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12 foods that are surprisingly low in calories

Courtney Leiva
  • Lots of foods are low in calories and delicious.
  • Dietitians shared with INSIDER which foods you should go for if you are trying to cut down on the calories.
  • These low-calorie foods will keep you full and satisfied.

Finding low-calorie foods that are filling can be somewhat challenging, as you may find yourself a bit hungry after munching on all those flavourless snack packs which claim to be under 100 calories or less.

However, selecting satiating foods that are low in calories (and are full of flavour) is more than possible, as expert dietitians suggest that there are plenty of foods available which will fill you up without going over your desired calorie amount. Of course, calories aren't the sole indicator of a healthy food, but it can be a good place to start, and many low-calorie foods have other important benefits.

To bring these fulfilling foods to your radar, we asked some registered dietitians to break down all those low-calorie food options that will fill you up quick. Below are some of the food choices you'll definitely want to write down next time you head for the fridge.

Add baby spinach to your plate.

"These nutrient-dense veggies are very low in calories, but are very high in fibre, vitamins, and minerals," explained registered dietitian Emily Cooper, RDN.

Coming in at about 10 calories per cup, Cooper noted it is easy to fill up on a large serving of leafy greens without adding too many calories to your plate.

Eat some oats in the morning.

"Oats are high in protein and fibre that will keep you feeling full," said registered dietitian nutritionist Anne Guillot, DN.

One half-cup (40 grams) serving of dry oats has only 148 calories, 5.5 grams of protein, and 3.8 grams of fibre, she explained.

Add some chia seeds to your smoothies and salads.

"Chia seeds contain a high amount of protein and fibre," Guillot told INSIDER. A one-ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds provides 137 calories, 4.4 grams of protein, and as much as 10.6 grams of fibre, she said. The soluble fibre in chia seeds are known to keep you feeling full, she added.

Add legumes to your shopping list.

"Lentils, beans, or peas can be very filling because of their high protein and fibre content," Guillot said. One cup (200 grams) of cooked lentils provides 15.6 grams of fibre and nearly 18 grams of protein for only 230 calories, she explained.

Fall in love with root vegetables.

"Potatoes are a healthy food for losing weight," said registered dietitian Kimberly Gomer, MS, RD, LDN, and director of nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa. Hearty foods such as roasted root vegetables are naturally rich in water, fibre, and nutrients, and are low in calorie density, she suggested.

Add whole fruits and veggies to your diet.

"Rather than drinking fruit juice or juicing, eat the whole fruit," Gomer explained. These whole foods are not only low in calorie density, but they also tend to make you feel satisfied longer than fruit juices, vegetable juices, or any sugar-sweetened drink, she said.

Indulge in cruciferous vegetables.

"Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cabbage are low in calories and can be very filling due to their high fibre content," said registered dietitian Alena Kharlamenko, MS, RD.

Whip up some eggs in the morning.

"Eggs are said to help with fullness," said registered dietitian Vanessa Rissetto, RD.

One study even pointed out that people who ate eggs in the morning made better choices throughout the day than those who chose a bagel, she suggested.

Eat some Greek yogurt.

"Some Greek yogurt brands have 19 grams of protein which can help keep you full," Rissetto suggested.

Add soups to your routine.

"Soups made with broth (not cream-based soups) can be an extremely filling low-calorie option, depending on what they are made with," suggested registered dietitian Summer Yule, MS, RDN. If the soup is packed with lean protein and non-starchy vegetables in a light broth, this can be an easy way to incorporate protein, fibre, and water to get a high-volume and low-calorie meal, she said

Munch on some berries.

"Berries are high in fibre and water but are also low in calories," Yule said. For example, two cups of halved strawberries are under 100 calories, she said.

Cook shrimp, mussels, crab, and lobster for dinner.

"Shrimp, mussels, crab, and lobster are all very low in calories, but are high in filling protein," Yule told INSIDER. For example, she pointed out that Trader Joe's Medium Cooked Shrimp are only 90 calories (for about 20 shrimp) and contain 17 grams of protein.

Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.