One of the challenging aspects of losing weight is cutting back on calories. Many low-calorie foods can leave you feeling hungry, making it more tempting to overeat and indulge. Thankfully, there are plenty of healthy foods out there that are filling, yet low in calories. Want to know what they are? Read this article to discover 10 of the best low calorie foods that can help you lose weight.
Best Low Calorie Foods
Berries such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are good for your health. In addition, their high fiber content reduces hunger and boosts weight loss.
For example, one cup of blueberries (148 grams) supplies just 84 calories, but packs 3.6 grams of fiber. Berries are also an excellent source of pectin, a type of fiber that can slow stomach emptying and increase satiety. One study showed that a 65-calorie afternoon snack consisting of berries decreased calorie intake in the evening compared to a 65-calorie confectionery.
Oats are a great choice if you want to lose weight. Not only are they low in calories, but they’re also high in fiber and protein that can help you feel full. A one-half cup serving of dry oats (40 grams) contains only 148 calories, but packs 3.8 grams of fiber and 5.5 grams of protein — both of which can have an impact on hunger and appetite.
Besides increasing satiety, oats are loaded with beta-glucans, which have been shown to improve metabolic health.
3. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens include spinach, kale, collard greens, and swiss chard, among others. They have properties that make them perfect for weight loss, such as being low in calories, low in carbohydrates, and high in fiber.
Eating leafy greens is one way to increase the volume of your meals without increasing calories too much. Leafy greens are incredibly nutritious and contain high amounts of vitamins, minerals, (including calcium, which can aid fat burning), and antioxidants.
Potatoes are often considered unhealthy, due to their association with potato chips and French fries. But the truth is, potatoes can be both filling and nutritious. One medium baked potato contains 161 calories and provides 4 grams of protein and fiber.
One study evaluating the effect of certain foods on satiety ranked boiled potatoes as the most filling, garnering a score of 323 on the satiety index (nearly 7 times higher than croissants). The filling effect of potatoes is believed to be due to protease inhibitors — compounds that can reduce appetite, boost fullness, and decrease food intake.
Because of their high fiber and protein content, legumes such as peas, lentils, and beans are incredibly filling. One cup of cooked lentils (198 grams) provides about 230 calories, 15.6 grams of fiber, and 18 grams of protein.
Numerous studies prove that legumes can reduce hunger and appetite. For instance, one study conducted on 43 young men reported that a high-protein meal with peas and beans reduced appetite and increased feelings of fullness more than a high-protein meal with pork and veal.
6. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is a good source of protein and can help curb cravings and support weight loss. Although the exact numbers may vary between brands, a two-thirds cup serving of Greek yogurt (150 grams) typically provides 130 calories and 11 grams of protein.
One study conducted on 20 women examined how high-protein yogurt affected appetite when compared to unhealthy high-fat snacks like crackers and chocolate. The women who ate yogurt experienced less hunger and consumed 100 fewer calories at dinner than those who ate the high-fat snacks.
Though soup is considered a simple side dish, it can be very satisfying. In fact, research suggests that soup may be more filling than solid foods — even if they have the same ingredients.
One study conducted on 12 people reported that a smooth soup slowed emptying of the stomach and promoted satiety (feeling of fullness) more than a chunky soup or solid meal. Just be sure not to add too much fat to the soup (such as coconut milk or cream), as this can significantly increase calorie content. To maximize fullness, opt for a light broth or stock-based soup.
8. Chia Seeds
Often hailed as a superfood, chia seeds are low in calories, but are rich in protein and fiber. A one-ounce serving of chia seeds (28 grams) provides 137 calories, 4.4 grams of protein and an impressive 10.6 grams of fiber.
Chia seeds are particularly high in soluble fiber, a type of fiber which swells and absorbs liquid to promote feelings of fullness. In fact, chia seeds can absorb 10 to 12 times their weight in water. Adding a serving or two of chia seeds can curb cravings and reduce appetite.
Watermelon has high water content that can help keep you hydrated and full, while supplying a minimal amount of calories. One cup of diced watermelon (152 grams) contains just 46 calories, but is rich in essential nutrients such as vitamins A and C.
Eating foods with a low-caloric density (such as watermelon) has been found to have similar effects on feelings of fullness when compared to high-caloric density foods. Additionally, foods with low-caloric density have been linked to lower body weight. One study conducted on 49 women reported that replacing oat cookies with an equal amount of calories from fruits significantly reduced calorie intake and body weight.
Eggs are low in calories, but rich in many important nutrients. They are packed with protein and are a great low-calorie breakfast choice. A large egg has about 72 calories, 6 grams of protein, and a broad array of vitamins and minerals.
Interestingly, most of the nutrients are found in the yolk. Studies show that a high-protein breakfast could decrease snacking and reduce levels of ghrelin, a hormone responsible for hunger.
Cutting back on calories does not mean that you have to feel constantly hungry or unsatisfied between meals. These best low calorie foods have plenty of protein and fiber that can reduce hunger, fight cravings, and make weight loss easier than ever. To get even better results, eat a balanced diet and lead an active lifestyle.
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