5 "Project" Foods to Help You Eat Less


A Pomegranites And A Half
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I’m all about creating recipes that have BIG portion sizes with SMALL calorie counts. By the time you get to the bottom of the dish, you’re feeling full and satisfied, and you didn’t blow all of your calories for the day. Another way to slow down your eating and increase your satisfaction? Break out the "project" foods - you know, those foods found in nature that take a while to break down and chew. I promise they’re worth it!

If there’s a fruit that’s more difficult to eat than a whole pomegranate, I haven’t found it. But in this case, difficult is good: It takes some time and effort to crack open the hard-skinned fruit and extract the seeds. And with 72 calories and 3.5 grams of fiber per half cup, you’re looking at a seriously nutritious snack. Snack on plain pomegranate seeds or add them to your yogurt or oatmeal. 


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Not only is grapefruit low in calories and high in fiber, but it’s also a classic project food. It’s not conducive to peeling by hand, so you've got to have a strategy. Slice it in half, and score the fruit; then use one of those curved and serrated knives to scoop out the pieces. An easier option? After halving the grapefruit just cut the fruit into wedges. While that route is quicker, grapefruit still takes a good long while to eat - the tart flavor makes it pretty much impossible to eat too fast. Have an entire medium grapefruit for around 80 calories. I like it sprinkled with a little no-calorie sweetener.


Project Food to Eat Less: Artichoke
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The mighty artichoke is the KING of project foods. You’ve gotta cook it, which takes a while itself, and then you need to extract the “meat,” which is always a process. I take the individual artichoke leaves and scrape the meat out with my top teeth (some people use their bottom teeth. Your call!) And don't forget to enjoy the artichoke bottom once the leaves are gone... It's the BEST part! On its own, an entire medium cooked artichoke has around 65 calories, 10 grams of fiber, and 3.5 grams of protein. Don’t compromise the stats by dipping the leaves in buttery or mayo-laden sauces! Salsa is my top pick for dipping.


Project Food to Eat Less: Shellfish
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If you’re looking for a low-calorie, low-fat, high-protein dinner that’ll elongate your mealtime without upping your food intake, then crab legs and lobster might be worth the splurge. If you’ve ever wrestled with a nutcracker and a crab’s leg, you know it takes a whole lotta work for a bit of (amazingly delicious) meat. Clams and mussels are also good options even if it isn't always easy to get those suckers out of their shells. To keep your shellfish low in calories, trade butter for fresh lemon. Also important to note is that shellfish are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which can jumpstart your metabolism.

Butternut Squash and Spaghetti Squash

Project Food to Eat Less: Butternut Squash and Spaghetti Squash
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Winter squash is one of those foods that you can’t mindlessly chomp on – you need to prepare it first. Breaking squash down is a serious task and then you need to scrape out the seeds. Well worth the effort! Butternut squash is perfect for baked-not-fried French fries, and spaghetti squash is the ultimate pasta swap. 

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