There are all kinds of low-calorie diet foods lurking on your grocery store shelves. You can tell by the bright shiny labels that figuratively shout out how the product is low in calories, sugar-free, low-fat, worth so many points or whatever.
But just because something is low in calories and claims to be good for weight watching doesn’t mean it’s actually has anything in it that’s good for your body.
. These 25 whole foods are nutritious, versatile and super-low in calories, so there’s no need to settle for heavily processed diet junk food ever again.
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Kale is incredibly nutritious -- it's high in most vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and calcium. It's also an excellent source of fiber and contains beneficial antioxidants. It's no wonder that kale is included on almost every list of superfoods. As for calories. One cup of raw chopped kale has 33 calories. Perfect for a big salad or side dish.
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Arugula is another green leafy vegetable that's high in just about every vitamin and mineral. Two cups of arugula have only ten calories, so it makes a perfect base for a big salad (topped with fresh fruits, nuts and a light dressing). Or arugula can be wilted in a little bit of olive oil and garlic and served as a side dish.
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Carrots are good for any weight loss diet because they're not as bitter as other vegetables, and they can be served as a side dish or raw as an appetizer or snack. Carrots are high in vitamins A and C, plus they're a good source of several B vitamins, potassium and manganese. One cup of sliced carrots has about 50 calories.
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Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, which are all high in nutrients and antioxidants. Broccoli is particularly high in vitamin C, iron, vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It's also high in fiber and totally low-cal. One cup of chopped broccoli only 31 calories.
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Swiss chard is another leafy vegetable with colorful stems that's rich in nutrients and low in calories. One cup of chopped cooked chard has 35 little calories, but it's rich in calcium, iron, potassium, vitamins A, C, and K. Swiss chard doesn't require a lot of effort to prepare - it can be boiled or sauteed with a little olive oil and white balsamic vinegar.
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Cauliflower is related to broccoli and kale, and although it doesn't have the dark green pigment of other cruciferous veggies, it's still high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. One cup of chopped cauliflower has only 25 calories and is perfect as a steamed side dish or served raw with a light veggie dip.
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Spinach can be served as a healthy side dish, or it can serve as the base of a salad. Spinach is high in iron, calcium, and several vitamins, and one cup of raw spinach leaves has only seven calories and a cup of cooked spinach has only 41.
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It seems like green beans don't usually get much attention, which is too bad because they're very high in vitamins A and C and a good source of several minerals, B vitamins, and fiber. Of course, they're also low-cal -- one cup of cooked green beans has only 44 calories.
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Brussels sprouts look like cute little cabbages. They're good for you -- Brussels sprouts are high in most vitamins and several minerals, plus they're high in dietary fiber. Talk about a perfect side dish - one cup of cooked Brussels sprouts has only 56 calories.
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Lean chicken breast meat without the skin is an excellent source of protein, niacin, selenium and vitamin B-12. One 3-ounce portion of chicken breast meat has about 100 calories before it's cooked. Keep your chicken low-cal by combining it with other healthy ingredients. Keep portion size in mind too. One serving of chicken breast meat is about the size of a deck of cards.
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Grapefruit is a healthy citrus fruit that's loaded with potassium, vitamins C and A, and fiber. It's also low in calories. One-half a grapefruit has 52 calories. Grapefruit makes a sweet addition to breakfast or can be eaten as a snack.
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Cod has a mild flavor compared to the oilier ocean fish like salmon and tuna. It's also lower in calories - a 3-ounce portion of cooked cod has about 75 calories (that's baked not deep-fried). Cod is also high n vitamin B-12, niacin, selenium, and protein.
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There are so many varieties of mushrooms, and they all vary a bit in their nutritional value. Some, like chanterelles, are high in vitamin D. But, in general, mushrooms are a good source of B vitamins, minerals and fiber. And mushrooms are very low in calories -- one cup of white mushrooms has only 44 calories. Mushrooms can be added to salads or used as ingredients in a variety of recipes.
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Shrimp and prawns are high in protein, selenium, niacin and vitamin B-12. They're also low in calories -- four large cooked shrimp have about 26 calories. Cooked cold shrimp can be added to salad or served as an appetizer with cocktail sauce.
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Tomatoes are high in vitamins A and C, many B vitamins and a number of minerals. Plus they're high in fiber and totally diet-friendly. One tomato has about 35 calories. Add tomato slices to salads and sandwiches or snack on a handful of cherry tomatoes - five cherry tomatoes has a total of 20 calories.
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Zucchini can be served raw as an appetizer or snack, or they can be sauteed in a little bit of olive oil for a healthy low-cal side dish. One cup of chopped zucchini has 20 calories. It also has lots of vitamins, minerals and fiber.
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A pile of fresh celery sticks make an excellent addition to a raw veggie plate or can be topped with a little peanut butter and eaten as a healthy snack. Celery is an excellent source of fiber, calcium, potassium and vitamin C and low in calories. One long celery stalk has ten calories, and one cup of chopped celery has only 16 calories.
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Radishes have a peppery flavor and a nice crunch that can add interest to salads, or they can be served with a light veggie dip or hummus. Radishes are a good source of vitamin C and several minerals, including zinc and potassium. And they're crazy-low in calories. Each radish has one calorie.
Who needs a sugary dessert when you've got a lovely pile of strawberries? Strawberries are high in vitamin C, fiber and potassium. And they're diet-friendly. One cup of strawberry slices has 53 calories. Serve them after dinner or add them to a bowl of oatmeal or low-fat yogurt.
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Seafood is generally lower in calories than meat and even poultry. Scallops are high in protein, minerals and vitamin B-12, and two large scallops have only 26 calories. Serve sauteed scallops with a little lemon, cooked greens or a large salad for a low-calorie dinner.
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Blueberries are super high in antioxidants, fiber and vitamins, and minerals. They're also naturally low in calories. One cup of fresh blueberries has 84 calories. Serve blueberries as a low-cal dessert or add them to cereal or use them in smoothies.
Clementines are those cute little oranges that are easy to peel and super tasty. They're high in vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, plus they're low in calories -- each little clementine has 35 calories. They're perfect as an afternoon snack or an addition to a healthy breakfast.
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Watermelons are a staple at summer picnics for good reason -- they' re sweet and refreshing. Watermelon is also a good source of vitamins A and C, plus potassium, and low in calories -- one cup of watermelon balls has 46 calories. Serve watermelon as a mid-afternoon snack or after dinner as a healthy dessert.