4 Secret Ways to Make Every Meal More Filling

4 Secret Ways to Make Every Meal More FillingWho wouldn’t want to lose weight while eating huge servings of delicious foods? It’s the Hungry Girl way! And while I’ve met thousands of fans over the years who’ve shed pounds with my recipes, I’m always asked, “When will you come out with a specific diet plan that takes the guesswork out of weight loss?” The answer is now, with my new book, The Hungry Girl Diet. One great way: Try one of my food-expanders. These are low-calorie foods that’ll pump up your portion sizes. Here are my four favorites from the book.

Portabellas and other mushrooms

Mushrooms, especially portabellas, have major meaty potential. Each large mushroom cap (or 2 cups chopped) has about 35 calories, 2 g fiber, and 3 g protein. Add chopped mushrooms to extra-lean ground beef (4 percent fat or less) when you make taco meat for a slimmed-down swap. This trick works with burgers and meatloaf, too.


This summer squash is especially good at imitating starchy foods like fettuccine and lasagna noodles. A medium zucchini has only about 30 calories, 2 g fiber, and 2.5 g protein. You can completely replace potatoes with zucchini when making cheesy appetizers: Just microwave a whole zucchini until soft, cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the flesh. Sprinkle with cheese, tomato, and scallions, and heat for a potato-skin-inspired snack.


Here’s another great way to expand carb-loaded foods. A cup of cauliflower has only about 30 calories, 2 g fiber, and 2 g protein. I use it to super-size pasta dishes like mac and cheese and fettuccine Alfredo (made with light cheeses, of course!). Steamed cauliflower blends in seamlessly.

Broccoli coleslaw

This mix of shredded broccoli stems, carrots, and cabbage can be used to bulk up spaghetti dishes, stir-frys, and even meatloaf. Each cup of broccoli coleslaw has 25 calories, 3 g fiber, and 2 g protein. I love to use it as pasta swap, skipping traditional noodles altogether. Just steam the slaw and toss with canned crushed tomatoes, garlic powder, and onion powder. By Lisa Lillien