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Last Updated on December 17, 2020

10 Best Low Calorie Foods That Help You Lose Weight Fast

10 Best Low Calorie Foods That Help You Lose Weight Fast

One of the most challenging aspects of weight loss is cutting back on the amount of calories you eat. Many low-calorie foods can leave you feeling hungry and unfulfilled between meals, making it much more tempting to overeat and indulge.

Fortunately, plenty of healthy foods exist that are both filling and low in calories.

Here are 10 low-calorie foods that are surprisingly filling and will help you on your path to weight loss.

1. Greek Yoghurt

Greek yoghurt is a great source of protein that can help curb cravings and promote weight loss.

Though the exact numbers vary between brands and flavors, a 2/3-cup (150-gram) serving of Greek yoghurt typically provides about 130 calories and 11 grams of protein.[1]

One study in 20 women examined how a high-protein yoghurt snack affected appetite compared to unhealthy high-fat snacks like chocolate or crackers.[2] Not only did the women who ate yoghurt experience less hunger, but they also consumed 100 fewer calories at dinner than those who ate crackers or chocolate.

Meanwhile, in another study in 15 women, high-protein Greek yoghurt helped reduce hunger and increase feelings of fullness compared to lower-protein snacks.[3]

2. Berries

Berries—including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries—are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can optimize your health. Their high fiber content also boosts weight loss and reduces hunger. For example, 1 cup (148 grams) of blueberries supplies just 84 calories but packs 3.6 grams of fiber.[4]

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Berries are also a great source of pectin, a type of dietary fiber that has been shown to slow stomach emptying and increase feelings of fullness in human and animal studies.[5] This could also help cut calorie consumption to aid weight loss.

One study noted that a 65-calorie afternoon snack of berries decreased calorie intake later in the day compared to a 65-calorie confectionery snack.[6]

3. Eggs

Eggs are extremely nutrient-dense and rich in many vital nutrients, making them one of the best low-calorie foods. A single large egg has approximately 72 calories, 6 grams of protein, and a wide array of important vitamins and minerals.[7]

Studies suggest that starting your day with a serving of eggs can reduce hunger and boost fullness. In a study in 30 women, those who ate eggs for breakfast instead of a bagel experienced greater feelings of fullness and consumed 105 fewer calories later in the day.[8]

4. Chia Seeds

Often hailed as a serious superfood, chia seeds pack a high amount of protein and fiber into a low number of calories. A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of chia seeds provides 137 calories, 4.4 grams of protein, and a whopping 10.6 grams of fiber.[9]

Chia seeds are especially high in soluble fiber, a type of fiber that absorbs liquid and swells in your stomach to promote feelings of fullness. In fact, some research observed that chia seeds can absorb 10 to 12 times their weight in water, moving slowly through your digestive tract to keep you feeling full.[10]

Adding a serving or two of chia seeds to your daily diet can curb cravings and reduce appetite.

5. Fish

Fish is rich in protein and heart-healthy fats. For instance, a 3-ounce (85-gram) serving of cod provides over 15 grams of protein and under 70 calories.

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Research points out that increasing protein intake can decrease appetite and reduce levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates hunger.[11] What’s more, fish protein may be especially beneficial for reducing hunger levels and appetite.

One study evaluating the effects of beef, chicken, and fish protein showed that fish protein had the greatest impact on feelings of fullness.[12]

To cut calorie consumption even further, opt for lean fish like cod, flounder, halibut ,or sole over higher-calorie options like salmon, sardines, or mackerel.

6. Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a great source of protein and an excellent snack for those looking to lose weight. One cup (226 grams) of low-fat cottage cheese packs about 28 grams of protein and just 163 calories.[13]

Multiple studies demonstrate that upping your protein intake from low-calorie foods like cottage cheese can decrease appetite and hunger levels.[14]

What’s more, it has been found that cottage cheese and eggs had similar effects on fullness in 30 healthy adults.[15]

7. Lean Meat

Lean meat can efficiently reduce hunger and appetite between meals.

