Is it actually possible for food to have zero calories? I mean, lots of people wonder whether “safe foods,” which you can eat without thinking about portion control, even exist.
ok – so here’s the deal.
Zero calorie foods (also called negative calorie foods) have so little calories in them (so low!) that the energy your body has to spend digesting them is greater than the amount of calories that they give you (1).
This is good – in essence you’re not eating any excess calories, and sometimes you might even be burning calories as you eat them!
These foods are super low in calories, so you don’t have to worry about them taking up your whole daily calorie limit.
They’ve all got fewer than 50 calories per 100 gram serving. Seem like kind of a lot? Well, chicken breast has 170 calories for the same serving size, and chicken breast is considered healthy (2)! These foods really are low calorie – eat them and see if they help you slim down !
This is the most obvious food on the list – almost everyone already knows it has almost zero calories.
Why? Well, because it’s chock full of water – and that’s about it. It’s all stringy because the stalks are designed to hold water in.
If you’re going for a zero calorie snack, don’t put fillings in, as those are often nutritionally dense and high in calories.
100g serving: 16 calories
Now, this one might be surprising. Delicious and low calorie? It’s true – oranges have tons of vital nutrients like Vitamin C, and less calories than lots of other fruits.
These tasty fruits fill you up , give you good nutrition, taste great, and have very few calories . What’s not to like?
100g serving: 47 calories
Lots of people know cabbage because it’s got so many benefits – for instance it’s been shown to help prevent cancer and heart disease.
But did you also know that it’s got such a low amount of calories (and it’s so filling) that it’s a fantastic choice to eat any time of day? It is!
100g serving: 25 calories
Lots of people love to use asparagus as a vegetable on the side of a main course, and in that role, it’s delicious.
However, you could use it all by its lonesome as a main meal – because it’s so chock full of fiber that it’ll satisfy your hunger, and so low on calories that you don’t have to worry about eating it.
100g serving: 20 calories
Beets are amazing as a low calorie food – but make sure that you use fresh beets, and you steam them, grill them, or boil them.
Don’t get pickled beets unless you mind adding a few more calories to your meal! Beets are chock full of antioxidants and super low in calories.
100g serving: 43 calories
Another ubiquitous low calorie/no calorie food, cucumbers have so much water in them that they’re one of the most hydrating foods out there, short of drinking water. They’re awesome in salads and pretty much anywhere else you care to put them.
You can eat these again and again and again and not gain weight – not that you would want to as they’re very filling indeed.
100g serving: 16 calories
ok , so you’re probably not going to take a huge bite out of a lemon and eat it, but they are super tasty as a garnish or piquant addition to other meals.
Plus, with their extremely low calorie count, you won’t have to worry about how much you’re using. They’re great in a glass of ice water.
100g serving: 29 calories
Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable – which means it comes with all the benefits of that category, including anti-inflammatory effects and helping your body to digest food.
Oh, and it’s also got a tiny amount of calories. And it’s delicious.
100g serving: 25 calories
Which mushroom you ask? Which one has the low calories, and which ones should I avoid? The answer is – all of them are low calorie. Eat them all.
Eat all of the mushrooms.
They’re delicious – put them in everything. Replace your next burger with a nice meaty portabella mushroom. Your bathroom scale won’t regret it.
100g serving of portabella: 22 calories
This is another surprising one. Be honest, I bet you jumped up out of your chair and did a dance of pure, pristine joy when you saw watermelon on this list.
Or maybe you didn’t. Either way – watermelon is amazing , super sweet, and delicious. Oh, and it’s got antioxidants.
100g serving: 30 calories
You can use zucchini as a side dish to pretty much anything and it will stand out, because it’s got such a delicious flavor.
It’s got so few calories you don’t have to feel guilty about chowing down, and it can do so many things that you can even make it into zucchini bread. Sold.
100g serving: 17 calories
Tomatoes are awesome for you. I’m just going to come right out and say it, without beating around the bush. Tomatoes are the best.
They’ve got super-healthy lycopene, which helps prevent cancer and heart disease, plus they go great with like a billion other healthy foods.
100g serving: 17 calories
So how many times have you seen this in a sitcom or on tv – a character declares “I’m going on a diet!” and proceeds to disinterestedly dig into a grapefruit with a sour expression on their face.
This is proof that tv sucks and is trying to hurt you.
Grapefruits supercharge your metabolism and help your heart health, and they’ve got super low calories – combined with lots of nutrients. Don’t skip them.
100g serving: 42 calories
14. Brussels Sprouts
Sticking with our tv sucks theme – a common trope is that brussels sprouts taste bad and are bad and you shouldn’t eat them. Hogwash.
Brussels sprouts are delicious when roasted with some garlic and have so many nutrients – not to mention so few calories. They’re amazing.
100g serving: 43 calories
Kale is often dismissed as a “trendy” superfood, which ignores the fact that it’s a super food . It’s so incredibly good for you, packed full of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, protein, and fiber.
Oh, and it’s got a tiny amount of calories. It’s like a machine designed to get you in better shape.
