Most diets recommend that we eat less. But while some who follow this calorie-cutting advice do lose weight, many also suffer hunger pangs in the process.

Is there another way? Yes, you can restrict your calories without starving, according to research conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Mayo Clinic. It’s simple: Just replace high-calorie foods with their low-calorie counterparts. (Think loading up on steamed veggies instead of french fries.) This allows you to eat bigger portions, and it raises your satisfaction quotient.

“Extreme calorie cutting doesn’t work,” concurs nutritionist Tracy Noisette of New York City’s Nutrition Solutions. “When people almost starve themselves to lose weight, they are more likely to surrender to unhealthy temptations and fattening meal choices.”

Noisette suggests enjoying meals rich in whole grains, fiber and water to ensure gratification after you’ve eaten. It’s proven. These low-calorie foods help keep hunger under control.