Delicious Low Calorie Foods

When you think of zero calorie foods, what comes to mind? Likely celery! There are many jokes surrounding this “negative” calorie stick as a diet option. For instance, the idea that you actually burn calories eating a stick.

The good news about nature’s lowest-calorie food is that it packs a mere five calories per stem, along with a ton of nutrients and phytochemicals that encourage blood flow and lower blood pressure. This means that just because celery is a zero calorie food; doesn’t mean its void of nutritional value all together.

However, for those who aren’t excited by celery, rabbits excluded of course, there are plenty of other surprisingly zero calories foods that pack hefty nutritional advantages …

1. Mushrooms

Mushrooms of all varieties weigh in at a meager two calories per button, which means you can eat a whole bushel. Plus, they are super high in the antioxidant ergothioneine, which benefits cognitive function, immunity, as well as eye, lung, reproductive, and skin health.

2. Cabbage

Cabbage is great in stir fries and casseroles, plus one cup reaps major nutritional benefits—such as enzyme production that reverses cell-damaging free radicals.

3. Plums

As far as the stone fruits go, plums are the lowest in calories, not to mention the fact that their rich in antioxidants and fiber, and feature small amounts of vitamins A, K, and C.

4. Kiwi

Did you know that kiwis are just really big, fuzz covered berries? And if you pop them skin and all, you’ll get a daily dose of vitamin K and C, as well as a serving of fiber, potassium and vitamin E.

5. Bok Choy

I love the low calorie Bok Choy, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that one cup shredded features the health benefits of folic acid, iron, beta-carotene, and potassium to lower blood pressure and keep your muscles and nerves functioning properly. And don’t forget that Bok Choy is rich in indoles (or rare cancer-fighting nitrogen compounds) that reduce the risk lung and bladder cancers.

6. Cottage Cheese

This low calorie, dairy snack packs 3 grams of protein an ounce, and with one-fifth of the calories of other cheeses. Plus it works great as a low calorie dip base when swapped with sour cream or as a breakfast staple when mixed with berries.  Just make sure to pick up the low sodium variety at the market—otherwise you’ll devour 20-percent of your daily sodium requirement in a single serving.

7. Flounder

This whitefish is delish when you consider it’s among the lowest calorie proteins available, packing 20 grams per serving, plus a good portion of your daily requirement of selenium, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids.

8. Spinach

Popeye certainly packed a powerful punch thanks to this green, leafy vegetable. Spinach is high in calcium, vitamin K, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and selenium, a mineral that protects cells and promotes muscle tissue repair.

9. Green Bell Peppers

I bet you had no idea that a cup of diced bell peppers delivers more vitamin C than an orange at 1/3 of the calories. The green variety is also cheaper than its yellow, red, and orange brethren, and contains dietary fiber and vitamin A.

10. Shrimp

This dip-able, pop-able, low-calorie shellfish is high in protein and super low in calories (you can eat more than a dozen shrimp before you even come close to the calories in a small chicken breast). Plus, shrimp are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, and vitamin D as well.

11. Scallops

Similar to shrimp, juicy, tender sea scallops provide a good dose of cancer-fighting vitamin B12 and selenium—at half the calories of a petite flank steak.

12. Asparagus

You can consume 2 pounds of asparagus before you’d ever hit 200 calories. You can think of a single stalk as a bone-protecting (rich in vitamin K), heart disease-fighting (high in folate) fat blasting green rocket.

13. Cauliflower

A handful of cauliflower florets are loaded with isothiocyanates, a collection of detoxifying compounds that will reduce your risk of prostate cancer.

14. Strawberries

You probably already know that strawberries are rich in vitamin C, which strengthen your immune system? But I bet you didn’t know that each ruby, red berry is high in antioxidants, which encourage memory retention, protect the body against cancer, and provide a satisfyingly sweet, low-calorie treat!

15. Tomatoes

I could eat tomatoes for every meal, which means I’m lowering my risk of prostate cancer and reversing the effects of skin damage caused by free radicals from the sun’s ultraviolet rays—all thanks to a defensive phytochemical called lycopene.


Emily Lockhart

Emily Lockhart is a certified yoga instructor and personal trainer. She believes that being healthy is a lifestyle choice, not a punishment or temporary fix to attain a desired fitness or body image goal. Anna helps her clients take responsibility for their own health and wellness through her classes and articles on ActiveBeat.