16 Zero Calorie Foods For Weight Loss

Last updated March 1st, 2021

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Don’t worry, this article is about more than just telling you to eat plain celery.

Which, to be honest, has never tickled my fancy.

No, the foods on this list aren’t actually zero calories.

But they become so when a process called thermogenesis, essentially how the body heats itself up, comes into play.

The theory of zero-calorie foods is that the body will burn more calories metabolizing and cooking the food than the calories the food contains.

So, it doesn’t mean that these foods literally contains zero calories.

I don’t even think celery is actually ZERO calories.

But these foods contain few enough calories that your body burns more calories eating them than the food contains.

Cool, right?

So make sure you add more of these foods to your diet any chance you get!

They will keep you away from calories and still fill you up.

The zero-calorie foods for weight loss were selected based on two criteria:

  • The first was that they must be full of nutrients like vitamins and antioxidants for your health.
  • The second is that they must be under 100 calories per 1 cup serving.

Here are the foods…

1. Apples

Apples - #1 on the list of zero calorie foods

Apples are one of the healthiest fruits on the planet, containing antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and even pectin (which has been shown to reduce hunger).

Eating an apple can be a great snack between lunch and dinner because it will keep the body full while providing a small energy boost.

It’s also a great snack to eat in the morning to keep you from reaching from the bigger breakfast sandwich because you get too hungry to choose a healthier option.

Calories per cup – 57 k/cal 

2. Broccoli

Broccoli is a superfood with the ability to lower the risk of cancer, raise vitamin D, C and K, provide healthy fiber, and it even contains a small amount of protein.

Many people supplement Vitamin D in their diet is very important because over 75% of people are deficient. Our favorite brand is Naturewise, which produces the highest quality organic non-GMO vitamin D supplement on the market today.

Broccoli also provides the unique benefits of lowering inflammation, helping with stress, and detoxifying the body.  Broccoli is best cooked steamed, blanched, or roasted and can be paired with a variety of foods!

My personal favorite way to eat broccoli is roasted with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon.

Calories per cup – 30 k/cal

3. Asparagus

Asparagus is next on the list of zero calorie foods with its high amounts of vitamin K, folate, copper, fiber, and vitamin B1.

You can actually eat asparagus raw. I’ve eaten it raw on salads plenty of times, but I personally prefer it roasted or very lightly steamed.

Remember that the more you cook fruits and vegetables, the fewer nutrients they will retain when eaten. Try to eat vegetables raw or very lightly cooked or steamed whenever possible.

Calories per cup – 27 k/cal

4. Watermelon

Watermelon - #4 on the list of zero calorie foods

Watermelon… the perfect summer snack. It’s a delicious, low-calorie treat that you can enjoy without all the guilt.

It does contain natural sugar, so you don’t want to go overboard and eat an entire watermelon by yourself, but it’s also packed with antioxidants!

Try eating more watermelon as an afternoon snack or after dinner when you’re craving something sweet. I like to dice it up and freeze it during the summertime to try to trick myself into believing that it’s candy.

Calories per cup – 47 k/cal

5. Cucumber

Cucumbers are a delicious nutrient powerhouse!

They contain polyphenols that reduce the rates of cancer and can help manage stress levels because they contain multiple B vitamins (B1, B5, B7, Biotin).

Because cucumbers primarily consist of water and fiber, they also provide support to the body’s digestive health.

My favorite ways to consume cucumbers:

Calories per cup – 16 k/cal

6. Oranges

Oranges are known for having plenty of vitamin C, fiber, B vitamins, vitamin A, and calcium.

This is another great option if you are at work or just looking for a quick snack to kill your cravings.  They have also been shown to lower the risk of heart disease because of their addition of potassium to a diet.

But as with watermelon, they also contain a good amount of natural sugars, so don’t go wild here. Stick to 1 per day when you’re getting a sweet craving.

Calories per cup – 85 k/cal 

7. Celery

Celery - #7 on the list of zero calorie foods

Celery has long been touted as a zero-calorie food. It’s the poster child for zero-calorie foods, really.

It is a good source of vitamin K and water, so it can be filling. However, there is an obvious problem with this food: It has virtually no taste. People tend to add peanut butter or cream fillings to this snack, which runs up the calorie count.

To maximize the benefits, eat celery with your meal in soups or in your green smoothies. Or try some hummus instead of peanut butter!

Calories per cup – 16 k/cal

8. Lemons

Well, you’re not likely to munch on a lemon anytime soon, but lemon juice specifically packs a powerful punch.