100g serving: 49 calories
Turnips have a super meager amount of calories in them, making them an ideal choice if you’re looking for something filling without the calories.
more: Take The Quiz – Do You Know The Unique Veggies That Burn Abdominal Fat?
They’ve got anti-inflammatory properties, which is very good for you, and they’re delicious, which is good for you, and you should eat them, because they’re good for you.
100g serving: 28 calories
If I have to convince you to eat apples, so help me I will come to your house and force feed them to you. Because they’re delicious. And low in calories.
Unless you’re allergic to apples. At which point I’ll probably apologize for force feeding them to you and probably drive you to the hospital.
Anyway they’ve got vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, plus a ton of fiber. No brainer.
100g serving: 52 calories
ok , I know this is an internet column, and I know I make some jokes, so let me be completely serious: onions are the greatest thing that have ever existed in the history of ever.
They’re literally the best tasting food. Put them in everything. Put them in ice cream. I don’t care. Long live onions forever.
100g serving: 40 calories
Carrots help you manage your blood sugar through their low glycemic levels, and they also are anti-inflammatories. Oh and they taste good.
Need more? They’re also a natural diuretic, which means they’ll flush retained water and sodium right out of your body. And with a minimum of calories too.
100g serving: 41 calories
Most people hate broccoli when they’re children, this is true. However, if you haven’t come around and realized that broccoli tastes amazing , then I don’t know what to tell you.
It fights cancer. It’s low in calories. It’s got fiber. Phytonutrients. Protein. What more can I say? Eat broccoli.
100g serving: 34 calories
The Best Zero Calorie Foods
- Brussels sprouts
This is an awesome list. I am going to share it with my health class so they can see the power of nutrition these foods have.
I love celery and zucchini! This list is awesome. I am going to make a print out of this and pass it along to friends.
Eating these would be very good for your diet. I just wonder if there are any side effects of eating just these types of foods all the time?
I was not aware that so many of these foods are THAT low in calories. Great to know!
I tend to go on a diet like this once or twice per month before losing interest in it. Do you have any tips that will keep me on the right track?
Zero calories are awesome. I like that I could eat some kale all day long and not feel bad about it. Plus, I would be getting so many vitamins and minerals its not even funny.
I love cabbage soup. Most of the things on this list I could add to it and make a real great soup!
This is a great list to remember the next time you feel hungry and need a snack.
I have been using a list similar to this to get through my new diet. It helps me organize foods like this and add them to each meal so I can get some healthy foods, as well as not have to worry about my calories as much.
I love Kale! I put it in the over for a short time and make it into chips.
When I was on Weight Watchers, it was a challenge to find foods like this that would not add to my total calories for the day, but were healthy for me and helped me lose weight.
I love low calorie foods. I tend to make sure they are not high in fat also and my diet is great!
I do too. As a dietitian, I feel that having a list like this to learn from is very important.
I have a list of foods like this on my shopping list so that I remember to pick them up. You can make many meals with these and even if they are not the main part of the meal, they are a bonus to have with the meal.
Not only are the calories low on these, but some of them have other benefits like vitamins and minerals that are good for your body!
These are the types of foods I like to snack on. I do not feel bad about them and can snack between meals very easily.
I never thought of that. Instead of grabbing a bag of chips, why not snack on cucumber chips or carrots!?
When people ask me how I stay so lean and fit, I usually bring up the veggies right away. The problem is that they freak out and give me the “I ain’t eaten no rabbit food” face. LOL. Oh well, their loss.
Everyone should be eating these as a part of their regular diet. I love celery and cauliflower in my salad.
I love this list. So many of the blog posts here are filled with great information!
I was thinking that same thing that you were. This blog is full of information that you can learn from! I love that!
Zero calories is awesome! These are great for you and will leave you with very little food guilt after eating them!
I love cucumbers. In my salad, on a sandwich and even just to cut up and eat alone. They are soooo good!
I do, too. The cucumbers in my salad are always so fresh and when they snap in my mouth I love that!
Awesome. I was just talking to a friend of mine about what foods I could eat that would not make me feel guilty for eating them. I think this list is a good place to start, right?
Yes it is. I have been following this list in my normal diet for a few months now and am very happy with the results.
I have been on a diet for some time now and I feel like I have stopped losing weight. Do you think if I pack my fridge with these foods I will be able to get down a few more pounds?
Sometimes your body has just had enough weight loss and you are stuck at that weight for a while. I would turn to toning your muscles to shape your body if you are not really happy right now.
That is why I love salad so much. You can have so much of this in one and really the only bad thing for you is the dressing.
It is truly amazing that you need 100 grams of these to even get ANY calories into your body. The misconception would be that since I am eating just these, I don’t have to worry about anything else. But what fuel does your body get?
I love this list. When I was on weight watchers a few years back, it was a great benefit to see that you could eat foods that had zero calories. When you are counting them, ZERO is an awesome number to see :)
Zero calories? Wow, that is awesome. If I could only fill up on these each day, a diet would be easy!