Eating well is a necessary component to good health, but what do you do when you are watching calories? In today’s fast-paced society, it is so easy to choose an unhealthy alternative when faced with a tough decision.
But what if there was a way to eat healthier and still be able to feel satisfied and happy with your food? If you are searching for foods that taste great, but have zero calories, you are in luck. Here is a zero calorie foods list of the best things to eat that won’t add any guilt to your daily food intake.
What Are Zero Calorie Foods?
Let’s first talk about calories, which are simply energy units. Kilocalories, or kcals, are the calories displayed on food nutrition labels. One calorie of food contains about 4.82 joules of energy.
Calories from the meals and beverages we ingest are utilized by the body in order to perform all of the operations that support daily tasks such as respiration, digestion, protein and cell component creation, powering our cells, and heartbeat maintenance.
Calories are also required for the formation and regeneration of new cells as well as for any type of workout or exercise. The calories found in food exist in the chemical bonds among the molecules in the foods’ constituent macronutrients (proteins, carbs, and fats).
The links between these molecules dissolve as our food gets digested, releasing energy (or calories). Zero calorie foods technically have no calories that may be utilized for energy.
When people explore the idea of 0 calorie foods, there is usually some leeway in the definition, so that a zero calorie item isn’t absolutely empty of calories, but the extremely few calories found within the food have little physiological impact.
Because they contain so few calories, these types of foods may serve as zero net calorie foods because you have to eat a lot of them to have a substantial effect on your daily intake.
Add to Your Shopping List: 30 Zero Calorie Foods
Healthy fat-rich foods, like eggs, have more calories than fruits and vegetables but are still very nutritious. Pairing calorie-dense foods, such as those described above, with lower calorie foods, particularly vegetables and fruits, can help make mealtime more filling and enjoyable.
Furthermore, replacing some high-calorie foods with lower-calorie foods will encourage healthy weight reduction and could enhance other aspects of health.
If you usually have eggs and a sugary treat for breakfast, substitute sweets with a fruit or some sautéed veggies to cut calories and provide more nutrients. Many low-calorie foods, fortunately, can be combined with more filling foods to form a complete meal.
Having said that, there are very few actual calorie-free foods, thus the list I compiled below all include at least a few calories every serving, but their total effect on your body and overall daily caloric intake is basically negligible. You can also download this as a zero calorie foods list PDF, which you can save on your phone, or print out and take with you anywhere.
Zucchini is a type of green summer squash. It has a subtle flavor that makes it an effective ingredient in recipes. Grating zucchini into “zoodles” as an alternative for higher carb pasta has become quite popular in recent years. Zucchini is also minimal in calories, with just 27 calories per cup.
2. Dark Coffee
Although flavored coffee drinks with various sweeteners, dairies, and other sugar substitutes can pack a lot of calories, black coffee is basically a calorie-free food.
As a result, black coffee is usually tolerated even when intermittently fasting or completing a water fast. Although it is not a calorie-free food, black coffee contains only 2 calories each cup.
Broth comes in a variety of flavors, including mushroom, miso, and veggie. It can be consumed on its own, or as an ingredient for stews and soups. One cup of broth usually has 10 to 12 calories.
4. Iceberg Lettuce
The high water content of iceberg lettuce is well recognized. It’s popularly used in salads, and with burgers and sandwiches as garnish. Iceberg lettuce is high in vitamin K, vitamin A, and folate, despite the belief that it is not as healthy as other lettuces. Iceberg lettuce offers only 10 calories per cup.
Cucumbers are mostly water, so they have very little calories. Cucumbers have only 8 to 10 calories per half-cup portion.
Arugula is a green leafy vegetable with a spicy flavor. It is a cruciferous vegetable, which means it is related to kale, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Arugula, similar to many cruciferous vegetables, is high in the antioxidant vitamin C and phytonutrients .
7. Lemon Water
Drinking lemon water is a famous weight loss “hack” since water is full and can encourage weight loss on its own, and adding lemon can potentially boost fat burning, feeling full, and satisfaction.
If you are used to drinking flavored or sugar-sweetened beverages, using lemon water as an initial step to transition from calorie-dense beverages to ordinary clean water can be an effective gateway. Plus, lemons have almost no calories, so lemon water is simply a calorie-free beverage.
Tomatoes go well with a variety of foods and can be eaten fresh, prepared, or puréed in a tomato sauce.
Tomatoes are also high in plant chemicals that protect the body, such as lycopene. A tomato-rich meal could possibly protect against stroke, cardiovascular disease, and certain malignancies.
Watermelon, as the name implies, is an extremely hydrating fruit. It tastes great on its own or with chopped mint and cottage cheese. Watermelon is high in nutrients, particularly vitamin C.
Strawberries are both delicious and healthful. They complement both sweet as well as savory foods, making them a multipurpose cooking component. According to research, eating berries like strawberries on a regular basis may help prevent against diseases like Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
Jicama is a root crop similar to a white potato. This vegetable is usually eaten uncooked and tastes like an apple.
Spinach is another low-calorie, vitamin- and mineral-rich leafy green. It is abundant in vitamins A and K, folate, as well as bioactive substances such as zeaxanthin and lutein, all of which are beneficial to eye health.
