Food With Least Amount Of Calories The best way to lose weight is to choose food with fewer calories. We’ll give you the information you need to make smart choices when you’re eating out and picking up groceries.
12 Best Low-Calorie Foods to Help You Lose Weight, According to Dietitians
Weight loss isn’t as easy as counting calories. The kinds of food you eat matter, too, along with lifestyle changes like exercise and sleep. But if you’re serious about losing weight, choosing the best low-calorie foods is a great place to start.
“No matter what diet you’re doing, it’s all about eating fewer calories than you’re burning off,” explains Diana Sugiuchi, R.D.N., a registered dietitian focusing on sustainable weight loss. It’s not an exact science—we don’t absorb every single calorie in everything we eat—but whether you’re just living your life or exercising more, maintaining this balance is crucial.
But that doesn’t mean you should take things to extremes: “A lot of people go, ‘Oh, if I eat a whole bunch fewer calories than I need, then I’ll lose weight quicker,’” Sugiuchi continues. You will, at least for a little bit, but these diets could be “really, really, really damaging in the long term” because your metabolism could drop, leaving you unable to process a normal amount of food. You’ll probably end up gaining the weight back, she warns—and you could battle mental repercussions from food restriction, too.
Instead, go the slow and steady route by loading up on filling, low-calorie foods. Prioritize whole foods (like fresh vegetables, fruits, and proteins), not processed ones (like shakes and supplements), Sugiuchi says. Fiber and protein make the biggest difference in helping you feel full, she says, which cuts down on unnecessary snacking between meals.
High-quality fiber comes from plants, like whole grains, fruits, and veggies, Sugiuchi notes. Protein obviously comes from animal products like meat and dairy, but there are tons of high-protein vegetables, too. Both nutrients digest slowly, keeping you feeling satisfied and aiding your weight-loss journey.
But what foods should you add to your pantry and fridge? Here are the best filling, low-calorie foods to add to your diet to help you reach your weight-loss goals, according to dietitians.
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6.9 calories per 1 cup, raw
All kinds of veggies are great for filling you up without adding a ton of calories, Sugiuchi says. Spinach is virtually flavorless and makes a perfect addition to salads, pastas, and smoothies.
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5.6 calories per 1 stalk, raw
Celery is one of nature’s lowest-cal foods—and you should enjoy it whole. “You get nothing unique by juicing celery, but you do lose the fiber,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, R.D., a nutrition expert in New Jersey. And fiber is key for slowing digestion and helping you feel fuller, longer.
166 calories per 1 cup, cooked
As opposed to other breakfast staples, oatmeal is shockingly low in calories. To make it more filling, stir in half a cup of plain nonfat Greek yogurt, recommends Shana Spence, M.S., R.D.N., a registered dietitian nutritionist based in New York.
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64 calories per 1 cup, raw
Craving dessert? These berries pack in very few calories—along with a whopping 8 grams of fiber. That’s around a third of what you should get in an entire day.
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69.8 calories per 1 cup, raw
A favorite of Sugiuchi’s during the colder months, Brussels sprouts can be enjoyed raw in a salad, not to mention roasted or pan-fried with other veggies. They’re also a great source of all-important fiber and protein.
163 calories per 1 cup
Low-fat cottage cheese has about one-fifth of the calories you’ll find in most cheeses, and it’s higher in protein, keeping your appetite in check for longer—and your metabolism revved, Palinski-Wade says.
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71.9 calories per 1 egg
A large egg packs six grams of hunger-satisfying protein for just 70 calories—not a bad trade-off, if you ask us. Research shows that eggs can curb your calorie intake at your next meal, too.
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8.9 calories per 1 cup, raw
Dark, leafy greens are definitely worth adding to your diet, Sugiuchi says. Although kale can be delicious raw in a salad, you don’t have to go so crunchy; add it to pastas or soups for an iron-rich boost.
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114 calories per 1 large apple
Research suggests that apples are some of the best fruits for weight loss. In fact, one 2008 study found that participants who added three apples to their usual diet for 10 weeks lost around two pounds. You know what they say about an apple a day!
109 calories per 1 fillet, baked
Fish makes a great staple in weight-loss diets, Sugiuchi says, and flounder is one of the lowest-calorie fish out there. Enjoy it alongside a healthy serving of vegetables for a meal for a nutrient-packed meal.
