This afternoon I ate a bagel for snack. Bagels have the equivalent calories of 4 slices of bread, so I started off eating only half of it, saving the rest for tomorrow. I then found I was still very hungry, so I ate the rest. But even after eating the entire bagel I was still starving. What happened?
The concept of empty calories usually means a food with a lot of calories which lacks vitamins and minerals (think chips or cookies, which are loaded with added fats and sugar). In a similar way, this bagel was providing me with empty calories since I needed so much more to satisfy my hunger.
I drank throughout the day, but was still quite thirsty when I left work, and bagels have little to no water content, compared to say grapes or pepper slices.
I didn't put any butter or margarine on my bagel, so I was taking in zero fat, and some fat is key for satiety—preferably healthy fat (e.g. smart balance).
Protein is another macronutrient essential for feeling full and bagels are primarily carbs and low in protein.
Even with some of the fiber it provided (it was partially whole wheat), the bagel wasn't enough to be a filling snack for all of the above reasons.
When planning a healthy snack, the 4 key elements to keep in mind are: protein, healthy fat, fiber and water.
Here are some prime examples: