When you are planning your daily meals it is a good idea to understand how many calories certain foods items have. If you are trying to lose weight – knowing which foods have the lowest calories is priceless.
What Foods Have the Lowest Calories?
We all require food to live. It provides the body with important nutrients.
Food also provides the body with the energy (calories) it needs to power the many biological functions that keep us alive.
When we are trying to lose weight, calories may seem like the enemy but they are not. Unless of course you follow Dr Nowzaradans 1200 Calorie Diet
We are often our own worst enemy because so many of us have got in the habit of making poor food choices and consuming far more calories than our bodies need.
The fact that you are reading this article about foods with the lowest calories suggests you have already realized your failings and are ready to make a change for the better. Good for you.
This follows on from our article about foods that contain the most calories.
It may be obvious but …
Most of the foods that provide the lowest calories are fruits and vegetables.
That’s good news if you are a vegan or vegetarian.
If you don’t live a meat-free lifestyle it’s still good news because adding more fruit and vegetables to your diet will benefit your health in many ways.
Apart from providing you with extra vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber; fruit and vegetables also provide antioxidants that can help delay aging and offer protection against disease.
There’s a reason why health experts suggest everyone eats at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day.
20 Healthy Foods with the Lowest Calories
What foods have the lowest calories? Here are some suggestions.
Apples are very nutritious and they are a great option for mid-morning or afternoon snacks.
One cup of sliced apple (125 grams) provides Vitamins C and A, along with 2.6 grams of dietary fiber, but only has 57 calories.
As with many other fruits and vegetables, apples contain a lot of water.
A typical apple is 85 percent water and all that water, along with the fiber, makes apples very good for filling the stomach and keeping hunger away.
Most people associate carrots with good eyesight and rightly so. Carrots are rich in beta-carotene.
This converts to Vitamin A, which you need to get plenty of if you want to enjoy good eyesight.
However, as well as being good for the eyes, carrots are also one of the best low-calorie foods. A small, 7″ section of carrot (78g) only provides 30 calories.
Asparagus is another super-healthy vegetable that’s surprisingly low in calories. One, large asparagus spear (20g) only provides four calories.
If you add five large asparagus spears (100g) to your plate, you will still only be getting 16 calories.
Asparagus is not one of the cheapest vegetables to buy but most people love the taste and its very good for filling the stomach.
Some people will tell you celery is so low in calories it takes more energy to digest it than it provides.
That’s a nice thought but there is no evidence to prove this is true. There are no “negative-calorie” foods.
However, celery is a very low-calorie food. Each 100g-portion only provides 18 calories. You can eat a lot of celery without worrying about letting out your belt.
It doesn’t matter whether you choose red cabbage or white cabbage.
It’s all good. You can boil it or eat it raw in a salad. Do with it what you will, cabbage only provides around 22 calories per cup (89g).
Kale is a leafy green that’s so high in nutrition it’s earned a reputation as a superfood.
You normally use it in a similar way to cabbage but some people use it in smoothies.
There could be a lot to be said for this because research suggests drinking kale juice is very good for the heart.
Kale is also one of the top sources of Vitamin K and it only provides 34 calories per cup (67g).
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that many people love to hate.
It is a great appetite suppressing food as it fills you up and it only provides 31 calories per cup (91g) and it’s an excellent source of Vitamin C.
Each cup provides all the Vitamin C your body needs for a day plus an extra 35 percent on top
How can anyone hate such a nutritious, low-calorie food?
Research suggests it due to the glucosinolates broccoli contains. Some people find them bitter. Other people cannot taste them at all.
Beets are another great option when you are looking for low-calorie food.
A cup (136g) of diced beets only delivers 59 calories and this often undervalued root crop is an excellent source of nitrates and potassium.
Nitrates encourage vasodilation. This relaxes the blood vessels, improving blood circulation, and supporting healthy cardiovascular function.
Potassium also has the power to lower blood pressure so, as well as being one of the lowest-calorie foods, beets are very heart-friendly.
Arugula is a leafy green that has a peppery flavor and makes a great addition to a salad.
