While there’s no such thing as zero-calorie food, there are foods you can enjoy freely without having to worry about packing on the pounds.
According to nutritionist Dr. Lisa Young, these foods generally fall into one of two categories: non-starchy fruits or vegetables.
Young says there are few reasons why you won’t gain weight from eating these foods:
- They’re mostly made up of water.
- They’re low in calories.
- They contain fiber, which helps make you feel and stay full.
Although these fruits and vegetables aren’t high in protein, they’re packed with plenty of vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients that have numerous benefits for your health.
It’s important to note that, just like with any other food, if you eat too much of these foods, you will gain weight. But for the reasons listed above, it’s unlikely that you’ll overindulge in these specific items.
Keep scrolling to 14 foods you can eat without restraint.
Even though celery is 95% water, it is loaded with health benefits.
Almost 95% of celery is water, but that doesn’t mean the vegetable doesn’t have significant health benefits. Celery contains potassium, folate, fiber, and 30% of your daily requirement of vitamin K. There are only six calories in a single serving.
You’re best off eating celery when it’s fresh, though. The vegetable loses many of its antioxidants within five to seven days of being purchased.
Kale has protein and fiber that will keep you feeling full and satisfied.
Kale is light in calories — one cup of raw kale only has about 33 calories — but it contains close to three grams of protein and 2.5 grams of fiber per serving.
It’s one of the relatively few foods that contains an omega-three fatty acid, a nutrient that most people rely on fish to get. Like other kinds of lettuce, kale is also high in vitamins and folate.
Blueberries are full of potassium and can help lower your risk of heart disease.
Blueberries’ claim to fame is their antioxidant content. The fruit has more antioxidants than any other fruit. And for all the fiber a cup of blueberries packs — 14% of your recommended daily value — it only has around 85 calories.
The skin and seeds of cucumbers are rich in nutrients.
A fruit that is mostly made up of water, cucumbers only contain 16 calories per serving. The seeds and skin contain most of the fruit’s nutritional value, so you’re best off not peeling your cucumbers.
The peel and seeds provide both fiber and a form of vitamin A known as beta-carotene, which is known to be good for your eyes.
Tomatoes are light on calories but have plenty of vitamins and fiber.
Tomatoes are best known for the fact that they contain lycopene, a carotenoid, which helps fight against chronic diseases and also gives the fruit its red color. Besides lycopene, tomatoes are high in vitamins A, C, and B2, as well as folate, chromium, potassium, and fiber.
And for all the nutrients it boasts, one medium-sized tomato only has around 25 calories.
Grapefruits are commonly associated with diets, but that’s because of all the fiber and vitamins in the low-calorie fruit.
Studies have shown that adding grapefruit to your diet can increase weight loss, which is often why it’s considered a diet food. This is because grapefruits are high in fiber, which keeps hunger at bay by stabilizing blood sugar levels and helping you feel fuller for longer. There are only 50 calories in one-half of a grapefruit.
The vitamin C found in grapefruit can reduce the risk of a number of health problems, like cancer and heart issues. Grapefruit can also work wonders in lowering cholesterol and improving digestion, and the folate found in the fruit makes it an ideal snack for pregnant women.
Broccoli is packed with different vitamins and can help meet your daily fiber requirement.
Broccoli is most nutritious when eaten raw or when steamed. This super vegetable contains sulforaphane, an anticarcinogen that works to destroy cancer-causing chemicals that the body might take in either through the environment or through food.
Besides vitamins A, C, E, and K, one serving of steamed broccoli contain approximately 20% of your daily fiber requirement. Plus, there are only about 31 calories in one serving.
Cauliflower is a great low-calorie vegetable that also helps fight off chronic disease.
Although its white color may make people think otherwise, cauliflower is actually a very versatile and nutritious vegetable. It contains antioxidants and phytochemicals — both of which help to fight off chronic disease — and it’s an excellent source of folate, fiber, and vitamins C and K.
There are around 25 calories in one serving.
Lettuce is chock full of vitamins and is a very versatile vegetable.
Most types of lettuce — whether it’s romaine or iceberg — only have about 10 to 2o calories per serving. And although lettuce won’t add a lot of protein to your diet, it will add plenty of vitamins and nutrients like folate, iron, and vitamins A and C.