A detailed guide on Low-calorie foods

Do you want to reduce your daily calorie intake and thus lose weight? So are you looking for healthy alternatives that suit your low-calorie diet? Then you are in the right place. In today’s article, you will discover which foods have the lowest calories and which low-calorie, satiating foods you should focus on. We will also give you tips for reducing your daily calorie intake and reveal the best low-calorie snacks. So why wait? Let’s jump in.

What do low calorie foods mean?

A food can only be described as low in calories or energy if it does not contain more than 40 kilocalories per 100 grams. Liquids must contain no more than 20 kilocalories per 100 milliliters to be considered low in energy.

For low-calorie foods, the energy value (kcal) should be reduced by at least 30 percent. 

Top 12 lowest-calorie foods

There are many low-calorie foods. To give you an overview, we have collected the most popular foods that are low in calories.

List of the lowest calorie foods

  • Konjac pastes (9 kcal)
  • Rhubarbe (12 kcal)
  • Cucumber (14 kcal)
  • Lettuce (14 kcal)
  • Chinese cabbage (16 kcal)
  • Iceberg lettuce (16 kcal)
  • Radis (17 kcal)
  • Tomate (21 kcal)
  • Spinach (23 kcal)
  • Lamb’s lettuce (23 kcal)
  • Citron (23 kcal)
  • Pamplemousse (30 kcal)

Low-calorie vegetables

Vegetables are one of the lowest-calorie foods. The advantage: you can eat a lot while absorbing very few calories. Public Health France recommends three vegetables per day. This corresponds to approximately 400 grams of vegetables per day (for example 200 grams of cooked vegetables and 200 grams of raw vegetables/salads). Therefore, vegetables also top the list of low-calorie foods to snack on. They form the basis of a low-calorie meal. But which vegetables have the lowest calories? We have prepared a list of 10 low-calorie vegetables that are also real nutritional bombs.

Our top 10 lowest-calorie vegetables:

1. Chinese cabbage – 16 kcal per 100 g

Chinese cabbage actually originates from China. Throughout Asia, Chinese cabbage has been used for millennia in many cuisines. This low-calorie vegetable shines with its nutritional qualities. In addition to vitamin C, B vitamins and vitamin E, Chinese cabbage also contains a large amount of secondary plant substances and fiber.

2. Radish – 17 kcal per 100 g

Radishes are a low-calorie food that is particularly interesting for vegans and vegetarians because they are relatively rich in iron. They also contain good amounts of vitamin K and vitamin C.

3. Tomato – 21 kcal pour 100 g

Tomatoes are generally a great vegetable. Whether small cherry tomatoes or large fleshy tomatoes, they are not only delicious but also low in calories. Along with vitamin C, potassium and folic acid, they provide essential nutrients. Another interesting substance contained in tomatoes is lycopene. Lycopene is one of the antioxidants.

4. Lamb’s lettuce – 23 kcal per 100 g

When it comes to nutritional values, lamb’s lettuce outperforms all other salad varieties. It actually contains more vitamin C than all other salads. It also contains vitamin A, calcium and folic acid in interesting quantities. And with only 23 kilocalories per 100 grams, it is particularly suitable for low-calorie diets.

5. Spinach – 23 kcal per 100 g

Spinach certainly contains less iron than previously thought, but it still contains sufficient amounts. Additionally, there are enough other (healthy) reasons why spinach should be a regular part of your menu: spinach is a truly low-calorie food, contains no fat, and additionally provides beta-carotene, magnesium and potassium.

6. Eggplant – 23 kcal per 100 g

Eggplants are not only delicious, but they also contain many essential nutrients, like potassium, calcium, and magnesium. With only 3.1 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams, eggplants are also a very low-calorie food ideal for your low-carb diet.

7. Cauliflower – 26 kcal per 100 g

Thanks to its fine cell structure, cauliflower is easy to digest and gentle on the stomach. This is not the only reason why it is so popular. As a local superfood, it contains a high amount of important minerals. Among them, are folic acid, potassium and manganese.

8. Asparagus – 27 kcal per 100 g

Asparagus is a low-calorie food and a great source of nutrients. Vitamin A, vitamins B as well as vitamins E and K are present in large quantities. Asparagus is also an ideal source of potassium, copper and folic acid.

9. Broccoli – 31 kcal per 100 g

If you are looking for a low-calorie food that also contains many different nutrients, broccoli is for you. Besides vitamins C, K and E, it also contains iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc and potassium. A real nutritional bomb.

10. Carrot – 38 kcal per 100 g

Carrots are another low-calorie vegetable. With only 38 kilocalories per 100 grams, this root vegetable is very good for the figure. This local vegetable is also a good source of beta-carotene.