It’s a good source of Vitamin K and also provides many other important nutrients including calcium and potassium. How many calories? Just six per cup (20g).
10. Brussels Sprouts
Each 100g-serving of Brussels sprouts only provides 43 calories.
These small, green balls of goodness are loaded with Vitamin C and provide many other vitamins and minerals that can help you keep feeling in tip-top shape.
Although most people boil them, you may be surprised to learn it’s also possible to eat sprouts raw.
Cauliflower is a good alternative to higher-carb vegetables and grains and, these days, some supermarkets stock cauliflower rice.
With its distinctive flavor and high nutritional value, it’s an excellent alternative to white rice and can add a little variety to your meals.
A 100g-serving of white, long-grain rice provides 130 calories.
The same size serving of cauliflower only contains 25 calories.
If you take a little time to think about it, it’s easy to see how substituting cauliflower rice for normal rice could make a big difference to the amount of fat around your belly.
Cucumbers are 95 percent water and only provide 16 calories per 100g.
Like a lot of foods that have the lowest number of calories per gram, cucumber is a great addition to salads.
It’s also good for helping you maintain adequate hydration on a hot summer’s day.
13. Iceberg Lettuce
Iceberg lettuce is another salad favorite with a high water content.
Its nutritional value is not as good as romaine lettuce but iceberg lettuce is still a great addition to any low calorie or low carb diet.
A one-cup serving (72g) of shredded iceberg lettuce only has 10 calories and 2.1g of carbs.
A cup of sliced, raw fennel (87g) provides 27 calories and 2.7g of dietary fiber.
There are lots of ways you can incorporate fennel into your diet.
It’s a good substitute for celery in stews and soups, you can braise it, roast it, grill it or fry it.
It’s not just the bulb that’s edible, you can eat the fronds as well and, when chopped small, they can be a healthy garnish to sprinkle over a meal.
Fennel is also a natural diuretic and helps the weight loss process.
15. White Mushrooms
They are not to everyone’s taste, but mushrooms are another low calorie, nutritious food.
A cup of sliced mushrooms (70g) has 15 calories and 2.2 grams of protein. Vegetarians and vegans (often vegan bodybuilders) often incorporate mushrooms into their meals as a meat substitute.
16. Red Bell Peppers
One cup of chopped red bell peppers (149g) provides just 46 calories and more than three times the RDA for Vitamin C.
Red bell peppers are also rich in Vitamins A and B6.
It’s not just the low calories that make bell peppers such a diet-friendly food though.
They also provide a compound called capsaicin (also known as capsicum) that research data highlights that it reduces hunger. It is also a thermic food – a food that increases metabolism and burns fat.
Grapefruit is also a good option when you are trying to eat less and lose weight.
Eating half a grapefruit (123g) for breakfast is a good way to start your day on the right track.
Half a grapefruit will only give you 26 calories to burn and the high water and fiber content of the fruit will help keep your stomach feeling full.
Certain compounds in grapefruit appear to lower cholesterol and the fruit also supports healthy immune function by providing plenty of Vitamins A and C.
Everything your mother ever told you about spinach is probably true.
It’s a super-healthy leafy green you should try to eat regularly.
Spinach is a nutritional powerhouse that’s high in Vitamins A and K and contains a surprising amount of protein for a leafy vegetable.
A 100 g of spinach provides 2.9 g of protein and just 23 calories.
Onions are a versatile vegetable that always add a lot of flavor to a meal.
They are key ingredients in curries, stews, chili con carne, and many other dishes from all over the world.
Onions also taste good when you eat them raw although, admittedly, they won’t do good things for your breath.
A cup of sliced onions (115g) provides 46 calories and 2g of dietary fiber.
Regardless of whether you consider them a vegetable or a fruit, tomatoes are another versatile food option that’s popular all over the world.
A medium-sized tomato (123g) provides 22 calories and 292 mg of potassium.
Tomatoes also provide lycopene. It’s a nutrient and antioxidant that boasts many health benefits and may offer protection against some illnesses.
A medium-sized tomato (123g) provides 22 calories and 292 mg of potassium.
This concludes our article on foods that have the lowest calories.