Portion control is an integral part of any diet, but counting every calorie can be mentally and physically exhausting. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of tasty, filling snacks that you can eat to your heart’s content, without worrying about tipping the scales.
While we don’t recommend binge eating under any circumstances, munching healthy portions of these naturally low calorie foods will go a long way toward silencing those nagging cravings.
6 Low Calorie Foods to Snack On
Pickles. One cup of cucumbers contains a mere sixteen calories—and the pickling process, if done right, doesn’t add any calories at all.As salty and crunchy as potato chips, pickles are one of the few low calorie foods that effectively keep cravings at bay. Be careful, though—pickles contain a significant amount of salt, so dieters monitoring their sodium intake should be wary of portions.
Next: Fresh fruit
Fresh fruit. While not technically a low calorie option, fresh fruits boast high water content, natural sugars, and fibrous flesh, all of which contribute to satiety. (Satiety refers to the feeling of satisfaction you receive after a meal—so, in other words, fruit can’t be overdone simply because you will feel full long before you overeat.) That’s why Weight Watchers adjusted their diet program to include fruit as a zero point food.
Next: Air-popped popcorn
Air-popped popcorn. This isn’t your buttery movie theatre variety, but when prepared properly, popcorn is a crunchy and satisfying low calorie snack. Popcorn is also a healthy whole grain, so feel free to indulge in large portions—it will help achieve a sense of fullness that lasts for hours. The healthiest way to prepare popcorn is to air-pop it, then season it with a zero calorie topping like garlic powder, salt, or cinnamon. Used sparingly, a small amount of low fat Parmesan or olive oil is also great for flavor.
Next: Kelp noodles
Kelp noodles. Eating noodles might seem counter-intuitive to losing weight—but kelp noodles are a different story. Unlike traditional starch-based noodles, the kelp version is made out of salty sea kelp. They are also packed with water, which contributes to satiety without adding any calories. At just six calories per serving, kelp noodles are a tasty and satisfying alternative to traditional pastas.
Next: Raw and roasted veggies
Raw and roasted veggies. No list of low calorie foods is complete without mentioning vegetables. Minus dips and fatty seasonings, most vegetables are literally a zero calorie food—your body burns just as many calories digesting them as it gains eating them. Like fruit, their water and fiber content contributes to satiety, but vegetables have the added bonus of being mostly sugar-free. If you doubt the satiety potential of vegetables, try getting down several steamed carrots, or even an entire roasted zucchini. Afterward, you likely won’t have room left in your stomach for the meat and potatoes.
Next: Kale Chips
Kale Chips. You’ve got the munchies but you’ve chucked the chips. Try kale chips instead! All roughage, and with hardly any calories, these are cheap and simple to make at home, while succeeding at satisfying those cravings to crunch. Just wash, dry and tear a few bunches of kale leaves. Spread them in a single layer across a baking pan, drizzle with oil and season with only sea salt or with other seasoning of choice (garlic powder is good). Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly crispy.