Lean meats like chicken, turkey, and low-fat cuts of red meat are low in calories but loaded with protein. For example, 4 ounces (112 grams) of cooked chicken breast contains about 185 calories and 35 grams of protein.

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Research suggests that insufficient protein intake could increase hunger and appetite, while eating more protein can reduce calorie intake and hunger levels.[16] People who ate a high-protein meal including meat consumed 12% less food by weight at dinner than those who ate a high-carb, meatless meal.

8. Legumes

Because of their high protein and fiber content, legumes such as beans, peas, and lentils are great low-calorie foods and can be incredibly filling. One cup (198 grams) of cooked lentils provides about 230 calories, as well as 15.6 grams of fiber and nearly 18 grams of protein.[17]

Legumes have a powerful effect on hunger and appetite. One study in 43 young men noted that a high-protein meal with beans and peas increased feelings of fullness and reduced appetite and hunger more than a high-protein meal with veal and pork.[18]

Another review of nine studies reported that people felt 31% more full after eating pulses, a type of legume, compared to high-carb meals of pasta and bread.[19]

9. Watermelon

Watermelon has a high water content to keep you hydrated and full while supplying a minimal number of calories. One cup (152 grams) of diced watermelon contains 46 calories alongside an assortment of essential micronutrients like vitamins A and C.[20]

Eating foods with a low-calorie density, such as watermelon, has been shown to have similar effects on feelings of fullness and hunger compared to high-calorie-density foods.[21]

Plus, foods with a lower calorie density have been linked to lower body weight and decreased calorie intake.

10. Broccoli

When it comes to dieting, broccoli is an all-star food with many health benefits. While low in calories, broccoli is rich in essential vitamins and minerals, in addition to fiber.

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Raw broccoli contains almost 90% water, 7% carbs, 3% protein, and almost no fat, providing only 31 calories per cup (91 grams).[22] It’s easy to see why broccoli is always the star of each diet.

Broccoli isn’t just low in calories, but it’s also packed with micronutrients. A cup of cooked broccoli offers as much vitamin C as an orange and is a good source of beta-carotene. Broccoli contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc, too. It also provides fiber.

The Bottom Line

Cutting back on calories doesn’t mean you have to constantly feel hungry or unsatisfied between meals.

Eating a wide variety of filling foods with plenty of protein and fiber can fight cravings and decrease hunger to make weight loss easier than ever.

Paired with an active lifestyle and well-rounded diet, these low-calorie foods can keep you feeling satisfied throughout the day.

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Featured photo credit: Joanna Kosinska via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Self-Nutrition Data: Greek Style Yoghurt
[2] Nutr. J.: Effects of high-protein vs. high- fat snacks on appetite control, satiety, and eating initiation in healthy women.
[3] Appetite: Low, moderate, or high protein yogurt snacks on appetite control and subsequent eating in healthy women
[4] Self Nutritional Data: Raw Blueberries
[5] Journal of the American College of NutritionEffect of pectin on satiety in healthy US Army adults.
[6] Appetite: An afternoon snack of berries reduces subsequent energy intake compared to an isoenergetic confectionary snack.
[7] Self Nutritional Data: Egg, Whole, Raw, Fresh
[8] Journal of the American College of Nutrition: Short-term effect of eggs on satiety in overweight and obese subjects.
[9] Self Nutritional Data: Seeds, Chia Seeds, Dried
[10] Journal of Food Science and Technology: Nutritional and therapeutic perspectives of Chia (Salvia hispanica L.): a review
[11] Self Nutritional Data: Fish, Cod, Pacific, Raw
[12] The Journal of nutrition: A comparison of the effects of beef, chicken and fish protein on satiety and amino acid profiles in lean male subjects.
[13] Self Nutritional Data: Cottage Cheese
[14] The American Journal of Clinical NutritionEffect of a high-protein breakfast on the postprandial ghrelin response.
[15] Appetite: The satiating effects of eggs or cottage cheese are similar in healthy subjects despite differences in postprandial kinetics.
[16] International Journal of ObesityEffects of a high-protein meal (meat) and a high-carbohydrate meal (vegetarian) on satiety measured by automated computerized monitoring of subsequent food intake, motivation to eat and food preferences.
[17] Self Nutritional Data: Lentils
[18] Food & Nutrition Research: Meals based on vegetable protein sources (beans and peas) are more satiating than meals based on animal protein sources (veal and pork) – a randomized cross-over meal test study
[19] Obesity (Silver Spring).Dietary pulses, satiety and food intake: a systematic review and meta-analysis of acute feeding trials.
[20] Self Nutritional Data: Watermelon
[21] Nutrients: Link between Food Energy Density and Body Weight Changes in Obese Adults
[22] Healthline: Broccoli 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