Low-calorie fruits

Besides vegetables, fruits are also an integral part of very low-calorie foods. Fruits are certainly not as low in calories as vegetables and contain significantly more fructose, but you can still eat them with a clear conscience. It’s recommended to take two servings of fruit per day. This corresponds to approximately 250 grams of fruit per day.

What are the lowest calorie fruits? You will notice that there are only a few varieties that contain a maximum of 40 kilocalories per 100 grams. Aside from rhubarb, there are few low-calorie fruits that can compete with low-calorie vegetables. This is also explained by the fact that rhubarb is botanically classified as a vegetable.

Low-calorie fruits like watermelon or lemon already have twice as many calories as cucumber, bok choy or iceberg lettuce. But compared to cereals or dairy products, fruits remain low in calories.

Among the list of most frequently consumed fruits, we also notice that many classics fail to rise to the top of the lowest energy values: apples, pears, bananas, tangerines, kiwis, grapes, cherries, mangoes and Pineapples all have more than 40 kcal per 100 grams.

Our top 5 lowest-calorie fruits:

  • Rhubarb – 12 kcal per 100 g
  • Citron – 23 kcal pour 100 g
  • Grapefruit – 30 kcal per 100 g
  • Watermelon – 31 kcal per 100 g
  • Strawberry – 40 kcal per 100 g

Low-calorie, satiating foods

The majority of low-calorie foods are vegetables or fruits. Indeed, they all have one big thing in common: fiber and lots of water. Dietary fibers cannot be assimilated by our body. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have any importance for our bodies. Dietary fiber promotes digestion and plays an important role in the feeling of satiety.

There are mainly two things that cause a feeling of fullness:

  • When the stomach is full
  • When the body needs some time to absorb and use nutrients from food in the body.

In other words, the amount of calories in what you eat doesn’t determine how full you feel.

For example, a chocolate bar containing several hundred calories does not satiate us: it weighs only 100 grams and therefore does not take up much space in the stomach. Additionally, it contains a lot of fat and sugar, and these two nutrients are quickly transformed into energy by the body. Regardless of whether the body uses this concentrated energy or not, it quickly requires additional energy.

The advantage of filling but low-calorie foods lies in the fact that they contain few calories thanks to water and dietary fiber in a large volume. Ideally, they also provide a significant portion of slowly digested nutrients (complex carbohydrates and proteins). Fruits and vegetables generally stand out for their low calorie content and high nutritional density: they are healthy, low-calorie foods.

Low-calorie snacks

Low-calorie snacks primarily contain little sugar and fat. These two nutrients increase the number of calories. Additionally, the WHO recommends eating no more than 50 grams of sugar per day due to health risk factors. And where better to save it than in snacks? You can buy low-calorie snacks or prepare them yourself. We have put together some examples of healthy, low-calorie snacks for you.

Vegetable sticks with hummus

As you already know, vegetables are very low in calories. This is why vegetable dipsticks are also the ideal low-calorie snack to make yourself. In fact, all you need to do here is cut the vegetables and prepare the sauce. Carrot and cucumber sticks with hummus are not only delicious together, but they are also low in calories. But be careful if you buy the ready-made sauce. Finished products often contain a lot of sugar, which increases the calorie count.

Low-fat cottage cheese with berries

At first glance, the light quark doesn’t look very attractive. But mixed with a little mineral water (around 1 tablespoon for 150 g), it becomes very creamy and the berries give a fruity note to the whole thing. It makes a great low-calorie snack.

Homemade popsicles

Homemade fruit popsicles or yogurt ice creams are perfect for anyone who wants to sweeten their low-calorie snacks. In fact, you can control the amount of calories in your snack yourself. If you forgo the extra sugar, you save even more calories – fruit is sweet enough or you choose a sugar alternative like erythritol. Also perfect for summer as a low-calorie dessert recipe

Grilled vegetables

Red beets, sweet potatoes or carrots cut into thin slices and roasted in the oven are perfect low-calorie snacks for the evening. If you like to snack on chips, homemade vegetable chips are a low-calorie recipe that is an optimal alternative for you. You can also vary your low-calorie snacks. Roasted chickpeas are also delicious.

Key Takeaway 

Low-calorie foods have the benefit of helping you lose weight. This is because to lose weight, you need to reduce your calorie intake so that you take in fewer calories than your body consumes. You thus arrive at a calorie deficit and your body must draw energy from your fat, protein and sugar reserves. In the long term, you will lose body fat and therefore weight. This is why low-calorie foods are so important for weight loss.