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Last updated: September 19, 2021
Keen to get your body in the best shape and ready for the summer months? To get your body back in shape after those long and cold winter months, there is really no need to go on a strict diet.
All you need to do is exercise regularly and eat all the right foods. And when I say the right foods, I particularly mean the low-calorie foods that are also very rich in nutrients.
It’s that ideal combination of high nutrient density and low calorie count that will help you with your weight loss goals and getting in shape. They work for me, and I’m sure they can do wonders for you as well.
Top 10 Low-Calorie Nutrient Rich Foods
So, let’s forget about those strict diets, and instead let’s indulge on the below delicious foods that will give you a great variety of nutrients without having to worry about the calories.
It may not be everyone’s favorite vegetable, but asparagus packs a ton of nutrients, such as iron, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber and also protein.
Don’t steam asparagus for too long though, as this may have a negative impact on the nutritional value.
I love dipping asparagus in hummus as a nutritious snack at work. Otherwise, adding bits of asparagus in salads works really well too.
Just like so many other vegetables, asparagus is very low in calories. According to USDA, asparagus only has 20 calories per 100 grams! Other vegetables low in calories that I personally enjoy eating are celery, eggplant and spinach.
Legumes are the seeds of plants in the Fabaceae family. Examples of popular legumes are lentils, peas, kidney beans, tamarind, chickpeas, soybeans and peanuts.
Most legumes typically contain good amounts of low GI carbohydrates, protein and dietary fiber, complemented with B vitamins, manganese, calcium, iron, magnesium and so much more. In addition, they contain no cholesterol and hardly any fat or sodium.
Popular with vegans as a meat substitute, legumes are also versatile and can be used as the base for many meals. They also fit well in soups and salads for extra nutrition.
What’s great is that legumes are extremely affordable, even more reason to include them in your regular diet!
Who doesn’t love blueberries? These tiny fruits offer a great variety of nutrients and are particularly rich in anthocyanin, a flavonoid with potent antioxidant capacity.
Check out this delicious blueberry spinach smoothie recipe that has all the right flavors and nutrients!
But blueberries aren’t the only type of berries that are low in calories. Basically all berries have a favorable balance of calories and nutrients. Blackberries, for example, only have 62 calories per 200 grams.
4. Red Bell Peppers
One of my favorite healthy afternoon snacks is bell peppers. I often cut a whole bunch of bell peppers into edible pieces and store them in the fridge so I can snack on them whenever I feel like it.
Bell peppers are super healthy, offering high amounts of vitamin C, vitamin A, dietary fiber, vitamin B6 and potassium. The red version is particularly rich in antioxidants.
And with only 30 calories per 100 grams, you really can’t go wrong with red bell peppers if you’re trying to lose weight.
While at first glance the average calorie count of 60-80 calories per egg may seem high, it’s a different story when you consider the fact that eggs are very filling and super nutritious.
Eggs are a great natural source of high-quality protein. Eat one egg in the morning or as a snack in the afternoon for a healthy energy boost, without feeling the urge to eat more snacks. This means you will be eating far less calories overall.
Oh and don’t just throw out the egg shells, they can be useful as a good source of calcium, especially if you have a blender.
Kale is a bit underappreciated. Perhaps because it doesn’t taste as great as its rival spinach. Kale has a somewhat bitter taste whereas spinach has a more neutral taste.
Spinach is also easier to cook nice meals with and you’ll find many more recipes with spinach than with kale. In addition, raw spinach can easily be added to salads, but you wouldn’t do that as easily with kale. Which is a pity, because kale is such a nutritious vegetable.
Looking at the nutritional profile of kale, it’s clear that this leafy green is a particularly rich source of vitamin A, folate, vitamin C and vitamin K. The amount of vitamin K in 100g of kale is equivalent to almost 700% of the daily value!
Kale is also a good source of protein and dietary fiber, and is also super low in calories and has zero fat. So if you’re trying to lose weight, this leafy green is your friend.
Check out these delicious kale smoothie recipes if you’re into smoothies.
Not everyone likes them, but there is no denying that beets are actually very good for you.
Beets contain no fat and are a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and iron, just to name a few nutrients.
In addition, beets are also known to lower blood pressure, boost your brain health and improve digestion.
8. White Fish
Seafood may not be for everyone, but I love it and I try to eat fish at least once a week.
White fish specifically is very low in calories, and is an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids and a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Cod, for example, only has 80 calories per 100 grams, which is very low.
If you prefer to have meat rather than fish or other seafood, turkey breast and skinless chicken breast are surprisingly low in calories and high in protein and B vitamins.
This may come as a surprise, but watermelon, despite its deliciously sweet flavors, is actually very low in calories. Only 30 calories in 100 grams of watermelon!
The nutritional value of watermelon on the other hand is far more impressive.
If you’re looking to boost your vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium or potassium intake, a few slices of watermelon can do wonders for you.
Did I save the best for last? With only 15 calories per 100 grams, cucumber is not just a nutrition powerhouse, it’s also an excellent fruit (or vegetable) if you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight.
Cucumbers are a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, potassium, and so much more. What’s even better is that a cucumber contains no fat.
In other words, lots of reasons to start eating more cucumbers. They not only work really well in salads, cucumbers are also a great snack, especially when you feel dehydrated.
Check out my list of fruits and vegetables high in vitamin K for more ideas.
So there you go, lots of examples of delicious and fresh foods that are low in calories as well as high in nutrients.
If you’d ask me what my favorite item is in this list, then it would be the beets. I absolutely love adding beets to my salads, and I also often eat beets before doing my workouts, as they give me so much energy.
I would love to hear from you too, what are some of your favorite low calorie and nutrient rich foods?
>> The 1200 calorie diet explained.
>> Foods that are rich in magnesium.