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29 Almost Zero Calorie Snacks To Binge On Without Guilt

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Due to corporate America, snacking has taken an important place in the public consciousness. Snacking has become part of the pop culture mainstream due to various brands and advertisements. In this chaos, options of healthy and low calorie foods are relegated to the back shelf. So this list will give you ideas for Zero Calorie Snacks which are healthy, tasty (mostly) and cheap.  

Zero Calorie Snacks: An umbrella term for healthy, low-calorie foods, These snacks cannot be technically zero calories but they are nutritious and filling. They are usually high in water content, minerals and many micronutrients. They are minimally processed and naturally flavoured. They have zero added sugar.

The most persistent myth about zero calorie foods is that they are negative in Calories. That is, such foods take more energy for digestion than what we get by consuming them. Most cited examples are celery, apples, strawberries and lemons. This myth should be a bygone relic of the past. Nothing except water is truly a zero-calorie item that we can consume.  But to make emphasis on their low calorific content, the label zero-calorie is attached i.e it becomes more marketable. These are good weight loss foods as they have low calories, almost zero sugar and zero fats. 

The Benefits of Zero Calorie Snacks.

     Low calorie foods help us in many ways. They improve our leptin level, deceiving us that we are full. They are the greatest antidote to mindless snacking; foods such as trail mixes, cookies, chips, cheese puffs and even popcorns are dense in unnecessary Calories in the form of carbs, unhealthy fats and sodium. The regular versions are essential and devoid of anything nutritious. Therefore, Zero calorie snacks are good on the tummy. They are easy to break down and keep our hands busy. While, being totally dependent on zero calorie foods is not ideal, they should be part of everyone’s daily diet.

   In the modern-day, we unknowingly binge on calorie-dense and unhealthy snacks, these can be consciously swapped with such low-calorie snacks. These foods are healthy for weight loss if paired with other foods which are high in protein and necessary carbohydrates.

Note: It is important to have a variety of foods, low in Calories or not. Don’t worry too much about Calories but make sure to eat minimally processed and nutrient rich foods. A healthy diet will often contain fatty foods in moderation such as avocado, butter, ghee, dark chocolate, nuts, whole eggs and surprisingly enough cheese. So be mindful of the things that you snack and enjoy!

The Best Zero Calorie Snacks List

All of the snacks are fruits and veggies because they are inherently healthy and low in Calories. All of these foods have less than 60 Calories per 100 grams of serving. Many fruits and most of the vegetables are also low sugar foods and low fat foods. They have evolved with very less fat and sugar. They are arranged in alphabetical order. 


Apples

Calories: 56 Calories per 100 grams.  USDA  

The forbidden fruit of the old lores is unsurprisingly healthy and supremely popular. Apples are rich in fiber, potassium, vitamin C and even antioxidants. So eating this fruit is not a sin. Pair sliced apples with peanut butter or honey to have a gratifying afternoon snack. To keep the Calories low, sprinkle some salt and pepper.

Arugula

Calories: 25 Calories per 100 grams. USDA 

This punchy green veggie packs a punch in terms of nutrients too. Arugula is filled with folates, potassium, calcium and Vitamin K. These dark leaves are rich in everything except Calories. Try arugula or rocket as the British call it in a variety of salads, soups and even pastas. It goes well with fresh roma tomatoes, aged cheeses and citrus fruits. 

zero calorie snack

Asparagus

Calories: 20 Calories per 100 grams. USDA

This rather fancy food is low in Calories and is highly versatile. It is packed with antioxidants, minerals, vitamins (A, B12, C, K) and many micronutrients. It is also a zero fat food. Asparagus is from the family of lilies, onions and garlic, all of which are famous for their distinctive odors. Try asparagus; boiled, steamed or air fried. It tastes well with browned butter, sage and chives.  

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Beets

Calories: 44 Calories per 100 grams. USDA

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These bright and poppy root veggies are a source of goodness. Beetroots have most of the B complexes, a family of vitamins. They also have manganese, vitamin c, iron, and some good phytonutrients. Beets can be consumed raw, boiled or oven baked. Beets are also used in cold sandwiches, soups and pickles too! 

Broccoli

Calories: 32 Calories per 100 grams. USDA 

This funky smelling vegetable is a powerhouse of nutrients. Be it purple, violet or green. Broccoli supports heart health and hightended consumption is linked with immunity against certain cancers. It is very rich in vitamins C and vitamin  K.  Broccoli can be consumed by steaming and stir-frying to retain maximum nutrients. Pairing Asian flavors such as soy sauce, chile, garlic, sesame and ginger can elevate the sensory experience of otherwise bland broccoli. 

Brussels sprouts

Calories: 45 Calories per 100 grams. UDSA

Related to cauliflowers, broccoli, kale and collards, these cruciferous vegetables have a certain pungency common to their other relatives. They are rich in Vitamin C, Folate and Vitamin B6. They can be stir fried, steamed and roasted on open fire to reduce their pungent smell. The sprouts are mostly consumed in the Euro American cuisines. It is generally seasoned with pepper, balsamic vinegar and parmesan cheese. 

