25 LOW CALORIE VEGGIES YOU’LL LOVE
Vegetables for great for weight loss and increased energy
In this post, I’ll be sharing my 25 favorite low cal veggies with you! Vegetables have a bad rap for being boring, tasteless and just… ‘icky’. But the good news is that they don’t have to taste like the boiled cabbage or canned beans and carrots of your childhood. Vegetable dishes can be delicious and flavorful – it’s all about how you prepare or cook them!
But wait, there’s even more good news: Vegetables are pretty low in calories, so while your taste-buds are partying up a storm (with the healthy veggie recipes you can find on my YouTube channel and blog), your hips will be thanking you at the same time.
Bulking up a meal with low-calorie vegetables will help to keep you fuller for longer with longer-lasting sustained energy. So you’ll be able to shake it till the early hours of the morning without having to stop for a snack (win-win!)
Vegetables are high in fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and are great for promoting healthy weight-loss! So, here are my top 25 favorite low calorie vegetables that taste good and will have you feeling great in no time!
(FOODIE PIC): Easy kale, strawberry, celery and carrot salad bowl – recipe here on my blog!
1. Zucchini/ baby marrows
This Italian stallion made its way from Italy to the United States in the 1920’s. I personally love this vegetable because it doesn’t have a very strong taste and can be extremely versatile. But when you add it to that Italian dish it’s just… va va voom! You can easily substitute regular spaghetti for zucchini spaghetti for that super low-calorie alternative. And you can eat A LOT of it. There are only around 33 calories for a half cup of sliced zucchini…. More please!
Cucumbers are not only good for your puffy eyes, you can actually eat them too (who knew!?!). They contain a range of vitamins and minerals such as vitamins B and C, Folic Acid, Iron, Zinc, Calcium, Phosphorus and Potassium. If that doesn’t convert you into becoming a cucumber-lover, then maybe this will: It is a natural cure for bad breath and you would have to eat around 6 cups of sliced cucumber for it to amount to 100 calories. Bring on the cucumber!
Carrots have been featured in paintings and documents dating back to more than 5000 years ago, and I understand why it’s an age-old favorite. High in vitamin A, one carrot is even better than taking a supplement… rumor has it that it helps your vision too. 1/2 cup of chopped carrots is also only around 30 calories, so be like Bugs Bunny and eat a carrot!
4. Gem Squash
Ironically, the gem squash does not look at all squashed. It’s as round as a ball and is a good source of Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Magnesium. For 100 calories (equivalent to a slice of bread) you can eat 1 and a half of these bad boys.
Mushrooms come in various shapes, sizes and even tastes! While the cute button mushroom has a milder taste, it also has fewer calories (2 cups sliced = around 30cal) than it’s cousin the fancy-shmancy portobello mushroom (1/2 cup sliced = around 33 cal). Mushrooms also produce vitamin D when they are exposed to sunlight!
(FOODIE PIC): My favorite (healthy) spicy roasted red pepper and hummus salad sandwich – recipe here on my blog!
6. Bell peppers
Unfortunately they don’t sound like bells when you shake them, but they are extremely tasty! They come in a rainbow of different colors and are very high in antioxidants. There are only 20 calories per 100g, so you can load up on them to add flavor to any dish (really good in salads!)!
Broccolli is one of those miracle foods. Sure, it looks like a tree, but it is loaded with nutrients, helps to lower cholesterol, is a natural anti-inflammatory and contains cancer-fighting and immune boosting properties. You’d also have to eat about 300 grams of the stuff before you reach the same amount of calories as a slice of bread (100 cal). While it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing vegetable, broccoli is solid proof that sometimes beauty really is on the inside.
Cauliflower is often regarded as broccoli’s better-looking sister, and does have similar properties and the same calorie content to it. It’s just prettier.
No, you don’t have to boil the cabbage. Cabbage can be eaten raw, steamed or fried and is surprisingly nutritious. It looks a lot like lettuce, so don’t confuse cabbage for lettuce and wrap your naked burger in it! There are only about 25 calories per 100g – so you don’t have to give up your sauerkraut addiction!
Lettuce is stuffed to the brim with nutrients like potassium and are an excellent source of fibre. Plus, they are so low in calories, they’re basically calorie free!
11. Baby spinach
It may have ‘baby’ in the name, but don’t be fooled! These ‘babies’ are super high in Iron, and basically free in calories!
