Watching your weight and avoiding excessive calories doesn’t have to leave you weak and hungry. Fortunately, many delicious foods will tickle your taste buds and fill your tummy without packing on extra pounds. Depriving yourself of food can leave you feeling listless and irritable. If you choose a diet plan that makes you feel bad, chances are you won’t be able to stick to the plan and drop weight. Check out these 20 foods that taste great and are low in calories.
Munching on an apple provides your body with the fiber it needs to keep you feeling full longer. According to the Washington Apple Commission, one large, juicy apple contains only 130 calories and provides 20% of your daily dietary fiber requirements. In addition, apples contain vitamin C and potassium. What you won’t find in that apple is fat, sodium, or cholesterol. Now that’s a sweet snack!
A half-cup serving of boiled asparagus contains only about 20 calories. However, this tasty green vegetable is packed with nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. Adding asparagus to your diet provides your body with fiber, antioxidants, and essential minerals without the fear of weight gain.
Colorful berries such as strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries make a sweet treat without ruining your waistline. One cup of blueberries contains 85 calories, one cup of strawberry halves contains 49 calories, and one cup of fresh raspberries contains about 64 calories. These sweet fruits do contain sugar. However, they are also rich in antioxidants, which may help fight against heart disease, inflammation, and high blood sugar levels.
17. Broccoli and Cauliflower
Broccoli and cauliflower are cruciferous vegetables that can be enjoyed raw, steamed, stir-fried, or roasted. One cup of crunchy, raw broccoli florets contains only 20 calories. That cup of broccoli also provides a healthy dose of vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate. Meanwhile, one cup of raw cauliflower contains 25 calories, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, and folate. Enjoy these crunchy veggies together in a delicious salad tossed with a light, mayonnaise dressing.
You can help fill up your tummy by enjoying a warm cup of broth before a meal. Although the exact number of calories may vary, one cup of low-sodium chicken broth may contain around 38 calories. Enjoying broth-based soups instead of their creamy, dairy-rich counterparts can help you consume fewer calories.
15. Brussels Sprouts
A one-half cup serving of this savory vegetable contains only 28 calories. However, eating Brussels sprouts provides your body with fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. Ina Garten has a recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts that requires only four ingredients. Simply drizzle the sprouts with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast in the oven.
One cup of raw cabbage contains only 22 calories, but at 9% of your daily fiber requirement, it fills you up fast. Detoxinasta has a recipe for a crunchy Sweet Sesame-Lime Cabbage Salad. This salad contains 163 calories, 1g of fat, 39g of carbohydrates, 6g of fiber, and 3g of protein per serving. To make this recipe, you will need shredded cabbage, carrots, red onion, fresh chives, and cilantro. You will coat the vegetables in a tasty sesame-lime dressing.
With its high water content, celery makes a refreshing snack that won’t make you gain weight. One cup of chopped celery contains only 16 calories. However, one cup of celery also provides 6% of your daily fiber requirement. Enjoy celery sticks dipped in hummus or topped with nut butter for a satisfying snack. Keep in mind, one tablespoon of hummus is around 25 calories, while one tablespoon of peanut butter contains 100 calories.Related: 20 Vegetables and Plants That Pack a Punch of Protein
Cucumbers are another vegetable high in water content. A one-half cup serving of cucumber slices with their peels is only eight calories. Cookie and Kate has a delicious recipe for Favorite Quinoa Salad. This salad is packed with vegetables, including cucumber, red bell peppers, red onion, and parsley. Chickpeas and quinoa add extra nutrients, and a delicious vinaigrette tops it all. At 205 calories per serving, this tasty, filling salad can’t be beat!
11. Citrus Fruits
Sweet or tangy citrus fruits such as clementines, oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit are high in nutrition without being high in calories. One clementine contains 35 calories, ½ grapefruit contains 50 calories, and 1 ounce of lemon or lime juice provides eight calories. These zesty fruits are high in vitamin C and health-boosting antioxidants.
10. Garlic and Onions
Garlic and onions are vegetables that add a deep flavor to salads, casseroles, soups, and stews. Along with shallots, leeks, and scallions, these veggies are in the allium family. Low in calories, studies suggest that these vegetables may offer protection against cancer.Related: 7 Longevity Benefits of Eating Plant Protein
9. Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices add flavor to your cooking without adding calories. Furthermore, using spices instead of salt can be beneficial for preventing high blood pressure and water retention. Experiment with fresh herbs such as cilantro, mint, parsley, and basil. Try adding spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cumin, paprika, and ginger to your recipes.
8. Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens such as Swiss chard, spinach, and kale are low in calories and high in nutrients. One cup of chopped, raw kale contains 34 calories while providing much more than 100% of your daily vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin K requirements. One cup of either raw spinach leaves or raw Swiss chard contains only 7 calories.
Lettuces such as romaine or iceberg lettuce are also low in calories. Enjoy these greens in a salad topped with fresh veggies such as carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, and cucumber for extra fiber and nutrients.Related: 10 Fat-Burning Plant Foods That Have More Protein Than an Egg
Watermelon and cantaloupe are refreshing fruits that make a tasty treat while providing wholesome nutrients. One cup of cantaloupe balls contains only 60 calories. However, cantaloupe also provides more than 100% of your daily vitamin A and vitamin C requirements. Meanwhile, one cup of watermelon contains 46 calories and provides refreshment and hydration.
If you are craving a hearty meal but want to avoid calorie-laden, fatty cuts of meat, give mushrooms a try. One cup of sliced, grilled portobello mushrooms contains only 42 calories while providing riboflavin, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium. Compare that to the 183 calories contained in 100 grams of grilled sirloin steak.
Vibrant, colorful bell peppers in shades of red, orange, green, or yellow are also low in calories. One cup of chopped red sweet pepper contains 46 calories and provides a variety of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and folate. Enjoy bell peppers on their own, on top of a salad, or in soups. You can make delicious stuffed peppers with lean ground turkey and a variety of vegetables.Related: 10 High-Fat Foods You Can Definitely Eat While Dieting
3. Root Vegetables
Root vegetables such as beets, carrots, rutabaga, radishes, and turnips are also tasty and filling foods that won’t cause you to tip the scales. Sprinkle raw carrots and radishes onto salads or dip them into a light dressing. Beets, rutabaga, and turnips can be roasted in the oven for a savory side dish.
The tomato is a versatile fruit that is low in calories. One cup of cherry tomatoes contains 27 calories. You can enjoy tomatoes by the handful, simmered into soups or sauces, or chopped up into a refreshing pico de gallo.
Zucchini is a summer squash that contains only 28 calories per cup. Slice up zucchini, drizzle it with olive oil, and roast it in the oven for a tasty treat. Use a spiralizer to cut zucchini into noodle shapes and use it as a healthy replacement for pasta. Zucchini also makes a tasty addition to soups, stews, and casseroles.Related: 10 Foods You Can Eat a Lot of Without Gaining Weight