Cabbage

Calories: 24 Calories per 100 grams. USDA

Cabbage is a staple in east asian cuisines, it is well loved and consumed around the world in different forms. This vegetable is again rich in vitamin C and vitamin K like its broccoli and brussel sprout relatives. 

A common chinese combination is cabbage julienne added in stews and served with pan seared tofu. Cabbage is richer in nutrients in its fermented form around the world. Sauerkraut in central and eastern europe and kimchi in korea. 

low calorie food

Carrots

Calories: 41 Calories per 100 grams. USDA

This root vegetable of persian origins is healthy and popular across the globe. They are wild in their color palette, carrots can be purple, orange, red, yellow and white too. Their texture is crunchy while the flavor is grassy and slightly sweet. The versatility is evident as carrots can be added to rice dishes, chutneys, cakes, puddings and soups. They have high content of water, beta carotene and other carotenoids such as alpha, gamma and lutein.  They aid in improving vision and maintaining immune functioning. 

Fun fact: the seeds and greens of carrot are edible and amply nutritious. 

Cauliflower

Calories: 26 Calories per 100 grams. USDA

Another member of the Brassica genus, this low carb plant is grown in purple, green, white, orange and yellow colors. The head and leaves are edible while commonly consumed are the florets or flesh. Due to its low carb nature it has gained love in the gluten free movement. Rice and pizza bases made from cauliflower flour is a common feature in the global north. People also swap cauliflower for mashed potatoes.  

Celery

Calories: 14 Calories per 100 grams. USDA

The flagbearer of the low-calorie foods, celery is 95% water with moderate amounts of vitamins and phytonutrients. It is usually added to soups. Celery is often paired with onions and bell peppers to form the cajun cuisine trifecta. Try it with hummus or yogurt and sprinkle some cajun spice blend.

zero sugar food

Chard

Calories: 19 Calories per 100 grams. USDA

This green leafy vegetable also known as beet spinach is very rich in vitamin K  and it has moderate amounts of vitamin A and C, iron and manganese. Chards have to be boiled and sauteed to reduce bitterness. Couple it with garlic and eggs to make healthy omelets. 

no calorie snack

Clementines

Calories: 47 Calories per 100 grams. USDA

These tiffin sized fruits are of the citrus family. Their nutrient profile is akin to their siblings such as mandarins, tangerines and satsumas. They have a high vitamin C content. Their texture is fibrous and the flavor is mild yet sweet. 

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Cucumbers

Calories: 15 Calories per 100 grams. USDA

The simile for coolness, cucumbers are truly fresh and refreshing. Cucumbers are fundamentally a zero fat food and a zero sugar food too!  They don’t have any significant amount of micronutrients but they can be part of drinks, salsas, salads and sandwiches. Top sliced cucumbers with tajin or make a salad with radishes, sprouts, watermelon and feta for the coolest snack around. 

Fennel

Calories: 31 Calories per 100 grams. USDA

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An aromat of the carrot family. Fennel is fragrant and nutritious. It has a high amount of vitamin C and potassium. It has a licorice and anise like flavor. The bulb, the fruits, the leaves and the flowers are all edible. It can be cooked in a variety of ways and used in salads and spice mix of Chinese and Bengali cuisines. The fruits are also used as a mouth freshner in the Indian subcontinent. 

zero calorie snack

Grapefruit

Calories: 30 Calories per 100 grams. USDA

These tart and semisweet citrus family members are best enjoyed on their own. Their phytonutrients have antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Grapefruits and other citrus are good for the body and therefore should be part of our regular diet. Therefore it is a great low calorie snack. 

Kale

Calories: 38 Calories per 100 grams. USDA

This superfood has become mainstream in the public consciousness. It is associated with kale chips, soups and smoothies for all the right reasons. Its nutritional profile is very impressive: vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, copper, iron, manganese, folate, and vitamin B6. So try out the famed zero sugar kale chips made with olive oil and flakey salt. 

low calorie snack

Mushrooms, White

Calories: 28 Calories per 100 grams. USDA

This fungus is often clubbed with vegetables for ease. Mushrooms have a savory, almost meaty flavor. They are rich in vitamin B and selenium. The most common type mushrooms are whites, crimini and portobello all of which are the same. They only differ in maturity. Mycophagy or mushroom consumption is on the rise because of its nutritional values and textural variety. Whites can be stir fried in a variety of ways; try adding garlic and butter, fresh herbs, or different culinary sauces. They can elevate a dish for vegans and vegetarians with their meaty quality. 

 

Onions

Calories: 47 Calories per 100 grams. USDA

These are a fundamental part of almost every cuisine. Onions are highly nutritious and flavorful. They are in white, yellow and red varieties. Onions are related to chives, garlic and leeks. These alliums are said to be good for kidney health. These pungent flavors are a common feature in asian and Mexican cuisines. French onion soup, creamed onions and onion chutney are dishes where onion is the central dish. They make a great base for curries and rice dishes too. 

