Low Calorie Foods
When I finally decided it was time to lose weight and get
back in shape, I didn't know where to begin or exactly what I should be
eating. There are so many fad diets available and I did get sidetracked
on the low-carb, Atkins diet, only to quickly discover that it wasn't for
A few years ago, I found a website that helped me understand what it
takes to lose weight and gave me the motivation to do it. I have looked
for it again for my own benefit and that of our readers. Unfortunately,
I cannot find it. I did include all that I learned and listed what worked
for my diet on our weight loss tips page so
hopefully it can help you too.
Taking it from there, it would have been much easier to lose weight
if I had known right from the start just what foods were low calorie and
low fat, and what to combine for meals. We already know that most fruits and
vegetables are beneficial, so this list excludes most of them.
Low Calorie / Diet Food List
I have compiled a list of low-calorie (and mostly low-fat) foods that
were easy to prepare and healthy. Sometimes I will make some tasty
sandwiches and add them to my list of meals.
You can make your own list of meals and sandwiches and write down the
calories that you figured in a weight
loss journal. This way you don't have to add them up every time you
eat. Keep in mind, these are not foods low in carbohydrates, just low in
calories. I found that by reducing the calories per day and adding some
exercise was the easiest way for me to lose weight.
Prepackaged, frozen meals - Weight Watchers has
"Smart Ones," there's Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice, and
more. I buy whatever looks good and/or is on sale, not because I am
following a particular diet. These foods are healthy, offer variety, and
Canned soup - Read the labels. Companies usually
list more than one serving per can, so the calories and sodium are more
that what you see at first glance. Healthy soups are costlier but the
cans are larger and they're chunkier. Regular soup is fine as long as
you keep track of calories, fat calories, and sodium.
Fat-Free hot dogs or chicken patties - These take
some getting used to but they're filling and guilt-free. Some brands are
unpalatable and simply not worth the extra money.
Lean lunch meat - A sandwich with lean lunch meat
and some mustard or fat-free mayo will get you by until your next meal.
It may cost more but there's no denying the difference between lean and
regular. Again, read the labels.
Rice cakes - Plain rice cakes are only around 35
calories. Unsalted ones have very little sodium and are healthier. Other
flavors are available and quite good. Even though they have a few more
calories, they're worth the extra treat.
Bullion cubes - Dieting often makes you feel
chilled. Drink bullion cubes dissolved in hot water to warm up and get a
little food content. The only downside is that they're packed with salt,
so don't get carried away.
Reduced calorie crackers & chips - These are good
snacks that satisfy a need for crunchy foods. By keeping this craving
under control, you'll reduce the chance of binging later on. Yes, you
need to count the crackers and chips if you're counting calories. My
favorites are reduced-calorie Cheese Nips, Wheat Thins and fat-free
Breakfast and granola bars - Crunchy breakfast bars
come in many different flavors and can be eaten as a fast meal if you're
eating several times a day or as a satisfying snack.
Lowfat cottage cheese - Add a 1/2 cup of cottage
cheese to your diet to balance it out. You'll get dairy benefits and
only about 80 calories.
Cherry tomatoes - Besides the other fruits and
vegetables that I like, a medium cherry tomato is packed with flavor.
There are only about ten calories in four medium (2 oz.) cherry
Light yogurt - Light yogurt has more calories than
what I'd like, but it's a treat. Pick your favorite flavor and reward
yourself when your sweet tooth kicks in.
Popcorn - Surprised? I don't mean the prepackaged
popcorn that you pop in the microwave, most of it is packed with
calories and sodium. What's healthy is the old-fashioned, natural
kernels that you need to pop in a hot-air popper. This gives you control
of what is added. Still, you need to eat in moderation.
Currently, you can find healthy mini-bags such as Orville
Redenbacher's Smart Pop® that you just pop in the
microwave. This will add only 100 calories to your diet and quench your
desire for munchies. A perfect snack.
Pickles - Load up on dill pickles and dill slices.
This makes a nice "side dish" or snack and helps fill you up without
giving you calories. Other pickles, such as "bread and butter" give you
calories, so make sure you read the label.
Cool Whip Light - Are you an ice cream addict? Next
time you have a craving, eat some frozen Cool Whip Light instead.
Sugar-Free Jello - Available in a large variety of
flavors, you're in for a refreshing treat. Prefer pudding? look for
Jello pudding cups that contain a mere 60 calories per cup.
Light Bread - Wonder light bread has only 40
calories per slice. Regular bread is around 60 per slice. That means
eating a sandwich with light bread will save you 40 calories -- another
slice of light bread!
Condiments and spreads - Did you know that most
have zero calories? The calorie content of ketchup varies by the brand.
Either way, you need to count and add them to your daily list. Mayo is
packed with calories so it's best to stick with the fat-free version
(Kraft is my favorite brand) or alternative.
Butter or margarine is another no-no but you can find brands that
offer fat-free spread although they sacrifice taste. Look for low-cal
sprays for tasty veggies and grilled-cheese sandwiches. For a welcome
change, spruce up a salad with healthy salsa sauce instead of salad
Do you love barbeque sauce but don't want to add the extra calories to
your meal? Depending on how much you need, you can reduce the amount of
sauce used by mixing in equal or more parts of ketchup (regular, carb-free
or sugar-free.) You will soon get used to it and straight BBQ will taste too
tangy. The same concept can be used for nacho and cheese dips by
adding salsa to the cheese.
Beverages - Water is very beneficial to feeling full
and satisfied. Drink liberally. Add some to your prepackaged meals and
soup to add content and help you feel full, quicker. Your body needs
extra water when it's eliminating fat, so stay hydrated. Tea, diet sodas
and sugar-free drink mixes add variety. Fat-free hot chocolate is
perfect for chocolate cravings and warms you up on a cold winter day.
Turkey BLT Recipe - Two slices of toast, two slices
of turkey bacon, one slice of tomato, lettuce and 1/2 tbsp. of fat-free
mayo makes a sandwich that's only about 220 calories, less than a
prepackaged, frozen meal. Alternatively, you can use real bacon slices,
which will only add a few extra calories.
More Weight Loss Articles
This information is in no way intended to be a
substitute for professional advice. Consult your physician before starting
a new regimen, fitness plan or diet.