Volume Eating for Weight Loss

Many of my weight loss patients are interested in volume eating, which I think is a great option to incorporate into a sustainable weight loss plan. I happen to do it myself. Why do you ask? It allows me to eat a higher volume of food, keep me satisfied, and lose weight.

This blog post will cover what high volume foods you can incorporate into recipes to give them bulk. At the same time, not increase the overall calories a great deal. Even though incorporating high volume foods into your nutrition plan does not mean you can’t track your calories. I mean I’ve never heard of anyone overeating shredded cabbage before, but there’s a first time for everything. So for consistency’s sake, please make sure you measure or weigh whatever high volume foods you eat or add to your favorite recipes. 

Like many diets and health trends, volume eating in and of itself is not a new concept. Many of my dietician and nutritionist friends recommend it because volume eating incorporates calorie density. It’s also a great way to increase the nutrition value of your foods plus add fiber. You’ll see what I mean in a minute.

What is Calorie Density?

Here’s a quick explanation of calorie density. It’s when foods have different weights and volumes not necessarily proportionate to their calorie density. Picture a head of lettuce vs. a serving size of ice cream. Not a yummy analogy (I know which I’d rather have), but in short, it means there are small, light foods with tons of calories or large, more weighty/bulky foods with few calories. You’re thinking, ok, Charlie OBVIOUSLY ice cream has more calories than lettuce because it’s JUNK FOOD. Junk food makes most everyone except for the very fortunate few (i.e., our staff  Personal Trainer Miles Grooms who ate three donuts right in front of me yesterday) gain weight. To this, I say, not so. 

Pound for pound foods that carry the highest calorie density is what many people think of as health or superfoods; nut butter, seeds, dried fruit, and (gasp) avocados, to name a few. These foods are certainly great for their high nutritional value. Not so great for your waistline. So next time you think you’re doing yourself a favor by eating a handful of almonds vs. a serving size of Doritos, please reconsider eating the Doritos if that’s what you’re craving. Sorry, I’ll get off my “junk food vs. health food for weight loss” soapbox and get back to the subject… 

So what’s a girl/guy to do?

How about adding some of these high volume foods to your favorite recipes?

Zucchini noodles
Cauliflower rice
Cauliflower mash
Butternut squash noodles
Spaghetti Squash
Shredded cabbage

For example, when I make spaghetti and meat sauce for my family I go high volume for myself. I put 2-3 cups of raw zucchini noodles in a huge bowl, top them with a cup or two of cooked spaghetti, add the sauce (meat is ground turkey) and some freshly grated parmesan cheese. The heat from the cooked pasta and sauce warm the zucchini, so its al dente. I get my veggies in, but better yet, I can enjoy a huge serving of food that most people think would typically be off limits while trying to lose weight. If I’m feeling peckish later in the evening, I might eat some light popcorn (my fave high volume snack) while I watch TV. 

If you want to try an awesome high volume food recipe that’s low in fat, high in protein and super tasty try this Shrimp Fried Rice created by our staff Fitness Nutrition Specialist Nicole Spaulding: 

Fried Rice:
1 tsp butter
2 cups cauliflower rice
1/2 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup grated, Carrots
1/2 cup diced bell pepper
1/2 cup diced onion
6 oz raw shrimp
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg white

½ tsp. honey
½ clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp, soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil

Heat a non-stick skillet and spray with cooking spray. Add egg white and cook through. Transfer to a plate.  Melt butter in the same pan and add onion, pepper, carrot, and minced garlic. Cook until onion is translucent. Add cauliflower rice, peas, egg white, regular rice. Cover and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes. Add shrimp, cover, and allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes until shrimp is cooked through.

Pour sauce on top and dig in. Makes 1 enormous serving!
Calories: 545
Carb: 60 grams
Fat: 13 grams
Protein: 51 grams
Fiber: 11 grams
Sugar: 21 grams

– Dr. Charlie

Do you have more questions about this blog post or Dr. Charlie Seltzer’s weight loss program? Contact Us, and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours. 

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