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45.2 calories per 1 cucumber, raw
Try cucumber as a dipper in place of starchy crackers the next time you make a dip or spread—a handful of your favorite chips will pale in comparison to an entire cucumber’s 45 calories.
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29.5 calories per 1 large carrot, raw
Don’t worry about the slightly elevated level of sugar in carrots: “They have tons of good vitamin A and lots of fiber, so eat up on those,” Sugiuchi recommends.
7 Signs You’re Not Eating Enough Calories
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, maintain your current weight, or gain more, calories matter. Yes, partially because they can affect your weight and fitness, but also because they have the very basic yet hugely important job of helping you stay alive. “Calories fuel the tissues of your body like your brain, heart, liver, and kidneys,” Rachele Pojednic, Ph.D., a research fellow at Harvard Medical School and professor at the Harvard Extension School, tells SELF. Consuming just enough won’t cut it, as your body and mind can suffer in plenty of ways without the proper nourishment.
Experts advise not dipping below 1,200 calories a day for women. Even then, that’s the bare minimum that may not get you all the nutrients you need. “With 1,200 calories, you’re probably meeting the majority of your resting metabolic requirements [to keep your body alive and functioning], but you’re going to feel pretty crappy,” says Pojednic. There aren’t many upsides to eating too few calories, not even long-lasting weight loss. “People think cutting calories is the best way to lose weight because it can be the fastest, but these types of diets are really unsustainable,” Brigitte Zeitlin, R.D., M.P.H., C.D.N., founder of the New York-based BZ Nutrition, tells SELF. Here, Pojednic and Zeitlin share seven ways your body might be telling you it needs more food.
1. You’re dragging all day long.
“Calories equal energy. When your calories are too low, your energy is too low,” says Zeitlin. That lack of spirit can show everywhere from the weight room to your morning meeting. “[Without enough calories], you don’t have the energy to fire up tissues like muscle, or regenerate them once you’ve moved around,” says Pojednic. That’s because your body is allocating the calories you take in to its most important task: supporting parts of your body like your brain and heart. If you don’t have much leftover, doing things that require tons of energy will seem harder and way less appealing.
2. Your weight won’t budge.
If you’re aiming for long-lasting weight loss, drastically slashing your calories may not be the best way to go. “Because your body is in survival mode trying to hold on to as many calories as it can instead of burning at its usual rate, your weight might plateau,” says Zeitlin. The good thing is that this process isn’t instantaneous, so don’t worry that you’ve messed up your metabolism for life because you haven’t been eating enough lately. “It takes a significant amount of time and a significant amount of weight loss to put your body into starvation mode,” says Pojednic. There’s no set amount of time or weight loss it takes to enter starvation mode; it’s an individual thing.
3. You’re constipated all the time.
There are two main reasons under-eating can lead to constipation. First, if you’re not eating enough, you may not be getting enough fiber, which is key for keeping your digestive system moving along. But when you don’t eat enough, you may also be dehydrated, says Zeitlin, who notes that your body often confuses thirst for hunger. If you’re ignoring hunger pangs, you might be accidentally be ignoring thirst cues as well. Fiber can only do its job in helping you go to the bathroom if you have enough water in your system.
4. You’re constantly hungry.
Yes, it’s a no-brainer symptom, but it’s worth noting that you should not feel like you’re constantly hungry. Hunger means your body is sending you a signal. “The hormones that are most important for hunger generation and satiety are leptin, ghrelin, and cholecystokinin,” says Pojednic. “They change depending upon the amount of food you’re taking in, and they’re affected when you reduce your total food intake.” Together, they tell your brain when to eat and when you’re full. When you’re not eating enough, they don’t just shut up—they still stay active and prompt your brain to ask for more food, says Pojednic.
5. You snap at everyone who so much as talks to you.
There’s even a catchy nickname for this symptom: hanger, or hunger-induced anger. Some of that irritability comes down to missing out on the enjoyable psychological component of eating, says Pojednic. “People have psychological attachments with food for a variety of reasons. It can bring a tremendous amount of pleasure,” she explains. “Once you take that away, it can create negative feelings.”