Lemons are a great source of vitamin C and do wonders for your liver and digestive system. They’re also very high in antioxidants.

One of the absolute BEST ways to consume lemons is in some warm lemon water in the morning. It’s incredibly detoxifying to the system first thing in the morning before you’ve dumped coffee or food down your throat.

Just make sure to let the water cool down just a bit before adding the lemon juice because hot or boiling water can kill the natural enzymes. Try 1/2 lemon juice in a warm cup of water — with a straw to keep the juice from wearing down on your tooth enamel.

Calories per cup – 61 k/cal

9. Sugar Snap Peas

These little guys are high in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin B, and many other minerals the body needs.

If making a healthy stir-fry or are looking to try a new healthy snack, give them a try! Cook them in the oven or on the stove, and add a little salt to flavor!

My favorite way to consume sugar snap peas is on my salads!

Calories per cup – 41 k/cal

10. Tomatoes

Tomatoes - #10 on the list of zero calorie foods

Tomatoes contain large amounts of vitamin C and other antioxidants, but they are best known for their high concentration of lycopene. Lycopene has been repeatedly shown to fight cancer and ward off heart disease.

If you don’t love tomatoes, try shopping them up very finely and adding them to pico. You can also cook them, but it does kill off some of the natural nutrients in the raw fruit.

Calories per cup – 32 k/cal

11. Kale

Kale — we all love to hate it. There’s simply no better way to say it: Eat. More. Kale.

It’s considered one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet and contains high amounts of vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, antioxidants, and has been shown to lower cholesterol.

The best ways to consume more kale are through green smoothies, adding them to salads, or by making kale chips!

Calories per cup – 33 k/cal

12. Grapefruit

Grapefruits are often associated with dieting and have long been promoted as an incredibly healthy breakfast item. They are loaded with vitamins and are low in calories, but they really shine from their large amount of anti-aging antioxidants.

Just make sure to avoid the traditional half of a grapefruit with a pile of table sugar on top like my dad and everyone else that I knew ever that ate grapefruit had for breakfast.

They’re pretty sour and bitter, so instead of adding sugar to cut the taste, try adding into a smoothie instead!

Calories per cup – 97 k/cal 

13. Onions

Onions - #13 on the list of zero calorie foods

Onions are a delicious and flavorful addition to any meal. They have been shown to have cardiovascular benefits, support bone tissue, lower inflammation, and lower your risk of certain cancers.

They can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in a variety of different ways to help with weight loss goals.

I personally love to eat red onions raw on my salads and white or yellow onions cooked in my omelets or soup.

Calories per cup – 46 k/cal

14. Carrots

Carrots are known to protect eyesight, but they also have plenty of antioxidants and are a natural diuretic.

This helps with digestion and keeping the body’s natural inflammation in check.

Carrots can be added to salads, served cooked with your main dish, or can be used as a stand-alone snack making them an incredibly versatile low-calorie food!

Calories per cup – 53 k/cal

15. Zucchini

This is a great side dish, but it can also make a killer gluten-free substitute for pasta.

They provide a bountiful source of magnesium, fiber, and folate in your diet. They also contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are powerful phytonutrients that fight off many forms of cancer. 

Calories per cup – 21 k/cal

16. Cauliflower

Cauliflower - #16 on the list of zero calorie foods

Another great side dish with a similar shape and consistency to broccoli is cauliflower. It provides many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits from its rich stores of Vitamins K and C.

The best way to cook this veggie is to eat it raw or lightly steam it as a side dish before serving.  It’s a great low-calorie mix-up from the typical green veggies and will provide you with a different variety of nutrients and benefits.  

And if you’re looking for a full diet plan that incorporates these types of foods, make sure to check out our 21-Day Fat Loss Challenge!

Leave a comment below if you enjoyed this article on zero calorie foods for weight loss or have any questions!

Cathy Dean

Hey y’all. My name is Cathy, a former junk-food loving carb-aholic turned nutrition and fitness enthusiast. Here at Avocadu, we believe that a nutrient-rich diet is EVERYTHING when it comes to your health and well-being. Our motto is “Healthy from the Inside Out”! As a Certified Keto Coach, I specialize in teaching others how to lose weight through healthy, low-carb eating.

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2 replies on “16 Zero Calorie Foods For Weight Loss”

Hey, y’all! I’m Cathy!

I’m SO excited you’re here! I’m super passionate about nutrition, and specialize in teaching others how to lose weight through healthy, low-carb eating. Here at Avocadu, we believe in quality over quantity and that diet is EVERYTHING when it comes to your health and well-being. In short, we believe in being healthy from the inside out. Learn more

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