the best super low calorie foods for weight loss
One of the biggest problems I faced when trying to lose weight was resisting the temptation to snack between meals.
A biscuit with morning coffee, a chocolate bar with my afternoon tea and another biscuit before bed is how it usually went!
And before I knew it I’d consumed a boat load of extra calories between meals without even realizing it.
The key to any successful diet is to eat foods that will keep you full and satisfied but that are also low in calories.
Target these foods and you won’t feel the need to eat as often and when you do eat, you’ll be consuming less of the stuff that’s going to make your waist band balloon.
So, today I want to explore 21 zero calorie foods which will :-
- Keep you full between meals thereby aiding weight loss
- Provide a whole catalog of vitamins, minerals and nutrients
- Satisfy your desire for great tasting food
- Help you maintain healthy eating habits that are conducive to weight loss
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what are zero calorie foods?
Firstly, although the term is used in dieting circles, “zero calorie foods” is a bit of a misnomer and can come across as somewhat misleading.
Zero calorie doesn’t mean that the food contains zero calories – all foods contain calories!
The idea is that certain foods are so low in calories that you actually expend more calories digesting them than the calories you take on by eating them.
Essentially, you end up with a calorie deficit which is why these foods are sometimes called “negative calorie foods” ( i.e. you’ve used up more calories than you’ve gained).
The science is still out on whether “zero calorie” foods actually do this!
The difficulty is that each person’s metabolic rate is different from another’s, so while I might burn 20 calories digesting one of these foods, you might only burn 15!
Even if the science is still a bit sketchy, one thing the experts are agreed on is that these foods are super healthy and are brilliant for weight loss!
why are zero calorie foods great for weight loss?
The idea that zero calorie foods might create a calorie deficit is not really the reason why they’re lauded for their weight loss prowess.
That’s the wrong focus point!
Any calorie deficit that these foods create is likely to be negligible in any event and, as above, the jury is still out on whether these foods even do this.
The more important thing is that these foods are super low in calories to begin with. I learned from my own weight loss journey that these are the foods you want to be eating to see fast results.
Not only that but many of them are full of fiber and water which keeps you fuller for longer and will help you fight off those mid morning and mid afternoon snack attacks!
The fiber found in these foods is generally the soluble type which has been proven to aid weight loss for a number of different reasons.
So now we’ve mulled over the geeky science stuff, let’s explore 21 zero calorie foods that you must try as part of your weight loss journey!
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Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put in your body and is a well deserved recipient of the cliched “super food” title!
It’s rammed back full of fiber, vitamin C, A, K and B9.
It is a super versatile vegetable as it can be eaten raw, blanched, boiled, stir fried, steamed and microwaved.
It contains only 34 calories per 100g which is around 3-4 medium sized florets.
Not only that but broccoli has been shown to ward off cancer, reduce inflammation, promote digestion and reduce constipation.
Rich in many nutrients, vitamins and minerals
High in fiber which is great for weight loss
Only 34 calories per 100g
Many additional health benefits for overall health
Strawberries not only taste great, but they are a great source of vitamin C, potassium and fiber.
Strawberries are low in fat and are packed to the rafters with powerful antioxidants.
They contain only 32 calories per 100g which is about 4 medium sized fruits.
Strawberries are the perfect treat to substitute your biscuit for.
They are quite versatile too and make the perfect accompaniment for cereal, yogurt and other low fat desserts.
Rich in vitamin C, potassium and fiber
Only 32 calories per 100g
Versatile – perfect for desserts and snacks
These orange heroes are rich in minerals, vitamins and fiber and are extremely weight loss friendly.
Carrots have been linked to lower cholesterol and are amazing for eye health.
They contain only 41 calories per 100g which is about one and a half normal sized carrots.
Like broccoli, carrots can be boiled, blanched, baked, microwaved and eaten raw.
They are perfect as part of a main meal or as a convenient and healthy dipper into dips like humus.
Rich in minerals, vitamins and fiber and great or eye health
Weight loss friendly
Only 41 calories per 100g
Perfect for main meals or snacks
Green apples are a super tasty snack loaded up with antioxidants, vitamin A, fiber and polyphenols.
Apples are also great at aiding digestion!
Apples contain only 58 calories per 100 grams which is one medium sized fruit.
Apples are perfect eaten on their on or as part of a fruit salad or smoothie.
Packed with with antioxidants, vitamin A, fiber and polyphenols
Only 58 calories per 100g
Versatile in salads, as snacks or in smoothies
Celery contains zero fat and is high in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin K, folate and potassium.
Celery packs a minuscule 19 calories per 100g which is around 4 medium sized sticks.
I just love dipping celery in healthy dips like tzatziki or humus. It’s also perfect for soups or in salads.
Contains zero fat
High in fiber, minerals and vitamins
Super low calories at only 19 per 100g
Great for dips and snacking
Watermelon is packed full of vitamin A, B5 and C and powerful antioxidants.
It also contains zero fat.
Watermelon is a great choice for dieting as it is mostly water which will keep you hydrated and full.
Watermelon contains only 30 calories per 100 grams which is around 1 full slice.
I love watermelon after my workout due to its high water content, which I find refreshes and rehydrates me.
It is also great on a summer’s day.
Rich in vitamins and antioxidants
Contains zero fat
Contains only 30 calories per 100g
Hydrating and refreshing
Lettuce is a fantastic source of vitamin c, folate and calcium.
It’s also super cheap and very versatile as it can be used in salads, on sandwiches and even as foods parcels or wraps.
Lettuce contains just 17 calories per 100g which is about half a full lettuce.
Again, lettuce is another food that is very hydrating as it’s mostly water. This helps promote fullness and curb hunger which is great for dieters.
Rich in vitamin C, folate and calcium
Only 17 calories per 100g
Great for hydration and curbing hunger pangs
Spinach is another food that is definitely worthy of the “super food” label.
Spinach is loaded with iron, folate, vitamins A, C and E, fiber and chlorophyll.
It really is one of the best greens you can eat.
Spinach has a tiny 23 calories per 100g which is around a medium sized salad bag.
Spinach is perfect in smoothies, as a salad, as a side to your main meal and even as a food parcel.
Rich in vitamins, iron, folate, fiber and chlorophyll
Only 23 calories per 100g
Great in salads, main meals or smoothies
A true super food
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Onions have many health benefits including reducing the risk of cancer, maintaining skin and hair health and even fighting depression.
Onions are perfect in salads, as toppings and as a bulking food to help flesh out your meal.
Best of all, they are stupidly cheap and are available all year!
One medium sized onion packs around 40 calories per 100g.
Help to fight off cancer, improve hair and skin health and can improve mood
Only 40 calories per 100g
Great for salads, toppings or for bulking
Radishes are high in fiber, protect the heart and help control blood pressure.
They are also very high in vitamin C which helps improve your immunity.
Radishes are perfect for salads, as a side to a main meal and even as a dipper.
Radishes pack only 19 calories per 100g which is around 5 bulbs.
High in fiber and thought to protect the heart
Only 19 calories per 100g
Great in salads
Lower blood pressure
Asparagus is high in vitamin k, folate and is proven to prevent heart disease.
It is fairly expensive but it is one of the most versatile vegetables in that it can be fried, boiled, blanched and baked.
Asparagus contains only 20 calories per 100g which is around 5 or 6 stalks.
Rich in vitamin k, folate and proven to prevent heart disease
Only 20 calories per 100g
Beets are one of the best foods on the planet for your health.
They are great at lowering blood pressure and are stuffed with fiber, potassium, vitamin B9, iron and vitamin C.
Beetroot contains only 43 calories per 100g which is the equivalent of around 2 bulbs.
A true super food
Full of essential vitamins and minerals
Only 43 calories per 100g
Proven to lower blood pressure
Mushrooms contain lots of anti-oxidants and are thought to protect your brain and boost your memory as you age.
They are a rich source of B vitamins which help keep you energized throughout the day.
Mushrooms can be eaten raw, fried, in salads, stuffed and compliment many different meals.
Mushrooms contain only 13 calories per 100g gram which is 5 medium sized mushrooms.
Rich in anti-oxidants and great for the brain
Full of B vitamins
Only 13 calories per 100g
other notable mentions
A few other worthwhile mentions are:-
- Lemons and limes – 24 calories per 100g
- Peppers – 30 calories per 100g
- Sugar snap peas – 41 calories per 100g
- Papaya – 35 calories per 100g
- Cauliflower – 25 calories per 100g
- Sprouts – 40 calories per 100g
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As you can see, there are many low calorie foods that you can incorporate into your diet to keep things varied and exciting.
Get into the habit of including these foods in your weekly shop and with your meal plans and you’ll be taking a big step to seeing some great weight loss results.
About the author
Catherine holds a bachelor of science degree and is a registered mental health nurse.
She is a self-confessed health and fitness freak, nutrition fanatic and mental health boffin.
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