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Davide Alfonsi

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Published on July 14, 2021

13 Best Foods to Eat at Night (Advice From a Health Coach)

13 Best Foods to Eat at Night (Advice From a Health Coach)

We’ve all had late-night cravings. Those times when you would lie in bed but your mind is on the fridge. You try to fight it, but you find out that you can’t. Food—you want food—to chew and to drink and to swallow. It usually goes this way: after much hesitation, you would get off your bed and walk over to the kitchen where you would stand for seconds and maybe even minutes contemplating a lot of things.

You have heard about it—read about it, too—the famous “eating late at night isn’t good for you.” You know well about how eating late at night can cause you stress and make you gain weight. But you just want to eat—and eat you must.

But what must you eat? What are your best and most healthy options? Here are the 13 best foods to eat at night.

1. Turkey

If you aren’t a vegetarian, then you most probably love turkey. It is not only very tasty and delicious, but it is quite nutritious, too. Turkey contains a lot of protein. As little as 28 grams of turkey already contains eight grams of protein.[1]

It also contains some amount of vitamins and a nutritive compound called selenium. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that plays an important role in ensuring the thyroid gland functions properly.

Turkey passes as one of the best foods to eat at night because the protein tryptophan, which it contains in a considerable amount, is believed to promote tiredness and thus, sleepiness.[2]

2. Fish

Another great choice for non-vegetarians is fish, especially fatty fishes like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. These are considered healthy choices because they contain a considerable amount of Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body regulate its calcium levels and is good for your kidneys, parathyroid glands, skin, etc.

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Fatty fishes also contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of healthy fatty acids that can serve as anti-inflammatory agents and are good for the brain. Omega-3 fatty acids are shown to be able to increase the amount of serotonin produced by the nervous system, and thus, make sleep feel better.[3] This means that fishes would not keep you awake! You don’t have to roll from side to side trying to fall asleep after eating them.

Fishes also contain nutritive oils that are good for your body and skin.

3. White Rice

White rice is just rice that has no bran germ—that is, both bran and germ have to be removed as a result of processing from brown rice to make it white rice. This removal of bran and germ causes white rice to contain lower fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants when compared with brown rice. However, white rice still contains a commendable amount of nutrients such as thiamine, folate, and manganese and so is great as a late-night meal.

White rice has a high Glycemic Index. (GI). A food’s glycemic index is simply the measure of the rate at which that food increases the body’s sugar level. Taking in foods with a GI index, such as rice, can improve the quality of one’s sleep. This is as long as one takes these foods one hour before sleep. If you plan to sleep by 7 p.m, then it is a good idea to eat white rice by 6.p.m.[4]

4. Bananas

Finally, Something for vegetarians. A fruit! Bananas not only taste good, but they are also rich in the compounds potassium and tryptophan, making them one of the best foods to eat at night.

Tryptophan, as earlier stated, is an essential protein that plays a role in relaxation. Some bananas before meals can improve the quality of your sleep. Plus, they contain vitamins and are rich in antioxidants. They also contain compounds that are capable of making bowel movements easier.

5. Cheese and Crackers

Cheese and crackers, crackers being a source of carbohydrates and cheese a source of tryptophan, can help balance the body’s sugar level. When you take cheese and crackers together, more tryptophan is made available to your brain.[5] The sugar in cheese feeds your brain, and tryptophan helps with the production of melatonin.

