First of all, I’m not usually one to promote low calorie foods, or low calorie eating to anyone. In fact, I eat a good few calories myself each day and enjoy them liberally as fuel for my metabolism. Yet, it can be easy to forget about simple, low-calorie foods that are actually full of benefits for your body and don’t taste like cardboard or rubber. Wonder what they are? Read on to find out my favorite low calorie foods that I eat in addition to all my coconut, nuts, seeds, avocados and oils. Hey, a girl needs balance in her life, and on her plate, right?
I have to tell you, spinach is one of my favorite low calorie foods, and not just one of mine! My McDonald’s loving brother also chooses spinach anytime he gets a salad and loves it on sandwiches. Obviously, there’s something to this amazing green. Spinach contains 5 grams of protein per cup with only 20 calories, no fat, and 2 grams of fiber. It also has 20% of your daily iron, 30% your daily magnesium, and 100% of your daily Vitamin A requirements.Spinach also has 20% of your daily calcium requirements too, along with Vitamin C, B vitamins like folate, and lots of chlorophyll to keep your cells squeaky clean and healthy! Plus, spinach has a rich, sweet, buttery taste unlike other, bitter greens. Fresh or frozen, it makes a great food to use in smoothies, stir-fries, soups, eggs, sauteed with garlic, or use fresh spinach in salads, in whole grain wraps, or on a sprouted grain sandwich.
2. Red Bell Peppers
Red bell peppers are one of my favorite sweet treats in the veggie world. They’re much easier to digest for most people than green bell peppers that can cause indigestion, and they’re tastier too! Red bell peppers also have more Vitamin C than any other pepper, with 130% of your daily recommended amounts. They are rich in fiber, have only 1 gram of sugar per pepper, and are only 40 calories per pepper. Slice them into strips and toss out the seeds. I like to snack on them raw, but they’re also great dipped into Greek yogurt, hummus, nut butter, or chopped into any kind of dish you please.
Yes, oatmeal is actually a low calorie food! For ½ cup of rolled oats, it’s only 170 calories, plus 5 grams of fiber, and 7 grams of protein. Oatmeal also has the lowest carbohydrate content of all grains, and it’s easily digested. If you’re sensitive to gluten, buy gluten-free oats like me. The Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Extra Thick Rolled Oats are my favorite! So sweet and nutty tasting, oats have no sugar, only 2.5 grams of fat, and are sure to keep you full for at least 3-4 hours. Oats are rich in B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and are a great way to spike your metabolism and give you energy! It’s no wonder so many people start their day off with a bowl, and you should too without any guilt at all over eating this healthy carb!
Strawberries are so tasty, aren’t they? They’re also one of the lowest calorie berries you can eat, and are also higher in Vitamin C than most all berries. Strawberries are also lower in sugar than any other berry besides the trendy acai, maqui, and camu-camu berries, which are a lot pricier. Strawberries are also one of the most popular fruits and should be a guilt-free part of anyone’s diet. They’re such a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth and get a boost of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how to use them since you probably already have a host of ways you enjoy them. Care to share? I’m always in the mood for a new recipe!
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. This is such a typical diet food, but cucumbers are actually really tasty for a few reasons. Cucumbers have both sweet and salty flavors, which make them great for those kind of cravings. They’re also 94% water content, indicating their low calorie benefits. Cucumbers are a fantastic source of the mineral silica also, which is a beauty enhancer for your skin, nails, and hair. They also contain B vitamins, potassium, and are a natural diuretic helping you to debloat. They also contain a good bit of Vitamin C and even a little fiber! I like to chop them and freeze them in baggies for smoothies. They create such a unique, sweet flavor that is especially hydrating after a workout. You can also eat the fresh, or in any other kind of dish you like!
6. Romaine Lettuce
Romaine lettuce is a favorite lettuce of mine and a powerhouse of nutrition! Romaine lettuce is economical, and has light, buttery and sweet flavor. These features make it perfect if you’re on a budget and want to make a satisfying salad. I even like romaine added to a green smoothie sometimes, over bitter greens like kale or collards. Romaine lettuce contains a large amount of Vitamin A that keeps your skin looking great, and is a great vitamin to protect your heart and immune system. It also contains Vitamin C to keep you healthy, plus 2 grams of fiber per 1 cup serving for only 30 calories.
Carrots get a bad rap, but they’re one of my favorite veggies. Sure, they have natural sugar, but it’s a type of sugar that your body knows it’s had enough of and will use those sugars as prime fuel, not to make you gain weight! Per cup, carrots only have 25 calories, plus 5 grams of fiber. Now, truly, how can carrots be bad for you with those kind of stats? They also contain more Vitamin A than you need in a day, which is one of the best ways to keep your skin looking healthy and young. Carrots are also a natural immune system booster. Carrots have even been said to help with PMS and can help tame that crunchy and sweet craving with a one cup serving. Eat them raw or cooked. Either way, they’re a great low-calorie food that everyone can enjoy.
8. Grape Tomatoes
I adore tomatoes, but the grape (smaller) varieties are my favorite. I like to keep a container of these in the fridge, right in the front. When I have a sweet tooth and the munchies kick in, I always reach for my grape tomatoes and just 1 cup gives me what I need! Like carrots, tomatoes contain natural sugars that are excellent for you. They’re very low calorie, and also a good source of fiber. Grape tomatoes contain Vitamin C, potassium, and lycopene. Though most people recommend cooking tomatoes to enhance lycopene, you can still get plenty through raw varieties. Plus, cooking denatures most of the Vitamin, C, so feel free to enjoy them both cooked and raw. Either way, grape tomatoes are a perfect snack or addition to any other meal you like.
Now, this is a spice I’m technically categorizing as a food because I believe everyone should be enjoying more of it! Cinnamon is a tree bark, so technically it’s a food. Cinnamon is high in B vitamins and chromium. It’s also wonderful for treating diabetes, depression, poor blood sugar levels, and indigestion. Cinnamon breaks down food in the stomach more efficiently and can help with the digestion of proteins, starches, and fats to release their nutrients more readily.
Along with all those healthy higher calorie foods most of us love, be sure you also eat some of these wonderful low calorie foods too. Do you eat any of these each day? How?