Add Grated or Shredded Vegetables
Adding extra veggies is always an easy way to increase the volume. All of these add one to over two cups of additional volume to your dish. Something else to consider when choosing a way to get a bulkier bowl of food: the under-appreciated micronutrient! All of the vegetables listed below are a good source of potassium. Potassium is an electrolyte and helps the muscular, skeletal and digestive systems operate more efficiently. These will also contribute to your Vitamin C, Vitamin A, iron, and fiber intake as well as a host of others.
1. Spaghetti Squash
We all enjoy spaghetti squash as the almighty pasta substitute. Consider adding it to your morning eggs to to a quiche to get your bowl fuller with only 5 more grams of carbohydrates and 1 gram of protein.
3. Shredded Greens
This is not revolutionary. I mean, shredded lettuce is the ultimate staple in a fit chick’s fridge. There’s more than just shredded iceberg lettuce, though. Spinach, Kale and Romaine are all great green alternatives to get more micros in than iceberg will provide. Add any of these to any macro bowl and it’s a few cups bigger.
The underdog, though, is cabbage or the easier pre-shredded coleslaw blend. Not only can you make the obvious slaw and add it to other salad blends, but it’s pretty great cooked too. Throw it in a wok with a couple drops of sesame oil and whatever other veggies you have in the fridge and you have a great stir-fry.
100 grams of shredded zucchini offers about a cup of additional volume to your meal without effecting the flavor too much. The best part – only 17 calories, 3g of carbohydrates and 1g of protein. I like to add zucchini to oatmeal, baked goods and macro bowls, like my Baja Fish Bowl.
Add Additional Liquid or Solids
Are you tired of the typical meat, rice, veggies combo? A great way to mix it up and fill up a bit more is to toss it all in a bowl with some fat free broth. Add your favorite seasonings or fresh herbs like parsley or thyme – instant soup!
The obvious point here is that it is important to hit your daily water intake. If you are working out regularly and have a moderate sodium intake, I recommend everyone shoot for a gallon of water a day. In addition to preventing dehydration, adequate water consumption will help reduce water retention and help you feel full throughout the day. Have you ever noticed those days your macros run high are the days your water intake runs low? Not a coincidence!
The less obvious suggestion here is to use water to thin out higher calorie additives, or more specifically, sauces. For example, pesto is a delicious way to incorporate some additional fat and flavor into your meals. Pesto sauce, however, can be north of 200 calories (>20g fat) for 60g. The alternative is using only 15g and a couple Tablespoons of water to thin it out and increase coverage of the food you’re coating it with.
The calorie free way to add a ton of easy volume to your protein shakes or ice cream. Protein ice cream is a great way to curb a sweet tooth and hit your protein goal at the same time. The additional ice creates a thicker, ice cream-like texture and fills you up really well.
Looking for an option with even fewer calories: Try adding a scoop or two of your BCAA’s, 4-6 oz water, 2-3 cups of ice to your blender and you have a 0-20 calorie recovery slushy snack.
8. Sparkling Water
Drinking flavored sparkling water is a quick little hack that helps fill your stomach up in a hurry. The added carbonation will actually help to fill your stomach up a bit quicker, albeit for a short amount of time, due to the addition of gas. These are also a great way to curb sweet cravings at 0 calories.
I suggest tracking this separate from your daily water intake as they generally have added sodium. If you find ones that you like that are sodium free, feel free to count it toward your daily gallon
This option is, by far, the most calorie dense of any of the 11 suggestions. However, it is marginally less than similar alternatives and has about triple the volume. 4 cups of oil-free, air-popped popcorn has similar (but better) macros to 9 tortilla chips, only 9!
You don’t need a huge electric air-popper to get air-popped popcorn. This microwave popper is my favorite thing ever!
Sugar free Jell-O cups need to be a staple in your fridge for when you get late night munchies! One snack cup is 1g protein…that’s it. A great option to curb a late night sweet tooth or snack attack.
A zero calorie addition to your lunch time salad, or just something crunchy to hold you over between meals. Sodium can add up quickly with these, so watch your intake or drink more water!
These are 11 ways to fill out your plates a little more than maybe you knew how before, or do you? Please comment with any of your low-calorie ways to fill out your macros with as much volume as possible. Comment bellow with suggestions.