I can't get enough of sweet potatoes lately!
Friday was quite a colorful day and I went to bed super satisfied and nourished.
If you want to see what others are creating in the kitchen, check out Arman's blog!
More "High Volume Low Calorie" Food Inspiration
If you're looking for more high volume low calorie food recipes, check out my Creamy Vegan Tomato Zucchini Soup recipe!
Do you eat lots of high volume low calorie foods?
What foods make you feel your best?
What kind of potatoes do you like the most?
Do you eat a large or small volume of food?
Hmm… Well, I kind of have to find an in-between. I can't eat tiny amounts of food at a meal, but if I eat a lot, I fill up really fast, and then I'm hungry an hour later. So I guess I would say I'm kind of a medium meal, snacker sort of a person. That has changed a lot though, because while I was still really strictly calorie counting (though I didn't need to), I would limit myself to 3 meals even if I was hungry, so I wouldn't go 'out of control' on snacking.
Sounds like the perfect happy medium Emily! I'm glad you've found a balance and can enjoy snacks whenever you're hungry!
Katherine Hennessy says
Hi! Where do you have more ideas of high volume low calorie options meals?
Faith VanderMolen says
Hi Katherine! I'm so glad you commented on this post because I had forgotten about it! I don't believe I have combined more high volume, low calorie recipe into another post that I can share with you right now, but you've inspired me to look through my recipes and create a more thorough post on this topic. In general, veggies are a great place to start when looking to add volume but not too many calories to meals. Thanks for the inspiration and I'll hopefully have another post or YT video up on that soon!
Liv @ Healthy Liv says
Your meals look delicious, as always! Question for you, just because I've been wondering 🙂 You don't seem to eat typical vegan protein sources like beans, tofu, etc. so I was just wondering your reasoning behind that. I know that there is a bit of protein in all fruits and veggies, so does that add up to be enough for your daily intake? I know that as a society we tend to overemphasize how much protein people need in a day, so do you think it's possible to get enough just eating fruits and veggies? Thanks, Faith!
Thanks Liv!! And that's a great question!! Yeah, I don't eat a lot of beans or tofu (at least not lately, although I do go through phases), but I definitely think it's possible to get enough protein in eating just fruits and veggies, BUT you have to eat enough! A head of lettuce has about 7 grams of protein and only 100 calories and broccoli has more protein than steak per calorie!!
I actually used a website called chronometer earlier on when I started eating more fruits and veggies to make sure I was getting enough protein and calories. I don't need to use it anymore, but it was really helpful for me to see where I was lacking. For this day for eats I actually did track and my protein came to about 45 grams, which in my opinion is plenty! (Looking back at it also made me realize that I left out a picture of a chickpea peanut butter bite...whoops!). This day was definitely high in the produce department, but other days I'll eat oatmeal with ground flax and chia seeds for breakfast and that kind of breakfast has about 14 grams right there!
Wow...this is a loooong reply, but I hope it helps to answer your question!
Oooh all of those colors - so delicious!
I love sweet potatoes.
And veggies make me feel the best - I love a colorful, veggie-ful meal!! Thanks for sharing your WIAW eats. I love WIAW!
Thanks Melissa!! We're on the same page I think: veggies + sweet potatoes!! YUM!
I eat meat but I definitely eat WAY more veggies although I'm not big on fruit. I probably eat an entire head of lettuce every night too and my hubby calls me a rabbit! It totally fills me up and I feel amazing when I eat as many veggies as I possibly can!
Haha!! I've been known to eat "rabbit food" too! Veggies seriously are the way to go:)
That's pretty much my motto when it comes to choosing what to eat during the day - make choices that make me feel best and health will follow! For me that means nutrient dense vegetables, fruits, some healthy plant-based starches, high quality meats and healthy fats like avocado and coconut oil. Surprisingly, I found when I snack less and eat bigger meals, my energy is much more sustained. Weird right?
Love that motto Jillie! I also am in a phase where bigger meals sustain me more than snacking, and that hasn't always been the case. And avocados...the best!!
[email protected] says
I am with you about the high volume/low calorie eats. I feel my best when I eat lots of fruits and veggies.
Sweet potatoes are the best thing ever. Just sayin.
Cool heather!! And yeah, I'm right there with you: sweet potatoes are my JAM!
Dani @ DaniCaliforniaCooks says
When I'm having a "hungry" day I do the same - high volume and low calories!
Totally Dani! I love being able to eat all I want, feel full and satisfied, without overeating!
I LOVE your meals and totally get why sometimes you feel uncomfortable when eating around others, Im the same way! I eat a lot, but like you its low density food!
It's always nice to know others eat the same way and have awkward/uncomfortable moments like me:) Thanks for commenting Bethany!
Arman @ thebigmansworld says
Wow, I am in awe/envy of your stomach!!!!!! I love veggies but need to be wary of my consumption as my stomach can go absolutely crazy!
Thanks for linking up, Happy WIAW!
Haha! Thanks...I guess!?! And I totally understand. I had to ease my way into this life-style. Otherwise...well, we'll leave that to your imagination;)
Leah M @ love me, feed me says
I eat very similarly to you actually! I loooove my giant nana ice cream bowls and massive salads.
Sweet potatoes are definitely my favourite! I actually like the white ones more than the orange. Purple yams are always so good and so fun too! I made the switch from orange to white because I was turning reallllllly orange-y/yellow from my insane consumption of sweet potato and squash hahaha.
Yay for nana ice cream and massive salads!! I haven't had a white potato in ages and have still never tried a purple yam. I need to get on that!! Glad to know you're not orange anymore;)
Sydni Jackson says
Okay, after I read Eat to Live a couple years ago, I tried to eat like you do now. But I didn't feel well! I just couldn't make myself eat THAT much, and so I wasn't able to get enough calories. Did you feel weird at all when you made the switch? I've had trouble articulating it, but I felt very thirsty (though water didn't satisfy) - it was this weird feeling in my throat, and my stomach wasn't super hungry or appetized either. Do you think that's the feeling that Dr. Furhman talks about that's "real" hunger (as opposed to stomach grumbles)? I don't know... tell me your thoughts!!
Good questions Sydni! For me the change was really gradual. At first I just cut out animal products. Then I learned about reading ingredient labels. Then I learned about the importance of eating whole foods over processed foods. Then I realized I need to up my portion sizes if I'm cutting all of these things out of my diet in order to get all the nutrients I need. So for me, my large portion sizes didn't come all at once. It's maybe been months of gradually changing small things and increasing portion sizes.
The feeling your explaining is interesting!! I've definitely had seasons when I didn't feel my best or when I didn't feel satisfied, but for me I think that was lack of calorie or water. I seriously drink SO much water. Did you track your calorie/nutrients when you made the switch? I used chronometer when I started eating more lower-calorie foods to make sure I was meeting all my needs and that was eye opening. I definitely wasn't getting enough!
These topics are so hard. I definitely love and promote a plant-based diet, but I know some people have had negative experiences with more extreme versions. I think it's good to remember that you can reap so many benefits from eating more plants, even if you aren't entirely plant-based.
I hope my rambling was somewhat helpful and that you can find some answers to your questions/symptoms!!