The adage which states “Show me what you eat and I will show you what you are” carries with it considerable truth, for the body can comprise itself only of what its digestive tract breaks down. In short, you truly are that which you eat! Food quality is not exclusively linked to caloric content or lack thereof. In fact, there exists in nature a great many highly nutritional foods which do not fall under a low calorie heading. However, overeating is often attributed to the limitations of processed food in terms of leaving the body in a “full” state. So-called “junk food” may prove tasty upon being eaten, but leaves you feeling unsatisfied in its lack of nutritious components; thus, the desire to eat more…and more…and so on.
Enter these 20 zero-calorie foods! We should qualify as not necessarily consisting of zero-calorie foods in a literal sense. Aside from water and the air we breathe, a truly calorie-free food is nigh impossible to locate (not including diet sodas and other dubiously “healthy” alternatives to high calorie counterparts). But the 20 zero-calorie foods identified in this list speak for themselves as hugely satisfying and densely nutritious alternatives to far heavier and often less beneficial foods.
1. Spinach: A fixture in the popular culture lexicon of healthy vegetables (Popeye, anyone?), spinach is nutrient-packed and light on the stomach.
2. Onions: Hardly a universally beloved food, onions actually provide a flavorful accompaniment to many a great dish.
3. Tea: Herbal and caffeinated alike, tea offers a wide range of calorie-free health benefits while curbing hunger pangs. A cup a day could be the difference…as our English cousins might attest.
4. Mushrooms: Arguably an acquired taste, mushrooms make a fine and healthy addition to many salads, soups, and appetizer plates. Light on calories, rich where it counts.
5. Cabbage: High in fiber and antioxidants, cabbage is unfortunately neglected on many a vegetable platter. Give ‘em a chance next time around and enjoy the low-calorie version of feeling full and nourished.
6. Asparagus: Enjoyable to eat (cooked or raw), asparagus benefits the digestive system greatly and does so in calorie-neutral fashion.
7. Broccoli: One of the heaviest hitters on our list, broccoli is a cruciferous powerhouse laden to the hilt with antioxidants and a range of body-benefiting vitamins. Packs a mighty punch for a vegetable with a negligible calorie count.
8. Celery: A longtime partner of buffalo wing platters across the country, celery clocks in fairly close to zero calories and provides a respectable dose of fiber. Worthy of consideration even absent a plate o’ wings.
9. Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries—take your pick! These gifts from Mother Nature’s bounty are fairly low in calorie count but exceedingly nutritious. Find time for a handful (or two) a day.
10. Kale: Broccoli’s foremost competition on the list, kale is rich in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. It also clocks in at fewer than 10 calories/cup! Run, don’t walk, to your nearest kale vendor.
11. Pumpkins: Seasonal favorites for aesthetic reasons, pumpkins are surprisingly nourishing and low in calories (though not in pie form). Appreciate their favorable vitamin quotient with every bite.
12. Carrots: Beneficial for eye and skin health, carrots also benefit blood sugar and satisfy hunger quite effectively. Deceptively low in calories (about 40/cup), carrots are enormously tasty and a welcome part of every responsible diet.
13. Tomatoes: A fixture on all but the least inspired of salads, tomatoes provide the body with a range of vitamins for the low cost of around 20 calories/apiece.
14. Coffee: Coffee on its own is not a caloric headache. It’s the addition of cream, sugar, and seemingly countless syrup options that often place this otherwise delicious beverage beyond the reach of this list. Try it in its nearly zero-calorie form for a change. Need more of a biochemical boost? Consider top-notch supplements.
15. Soup (Broth): A time-honored first resort of the ailing, soup is a soothing and restorative food for bedridden folk the world over. Light soup broth, however, is a fine and healthy addition to any diet.
16. Beets: Good for the blood and a host of bodily functions/systems, beets are a low-calorie miracle of a vegetable. Find room for them in the diet wherever possible.
17. Water: Yes, water makes the list. Keep yourself hydrated and displace a bit of the daily appetite.
18. Bell Peppers: An easy sell on account of their flavorful properties, peppers are excellent for kidney function and scarcely register on the calorie meter at a mere 25-30 apiece.
19. Limes: Delicious and vitamin-rich, limes exist very near the zero-calorie threshold. Historically relied upon to stave off scurvy in the sailing profession, limes are unusually potent in their nutritional density.
20. Lemons: Lime’s close cousin, lemons are a longtime companion of restaurant water and iced tea. Given their taste and vitamin content, keep them that way…or any other way you’d prefer.
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