Top 10 Low Calorie Foods
by Jari Love
I am sure you have heard the myth that chowing down on snacks like celery actually burns more calories than you take in. Sadly, there aren’t actually foods that burn more calories than they contain, but I am here to offer you ten food options that are very low in calories and offer some great health benefits.
#1: Black, or Wild Rice
Black or Wild rice have less calories and more nutrients than the white stuff. With black rice or wild, your main and side dishes will get a boost in needed nutrients while stripping out calories. Want to boost your rice even more? Try adding saffron. Saffron is a known mood booster as well as anti-cancer and anti-oxidant properties.
There are few foods as dense and filling as carrots that offer so few calories to add to your waistline. How many calories? An entire cup of the orange goodies contain a meager 52 calories! Additional perks include the fact that they’re great cooked or raw and have plenty of vitamin A. However, remember that carrots are high in natural sugars, so should be eaten sparingly.
Toss it on a salad, get it fresh off the grill, or steam it up on the stovetop. However you prefer your asparagus, you can take comfort knowing that this filling food comes with just 27 calories per cup. Asparagus is also high in copper which is essential for cellular repair and skin building cells. Copper helps produce collagen and is responsible for the pigmentation in your hair and eyes—going gray?—try grabbing some asparagus to help boost your colour. Asparagus is also high in folate—a natural anti-depressant and a must for mamas-to-be!
It’s green, has something of a peppery kick, and rings in at 4 calories per cup. Yes, you read right—4 calories. Versatile enough to go wherever green, leafy veggies belong, arugula adds flavor without adding fat, cholesterol, or calories to your salads, soups and beyond!
Broccoli is one of those superfoods that makes it good for just about everything. Not only does broccoli meet the criteria for being one of the top 10 low-calorie foods, but Broccoli is high in B-vitamins—those mood boosting vitamins, Vitamin C and lutein which help protect your eyes, as well as huge anti-oxidant properties. Broccoli is also super high in both fiber and calcium which means it should be your go-to veggie for any weight loss plan. Fiber will keep you full, while the calcium is essential for weight loss. Remember, that while you shouldn’t smother your veggies with additives like butter and salt, adding fat to your veggies actually helps increase your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, so try drizzling your veggies with a bit of olive or almond oil, or try eating them with hummus!
#6: Romaine Lettuce
Weighing in at only 5 calories per cup, romaine lettuce provides an exceptional, low-calorie base for all sorts of fantastically delicious and nutritious meals that are a great source of dietary fiber. The high fiber content in romaine lettuce helps slow down and stabilize your blood sugar levels, reducing cravings. It is also high in vitamins A, C and K, as well as chromium which not only helps maintain stable blood sugar levels, but is a key ingredient in carbohydrate and fat metabolism.
Go grab a handful of mushrooms. Even if you grab a massive handful, you’ll only get 15 calories. And don’t forget that you’ll also get a nice pile of potassium, antioxidants, and various B vitamins. Let’s not forget, Mushrooms, particularly cremini mushrooms, are high in selenium which helps our body repair cellular damage, supports the elasticity of our tissues and helps to slow down the skin’s aging process. Mushrooms are also amazing immune boosters as well as containing some anti-cancer properties. Try adding cremini mushrooms to a tomato sauce to have with some zucchini pasta.
Tomatoes are a must for any diet. When you finish off your medium-sized tomato, or a handful of those cherry tomatoes you can feel good about yourself, because you only consumed 22 calories. You also chowed down on vitamin C, vitamin E—the beauty vitamin, potassium, fiber, and an antioxidant called lycopene which is that bright red coloring. Lycopene acts as a natural sunscreen and helps boost skin rejuvenation. For best absorption eat tomatoes with some healthy fats like avocado or nuts.
Watermelon is naturally sweet and has more of those cancer-fighting antioxidants that your body loves as well as being exceptionally low in calories. Watermelon is also great source of lycopene which is an anti-aging must! Lycopene helps build our skin-firming collagen, and also helps protect our skin from U.V damage from the inside, which means less wrinkles, dry skin and sun damage for you. So cut a slice and dig in!
Rounding out the list of top 10 low-cal foods is good ol’ broth. No matter if you go for chicken, beef, veggie, seafood, or miso broth, it all drops just 10 calories per cup. Chop up some carrots, black rice, broccoli, Asparagus and mushrooms, and you just made a fantastic soup with just a few more calories than ingredients. Making your own broth is relatively easy, but if you don’t have time for that look for low sodium brands.
While I fully encourage you to replace the processed, high calorie items in your diet with the 10 foods listed above, all the low calorie foods in the world won’t get you the body that you desire, if you neglect to include a challenging exercise program into your routine. You simply MUST exercise in a way that challenges your muscles to adapt and strengthen in order to be fit and healthy.
Jari Love – original creator of Get RIPPED! DVD series and group exercise classes. The hot-selling and critically acclaimed Get RIPPED! series enables individuals of any fitness level to burn up to three times more calories than the traditional weight-training program, and has received rave reviews from fitness critics throughout North America since the first title debuted in late 2005.