12. Swiss chard
Usually used in Mediterranean cooking, Swiss chard has next to no calories but is loaded with Vitamin A.
Kale is probably the most fashionable vegetable right now, and so is right up there with the popular crowd. But don’t worry, it’s not a mean girl and will help you in your weight-loss process. It is also one of the top superfoods, is very low in calories (1 cup shredded = roughly 30cal), high in fibre and has zero fat. No wonder it’s popular!
Artichokes don’t just look like pretty flowers, they also help lower your cholesterol and are great for your skin! There are about 47 calories per 100 grams, and these pretty veggies are fabulous (and oh-so-classy) when they are roasted. Just try to avoid the ones soaked in oil (you know, the kind in the glass jar?).
Another veg with such low energy it’s practically calorie-free is the very crunchy celery – quite tasty dipped into peanut butter actually. Celery also helps reduce anxiety and is used to treat insomnia. So if you cant sleep, munch on some ants on a log (celery + peanut butter + raisins)!
16. Eggplant/ aubergine
You could practically eat this stuff till you’re blue (or purple) in the face and you wouldn’t ruin your diet because 100g is equal to around only 35 calories. This veggie is great in Mediterranean dishes, is high in fibre and hosts an array of other vitamins.
It doesn’t just taste great on practically everything, it’s basically a medicine too. Got flu? Eat garlic. Got a yeast infection? Eat garlic. Too many mosquitos biting you? Eat garlic. It’s high in Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Manganese and is another one of those miracle cure foods. And because you don’t need much to spice up any meal, it’s practically free calories too…. just be sure to eat loads of cucumber in the morning!
(FOODIE PIC): Tasty avocado and chickpea dip, to go with my fave raw veggies (cucumber, carrots and snap peas) – recipe here on my blog!
And the vegetable with the worst sounding name goes to…. the leek! Yea, it sounds gross, but it adds that little something extra to otherwise simple dishes. It is an excellent source of Vitamin K and has a special benefit when it comes to weight loss! It helps the body to maintain nutrients without holding on to fat.
Yes, read that last line again. It’s not too good to be true! Leeks help you to hold onto the nutrients while the body leaks (sorry, I had to!) out the fat. There are about 60 calories per 100 grams, but since they are so flavorsome you don’t need a lot in your food.
Our holiday favorite… sigh.
Fun fact: the name ‘pumpkin’ actually came from our all-time favorite story, Cinderella. Before the story was written in the 1700’s, pumpkins were called ‘gros melons’. But the story of Cinderella overlooked the amazing source of fibre and potassium, along with low calories (1 cup diced= around 40cal) that pumpkins possess. Instead, the pumpkin was objectified in the story and was only used for it’s aesthetic value. Tut, tut, tut.
Radishes have long since been used in traditional medicines for various ailments, including jaundice, piles and weight loss. It has a ridiculously low calorie count (16cal per 100g) but is one of the crunchier vegetables on the list. If you’re craving something crunchy, why not throw some sliced radishes in your salad.
21. Spring onions
Spring onions help aid in digestion, boost your immune system and help control blood sugar levels. They add addictive flavor to almost any dish, and have only 32 calories per 100 grams (but who’s going to eat that much of it anyway?)
Actually a fruit, but we eat them like vegetables, so they made the list. Add tomatoes to anything and you have a winner of a meal. Tomatoes can help to reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, and you can eat 1 and a half cups of it for only around 30 cal.
Yes, it grows in the water. It also provides thyroid support and aids in relieving asthma in children. It also has such a tiny amount of calories, they’re not even worth counting.
These are types of onions but they have a stronger taste and grow in clusters like garlic. With roughly 70 cal per 100 grams, shallots are higher in flavonols and polyphenolic compounds than garlic or regular onions.
25. Arugula/ rocket
This leaf is peppery in flavor and extremely high in antioxidants, which is great for your skin! The great thing about arugula is that it adds so much flavor to any meal, but it’s calories are practically non-existent… so you can eat as much as you want!
HEALTHY IS THE NEW SKINNY
While you may have thought vegetables are boring, if you take a look at the above list you’d see that without these tasty plants we would not have many of the flavors we love today! You can create an array of different tastes and flavors with these items, while still adding significant nutrients to your body.
Remember: The key to healthy weight loss is consuming fewer calories while maintaining nutritional health!
Liezl Jayne XO
Photos by Liezl Jayne Strydom and Ross Charnock for liezljayne.com