One cup of celery contains only 20 calories and takes some time to eat. Furthermore, because of all the fiber, it takes a lot of energy to break down celery, and only a small amount of calories is taken in, so it is frequently regarded as a negative calorie food.
Watercress is a green vegetable commonly found in salads and sandwiches. This leafy vegetable is not as well-known as other greens, yet it is just as nutritious.
Kale is a type of leafy green that has grown in prominence in recent years due to its high nutritional value. Kale can be found in salads, smoothies, and vegetable meals. Kale is one of the world’s greatest sources of vitamin K.
Turnips are white roots with a bit of bitter flesh. They’re frequently used in soups and stews. Turnips have a high vitamin C content and only 34 calories for every cooked cup.
Mushrooms are fungi with a sponge-like feel. They are sometimes used as a meat replacement by vegetarians and vegans. Mushrooms are high in micronutrients while containing only 15 calories each cup.
18. Romain Lettuce
Romaine lettuce is a common green vegetable that can be found in sandwiches and salads. Because it is packed with water and fiber, romaine has a low calorie content. A single serving of romaine lettuce has about 10 calories.
Onions are a widely consumed vegetable. Onion varieties include red, white, and yellow onions, in addition to spring onions and scallions. While the taste varies depending on the variety, all onions are low in calories.
Berries such as blueberries and blackberries are low-calorie foods that are consumed as snacks, included in salads, and added to breakfast meals like oats for sweetness.
Radishes are root crops with a mildly peppery flavor. They are available in a variety of hues and make a lovely (and nutritious) addition to salads and many other dishes. Radishes provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, including folic acid, potassium, and vitamin C.
Peppers are available in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. The most common are red bell peppers and jalapeños. According to research, bell peppers are especially rich in antioxidants and can shield the body from the harmful effects of oxidation.
The papaya is a fruit that is orange in color with black seeds. It is primarily grown in tropical climates. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals like provitamin A, the antioxidant vitamin C, potassium, and folate.
Grapefruits remain one of the healthiest and most tasty citrus fruits. They can be eaten on their own or with vegan yogurt, greens, or a whole grain salad. Grapefruit has chemicals that may lower cholesterol and boost metabolism.
Fennel is a bulb vegetable with a licorice-like flavor. Dried fennel seeds give meals an anise flavor. Fennel is delicious raw, roasted, or cooked.
Chard is a brightly colored green that comes in a variety of colors. It contains a lot of vitamin K, which is important for blood vessel function and bone health.
Cabbage, whether with green or purple leaves, is a low-calorie vegetable with numerous health benefits. They are high in vitamin C, which helps your immune system and digestion, and they contain anthocyanins, which not only make them appear colorful but also reduce the likelihood of heart attack and cardiovascular disease.
28. Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices give foods different flavor profiles, and have very little calories. Herbs that are commonly consumed either fresh or dried include mint, parsley, basil, cilantro, and oregano. Cinnamon, paprika, cumin, and curry are well-known spices. The majority of herbs and spices contain lower than five calories every teaspoon.
Asparagus is a floral vegetable that comes in three colors: green, white, and purple. Asparagus of any variety is high in minerals and vitamins, in addition to antioxidant and plants that are anti-inflammatory in nature.
Water is the top zero calorie food because it contains no calories at all. It’s also devoid of any fat, sodium or carbs, which means that you can drink as much as you want without feeling bloated or gaining weight.
A good way to make sure you’re getting enough water every day is by drinking it before meals. You’ll be more likely to eat less when you have something in your stomach, so taking a sip first will help prevent overeating later on.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Happens if I Only Eat Zero Calorie Foods?
If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to know what happens when you eat only low-calorie foods. When you go on a diet, your body is telling you that it needs more energy than it’s getting from this diet. This can lead to cravings for certain foods and even binge eating.
So if you’re just eating foods that are low in calories but not very nutritious, then your body will be getting less than what it needs to function properly. This means that it may experience side effects like fatigue, headaches, and sickness. Make sure you strike that balance!
What Are the Side Effects of Eating Zero Calorie Food All the Time?
If you eat zero calorie food all the time, your body will eventually run out of energy. When that happens, your body will start breaking down protein from your muscles to get energy, which isn’t healthy—and can lead to muscle loss and increased risk for other health issues like diabetes and even heart disease.
Plus, if you’re not getting enough nutrients in your diet (from fruits, vegetables, whole grains), then your body might not function as well as it should. This can lead to problems like decreased immune system function and more infections.
And finally: if you don’t get enough sleep every night (which is crucial!), then you could end up feeling tired or depressed more often than usual—or even develop a sleep disorder such as insomnia or narcolepsy where you stay awake at night and have difficulty sleeping.
These foods are the perfect accompaniment for anyone who is working toward a healthier lifestyle. Use them to your advantage, whether you’re on that years-long quest to lose weight, or just looking to add some natural indulgences into your diet.
The important thing is that they’re there when you need them. You can also substitute them in place of their higher calorie counterparts in recipes, too—the flavors will be similar, and you’ll be saving a ton of calories (and money).