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This means that there would be more serotonin and melatonin production in your nervous system when you take cheese and crackers together. Serotonin improves the quality of a person’s sleep.

6. Warm Cereals

Cereals are great sources of fiber. Ones like oats also contain an impressive amount of melatonin, which improves sleep.

Before bed, a hot bowl of cereal and maybe even whole grains are a good choice. They do not contain a lot of calories and would most likely not keep you awake.

7. Yoghurt

Yogurt tastes good, and kids and adults love them. They are also a rich source of calcium. Calcium is an essential mineral to the body. It is necessary for the growth of bone and teeth, and skeletal, smooth, and cardiac muscles need it for muscular contractions to happen.

Your body also needs calcium to produce melatonin from tryptophan. If calcium levels are low, there will be a reduced rate of production of melatonin—and thus, low quality sleep. Yogurt also contains casein. Casein is believed to reduce early morning hunger.

Unsweetened yogurt is a great snack and one of the best foods to eat at night.

8. Eggs

Eggs are great sources of protein and don’t contain many calories. As a late-night snack, eggs are a great pick. They are easy to cook and can go along with many different kinds of snacks.

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Eggs also contain tryptophan, which—as you must now already know—can improve the quality of one’s sleep.

9. Protein-Pineapple Smoothie

As you may have noticed, most of the snacks and foods on this list of best foods to eat at night are protein-rich foods. Protein-rich meals taken around bedtime can boost muscle repair. They can also combat age-related muscle mass loss especially in people who frequently exercise.

As a late-night snack, you can blend some pineapple pieces into milk. Milk is a great source of the protein tryptophan from which the body produces melatonin. Pineapples do not contain a lot of calories and might not prove a threat to your body’s normal digestive functions. Pineapples can also boost your body’s serotonin levels.[6]

10. Tart Cherries

Juices made from tart cherries are great alongside other snacks, such as crackers and cheese. Tart cherries have anti-inflammatory effects. Even though in small quantities, tart cherries contain the sleep hormone melatonin. They also contain procyanidin B-2, which is believed to keep stable the essential amino acid tryptophan.[7]

Tart Cherries have low calories, too. This means that they are not too heavy and do not pose the threat of fat deposition, and they would not keep you awake.

11. Honey

Honey harvested from bees is nutritious and does not contain a lot of calories. It is known to be capable of increasing the production of melatonin in one’s body.[8]

It also contains healthy sugars, such as fructose and glucose, and can have a healthy effect on your body’s sugar level. Honey is one of the best food to eat late at night.

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12. Popcorn

When it isn’t swathed in sugar and milk and other fatty stuff, popcorn presents as a great late-night snack. Popcorn is a low-calorie snack and contains a rich amount of fiber.[9] High-fiber grains are believed to lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

Also, popcorn contains polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants believed to improve circulation and in general, health.

13. Baked Sweet Potato Fries

French fries are amazing. They taste so good. Do you like french fries? Then baked sweet potato fries are a great pick you might want to consider.

As a late-night snack, you can very well bake sweet potatoes instead of frying them. They are easier to prepare when baked and do not contain so much fat. Sweet potatoes contain a good quantity of fiber and vitamins.[10]They also contain some great amounts of protein.

Final Thoughts

When next you have the craving for a late-night meal, you should know that not all meals are great when eaten at night. Some are about right, and others could contribute to excessive weight gain, heart diseases, digestive disorders, and other health issues.

Have you ever woken up with swollen eye bags, felt nauseous, or had malaise after a late-night meal? Then it’s possible the meal was not a great pick.

When choosing the best meals and snacks to eat at night, you should choose meals that contain low calories—not more than 200 calories—and have high protein content. Proteins like tryptophan enhance the quality of sleep. Some of these foods include eggs, turkey, cheese, bananas, yogurt, juices, etc.

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Remember, eating healthy is a great way to remain healthy.

More Healthy Snacks Options

Featured photo credit: K15 Photos via unsplash.com

Reference

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