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9 Nourishing Low-Calorie Foods

9 Nourishing Low-Calorie Foods

Going from eating whatever you want to carefully tracking your caloric intake can be difficult. If you aren’t sure where to start, you may reach for low-calorie foods with little or no nutritional value. Simply eating something with low calories does not make it healthy or nutritious. And if you skimp out on the nutrients, your body will continue to feel those hunger pangs. 

If you choose to stick to low-calorie foods, they must be full of nutrients. The good news is that plenty of tasty and healthy low-calorie options are available to keep your calories low and your stomach full. Let’s take a look at some delicious and nourishing low-calorie foods.

How do you get enough nutrients on a low-calorie diet? 

Getting enough nutrients while eating low-calorie may seem difficult. However, it is possible if you know what foods to choose. Nutrient-dense foods are the key. Nutrient density is the term used to describe the ratio between nutritional content and energy provided in food. Nutrient-dense foods provide more nutrients with lower calories.

What foods have the lowest calories? 

While there are a lot of good foods out there to choose from in a low-calorie diet, the following are some of the best if you want to get a lot of nutrients while keeping calories low and feeling full. 

1. Oats

Oats provide a punch of nutrients for relatively few calories. They can also be eaten daily and incorporated into many different meals. Because of their high protein and fiber content, they will keep you feeling fuller longer than other low-calorie foods. A half-cup serving of oats provides five grams of protein, four grams of fiber, and only 154 calories. 

2. Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt is a thicker and creamier yogurt with a good punch of nutrients. It is also high in protein, which helps control appetite and increase feelings of fullness. Generally speaking, a one-cup serving of Greek yogurt can provide 25 grams of protein for only 150 calories. Other nutrients in Greek yogurt include vitamins B2 and B12, selenium, calcium, zinc, and vitamin A. 


Image by Drica Pinotti on Unsplash: What is the most nutritious food with low calories? 


3. Berries

Berries are sweet, delicious, and versatile fruits. You can eat them alone, in a smoothie, with Greek yogurt, or in a salad. There are several varieties to choose from, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. 

While many people avoid sugary fruits while dieting, the nutritional content and low calories contained in berries make them a perfect snack. One cup of blueberries, for example, contains only 86 calories, but has 3.6 grams of fiber and a good amount of antioxidants. Studies have even shown that eating berries can reduce the overall number of calories you eat in a day. 

4. Eggs

Eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods out there. One egg has only 72 calories but also provides 6 grams of protein. Other vitamins and minerals in eggs include iron, choline, folate, and vitamins A, D, and E. Research has shown that eating a high-protein breakfast such as eggs can suppress appetite and reduce how much you snack throughout the rest of the day. 

5. Fish 

If you’re looking for a main dish that is low-calorie but also nutrient-dense, look no further than fish. Fish contains high amounts of protein and heart-healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids. The calories will range depending on the type of fish. One three-ounce serving of cod, for example, is under 60 calories and contains enough protein to help reduce appetite throughout the day. Research investigating the effects of different animal proteins found that fish, although not always seen as the best protein source, is the most effective in regulating appetite. 

6. Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese isn’t for everyone, but if you happen to be a fan, it’s a fantastic nutrient-dense food to go for when you’re looking for a hearty snack. One cup of cottage cheese provides a whopping 28 grams of protein for only 163 calories. And it isn’t just protein that you get from this snack – it also contains high amounts of selenium and phosphorus, and has over half your daily recommended intake of vitamin B12. 


Image by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels: Cottage cheese is one of the best low-calorie filling foods. 


7. Potatoes 

When most people think of potatoes, they think of the unhealthy versions such as French fries and potato chips. However, they are perfect for a low-calorie diet if you skip the frying. Choosing to bake a potato will provide you with a meal or side dish that contains four grams of protein, four grams of fiber, and only 161 calories. Potatoes also have nutrients such as vitamin C, magnesium, vitamin B6, and potassium. 

8. Lean meat 

Lean meats such as chicken and turkey can be eaten as a snack or a main dish. They are highly versatile, making them great additions to nutrient-dense low-calorie meal plans. Chicken, as an example, contains 163 calories in a four-ounce serving. With a whopping 32 grams of protein, that one serving of chicken is sure to keep you fuller for longer. Other nutrients in lean chicken include B vitamins, vitamin D, and iron. 

9. Legumes 

While legumes may be a little higher on the calorie side, they are still low compared to many other foods. Even though their calorie count is more than the rest on this list, they are nutrient-dense, so each calorie counts. Legumes include lentils, beans, and peas. A one-cup serving of lentils contains 230 calories but provides you with 15 grams of fiber and 18 grams of protein. They are also low in fat and high in folate, potassium, and antioxidants known as polyphenols. 

Sticking to low-calorie foods isn't always the easiest, but if you choose the right foods, you won't even realize you're cutting calories!


Featured image by Joseph Gonzalez on Unsplash

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