13 low-calorie vegetables, You can lose weight and increase your vegetable intake without eating more calories. Low-calorie foods are a great way to pack your meals. Low-calorie vegetables add tons to the table. Experts were tapped to share their favourite low-calorie veggies and how to bulk up those meals to make them more filling and nutritious.
Why not add low-calorie vegetables to your meals?
Candy bars are low in nutritional value and provide very few calories. Lindsey Palmer, M.B.A.., M.S.R.N., is vice president of nutrition for Chartwells. Low-calorie vegetables are more nutritious than lower-nutrient foods like candy bars. She says that low-calorie vegetables are high in fibre, which can help us feel satisfied, curb cravings and maintain our blood sugar levels.
Michelle Cardel, Ph.D. M.S. R.D. is the senior director of clinical nutrition and research at WeightWatchers. These nutrients are essential for maintaining a healthy body and fighting infections.
How to Eat Low-Calorie Vegetables
Jenny Shea Rawn, M.S.H., R.D., is a registered dietitian and food photographer. Shea Rawn M.S.H., M.P.H. and partner at Little Leaf Farms. You need more than vegetables to provide your body with the necessary nutrients. You’ll feel fuller and get more nutrients. She also recommends that you include as many vegetables as possible.
Cardel also suggests that you look beyond the calories on the plate to ensure you eat a healthy meal. Calories are a good goal but remember to consider fibre, protein and unsaturated oils as positives. Also, be careful not to eat too many added sugars or saturated fats.
Rawn recommends eating food that tastes good, makes you feel good and gives you the energy to get through the day. Rawn suggests mixing different textures, colours and flavours to make your meal more enjoyable. This will ensure that you are excited about every bite of your vegetable.
Now, here are our expert’s favourite low-calorie vegetables. If you want to eat low-calorie meals, check out our best low-calorie snacks.
Best Low-Calorie Vegetables
Although every variety of lettuce has slightly different calories, they all pack a lot of nutrition. About 3.5 ounces of Romaine lettuce contains 20 calories. Rawn loves baby green leaf lettuce, which is rich in fibre, potassium and iron. Its extra crispiness makes it a favourite in salads, sandwiches and lettuce wraps.
About 3.5 ounces of spinach contains 27 calories. Cardel states that spinach is rich in vitamin A for skin health and vitamin K for healthy bones. Cardel loves the versatility of spinach and recommends adding it to soups, pasta, soups, and smoothies.
Rawn states that this often overlooked sea vegetable adds freshness and umami flavour to dishes. She adds that it is high in iodine, great for freezing and can be used to make smoothies, salads and seafood dishes. A cup of seaweed contains 45 calories.
Rawn loves red Russian kale, which she uses on salads and pizzas for its high levels of fibre, vitamin K and vitamin C. 9 calories in one cup of raw kale.
Cardel states that cucumbers contain more than 90% water. This makes them super-hydrating and naturally lower in calories. They also have higher fibre content, which helps you feel fuller for longer. A cup of cucumber slices contains 16 calories.
Although technically an eggplant, it is a vegetable and should be included on this list. Cardel claims that eggplant is high in fibre and can help control blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. It can be baked, roasted or grilled and served as eggplant Parmesan. A cup of cubed eggplant contains 20 calories.
Broccoli and Broccolini
Rawn recommends broccoli as a great source of fibre, vitamin A, vitamin K and vitamin C. Cardel also loves broccolini. It is rich in calcium and magnesium, which help to regulate blood pressure. 30 calories per cup of broccoli
Palmer claims that beets can take on salt and acid well. She also loves salads with low-cal cucumbers and tomatoes. Thirty-seven calories are found in a half-cup of beet slices.
Just 48 calories are required to eat 3.5 ounces worth of carrots. Cardel states that carrots are high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that transforms into Vitamin A and supports eyesight and cognitive function. They are great raw or natural sweeteners in desserts and side dishes.
“One of my favourite low-calorie vegetables is zucchini,” Cardel says. “Zucchini is delicious and high in potassium, which helps regulate your blood pressure and digestive system. You can also add it to desserts, such as chocolate-zucchini muffins. A medium zucchini has 33 calories.
Cardel enjoys mushrooms as a great source of B vitamins and fibre. He also loves them roasted or in omelettes. Rawn agrees that mushrooms provide vitamin D, copper, and potassium. However, only 3.5 ounces of portabella mushrooms contain 32 calories.
Palmer states that orange vegetables such as winter squash have higher levels of vitamin A which can be beneficial for eye health, and more potassium than bananas. They are great for making soup bases, and she will often opt for frozen varieties to save time and money. Each squash has a different calorie count. A cup of acorn squash contains 56 calories.