But hormones also cause some of that testiness. “Typically, this process begins when your blood sugar is low,” says Pojednic. “Together with ghrelin, which binds to a receptor in the brain to signal hunger, epinephrine [aka adrenaline] can lead to hanger,” she explains. And when combined with the psychological effects of depriving yourself, eating too few calories is an easy way to feel frustrated and on edge.
6. You stick to your low-calorie diet most of the time, but sometimes you completely lose control.
Indulging is a part of life, and there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s pretty much essential for staying sane. That’s why when you never allow yourself to indulge, you can end up spiraling and eating so much, you might make yourself sick. “When you deprive yourself of anything, the temptation to overindulge when you have access to it becomes almost impossible to overcome,” says Pojednic. “You want to make sure you’re eating enough healthful food, but also that you’re satisfying that psychological urge to have wonderful food that’s going to give you pleasure. Denying yourself can set you up for a binge-type behavior.”
7. You often feel really thirsty.
If you don’t eat enough, you might miss out on key electrolytes, which are minerals in your diet like calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium. One way you might realize your electrolyte levels are off is via constant thirst. “Sodium and potassium keep your hydration levels appropriate,” says Pojednic. If you’re thinking every stomach pang is actually hunger, you might miss those thirst signals and slack in the water department. Even if you are getting enough calories, staying hydrated is a non-negotiable. Check out these 12 easy ways to drink more water every day.
Food With Least Amount Of Calories
In this article, I’ve made a list of ten foods for quick weight loss that have fairly low calories and that fill you up quickly and keep you full for longer. Some of them will be fairly obvious to you (salads, duh!), and some may turn out to be quite a surprise.
List Of Foods For Quick Weight Loss:
So, of course, I start with salad, which is the most obvious low-calorie item. By salad, I don’t just mean salad leaves (boring as they are), but also celery, arugula and bok choy. Bok choy is one of my favourite leafy greens – high in Vitamin C and antioxidants, it doesn’t have the earthy acridity of spinach, and even just a steamed, wilted plate of bok choy is delicious on its own. I’m also adding tomatoes and cucumber to this list. Cucumbers especially, have a pretty high water content, and therefore, a pretty low calorie count.
When it comes to salads though, it’s important to remember that while the base in itself is healthy, adding too much salt and sugar (most restaurants are guilty of it) and dressing, considerably up the calorie count. Try a yoghurt dressing instead.
Foods for quick weight loss: Salad
You knew this was coming, didn’t you? Apples are one of the few fruits that contain pectin, a substance that keeps you feeling fuller for longer. Apples take while to eat, and end up tricking your brain into believing that your stomach is full. If you don’t like apples on their own, you can easily toss them into a salad or into your morning bowl of muesli, yoghurt or oatmeal. You can even put them into a turkey, or chicken sandwich for a touch of sweetness to balance the protein.
Foods for quick weight loss: Apples
It’s ridiculous how low calorie strawberries are, while still packing in plenty of flavour, and a heap of antioxidants and Vitamin C besides. An entire cup of strawberries will take you down barely 50 calories! Drizzle a little beaten dahi over them, chop them into your cereal or salad, blend them into a smoothie or turn them into a sweet strawberry salsa.
Foods for quick weight loss: Strawberries
Oatmeal (like that new wonder-food that can do no wrong, chia seeds) absorbs a lot of water, and is loaded with fibre, both of which make it an excellent food to stave off those hunger pangs, while using very few calories to do so. The perfect way to start the day.
Foods for quick weight loss: Oatmeal
Specifically, the egg whites. 100 grams contain just 52 calories and those calories are packed with protein. My suggestion though, would be to hold on to the yellow of the egg, as well – it contains half of the egg’s protein! Eat it boiled, half-boiled, even scrambled (but without butter) and that’s just 80 calories! The minute you add oil or butter, the calorie count goes up dramatically.
Foods for quick weight loss: Eggs
By this, I certainly don’t mean the popcorn available at movie theatres or the microwave popcorns, the huge tubs that come dripping with butter or that odd cheese-powder creation. I mean, a cup of good, home-popped popcorn, made without oil and butter; that will only bring you to about 30 calories a cup. Season with a dash of salt and chilli powder and you’re sorted.