Remove Restrictions with the “Crowd-Out” Method

By Lisa Patterson

If you’ve tried dieting before, you’ve probably been faced with a long list of foods to avoid. Not only can this be tricky to navigate, but restriction can leave you feeling bored, hungry and unsatisfied with your meals.

But what if we said there was another way? A way that removes restriction, supports wellbeing and still allows you to enjoy the foods you love? Enter the “Crowding Out” method.
Instead of focusing on foods to avoid, the crowding out method places the focus on adding more nourishing foods to your plate. By consuming more of the good stuff, we’re able to literally ‘crowd out’ the foods which may not support our health. The best bit? There’s no need to go hungry! Shifting the focus from deprivation to the addition of nutrient-rich foods promotes satiety. By implementing this method, we are able to establish the foundations of a sustainable and balanced diet - supporting your macro and micro nutrient needs to encourage overall health and wellbeing.

Most importantly, you can still enjoy the foods you love - after all, moderation is key! However, among the many benefits of including more nutrient-rich foods is that meals tend to be more satisfying - leaving less room for cravings. In time, our palates also refine and adjust to these new flavours, helping to keep those cravings at bay.

Wondering where to start? Rather than limiting foods or calories, focus on getting the basics covered instead. Your daily serve of 5 vegetables and 2 fruits, opt for whole grains over refined, choose quality protein sources and enjoy healthy fats with most meals.

If you’re struggling with ideas on how to include more nourishing foods, adding a few extra serves of fresh produce is a brilliant place to start.

Do you tend to stick to the same fruits and veggies each week? Try selecting something a little different next time you’re at the supermarket. Of course, if kale isn’t your thing - don’t stress! Play around with a few different items from the fresh produce section and find what works for you.

You might also like to try swapping a few processed food items for whole food or less-processed versions. Generally speaking, processed foods tend to be more nutrient-poor and often higher on the glycemic index - leaving you feeling hungry again just a little while later (Schulte et al., 2015).  An example might be enjoying whole grain breads or opting for brown rice in place of white. 

While it may sound simple, consuming a few extra glasses of water each day works wonders for elevating your sense of wellbeing. The benefits of optimal hydration are endless, and include improvements to areas such as mood, concentration and energy levels (Zhang et al., 2021). So next time you find yourself reaching for that third coffee of the day, perhaps drink a glass or two of water and take note of how you feel.

Lastly, there’s no need to rapidly change the way you eat overnight. The basis of the crowding-out method is implementing lasting, sustainable and positive changes that work for you and your lifestyle.

 Simply add more of the good stuff in where you can, go at your own pace and revel in your growing sense of wellbeing!


Schulte, E. M., Avena, N. M., & Gearhardt, A. N. (2015). Which Foods May Be Addictive? The Roles of Processing, Fat Content, and Glycemic Load. PLoS One,      10 (2)

Zhang, J., Zhang, N., Liu, S., Du, S., He, H., & Ma, G. (2021). The comparison of water intake patterns and hydration biomarkers among young adults with different hydration statuses in Hebei, China. Nutrition & Metabolism, 18, 1-14. 




Lisa Patterson


she / her


Clinical Nutritionist (student BHSc) + B.CompMed 


Noosa, Australia



Fav Health Hack:

Enjoy ten minutes of sunlight first thing each morning to balance your circadian rhythm & set yourself up for the day ahead.





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