Peppers

Calories:  26 Calories per 100 grams.  USDA

A number of veggies (technically berries) come under the peppers label. Be it the spicy jalapenos or the mild bell peppers. They come in a spectrum of colors, sizes and shapes. Bell peppers or capsciums are high in vitamin C and lycopene. While chile peppers have moderately high amounts of B6. They go very well with east Asian cuisines. 

Papaya

Calories: 43 Calories per 100 grams.  USDA

This tropical fruit of amber flesh and ebony seeds is a common feature in asian cuisines. Especially Thai, Filipino and some parts of the Indian subcontinent. Its nutrient contents include vitamin C, vitamin A and folate. Ripe papayas can be eaten directly after removing the skin and seeds. Raw papayas can be added to soups and broths too. 

zero calorie snack

Radishes

Calories: 16 Calories per 100 grams. USDA

Red, black, green, white, pink, purple and yellow. These are a few varieties of radishes found around the world. They are crisp, sharp in flavor and turn mellow when sauteed. They can be air fried to make chips or added to a bowl of ramen for their kick. When radish is boiled its taste turns potato-like. They also have high content of vitamin C, folate and potassium.  

Lettuce

Calories: 17 Calories per 100 grams. USDA

This zero calorie hero is usually synonymous with salads and diets because it is essentially a zero sugar food. An average serving of romaine lettuce or other lettuce such as iceberg or butterhead gives only 8 calories. But on the other side, it is low in nutrients too. It has moderate to low levels of folate, vitamin A, and high levels of vitamin K. They are also high in fiber and water content. Their consumption is often filling when paired with slightly fatty and carb-rich foods such as avocados and multigrain bread. 

Strawberries

Calories: 32 Calories per 100 grams.  USDA

A staple for desserts, drinks, perfumes and snacks. This fruit is rich in vitamin C and manganese. Strawberry can be paired with balsamic vinegar, cheese, cream, chocolate and an array of herbs and spices. These can be added to champagne, yogurt, ice cream and even to carbonated drinks. Try this antioxidant rich versatile fruit for sure.  Bonus! It is essentially a fat free food. 

Spinach

Calories: 23 Calories per 100 grams.  USDA

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Probably the OG superfood, snacked on by Popeye since 1929.  Spinach is a leafy vegetable that is packed with provitamin A, vitamin K, folate and major carotenoids, this combination is good for the eyes. The best combination for spinach is undoubtedly garlic and butter. Spinach can be blended into soups, and smoothies too. So make this low calorie food a part of your diet. One more! Unsurprisingly enough spinach is a zero sugar food too. 

Peas: Sugar, Snap, Snow.

Calories: 42 Calories per 100 grams. USDA

These pod vegetables are zero fat foods and high in protein when made into split dried peas. Peas can be eaten boiled, stir fried or raw if they are tender. They are super filling and eaten around the world in the form of soups, pies or stews. They are well loved in China, the UK, India and Sweden. 

low calorie food

Tomatoes

Calories: 18 Calories per 100 grams. USDA

The second most consumed vegetable (technically a berry) after potato. These zero calorie fruits are savory and have an umami taste. They can be eaten raw, cooked or in a pureed form. They are extremely versatile but predominantly used in only savory dishes. It gives the dishes a fresh, tangy and acidic flavor, it is usually paired with fatty ingredients to cut the meaty or cheesy flavor.  

Watercress

Calories: 11 Calories per 100 grams. USDA

These tiny leafy veggies are related to other piquant foods such as radish, mustard and wasabi. It is commonly used in salads and cold sandwiches. 100gms of watercress provides 238% of vitamin K, 52% of vitamin C and 20% vitamin A of daily value necessary. Stir fried watercress with ginger and beets can be topped on a buttered bruschetta. 

food for weight loss

Watermelon

Calories: 30 Calories per 100 grams. USDA

The OG summer food. This red-green beauty is packed with vitamin C and the seeds taste great when toasted. Watermelon coolers and fruit salads are the most common form of eating them. It tastes good with fresh mint and feta cheese. Another form is pickled watermelons, this tangy, spicy and sweet dish goes well with meaty and savory flavors in general. Ex: burgers and steak.

Zucchini

Calories: 17 Calories per 100 grams. USDA

This summer squash is a great option for chips, curries and sautees. It has a mild taste therefore it can absorb a variety of different flavors. It is popularly consumed as zoodles or zucchini noodles, as no carb pasta alternatives. It is great when sauteed with butter and garlic. It can be tossed with parmesan or chile oil for an added kick. Or you can eat sliced tender zucchini topped with a dash of lemon, salt and pepper. This will make a proper zero fat/zero sugar snack.

Zero Calorie Snacks for Weightloss

Losing weight is a challenge for everyone, but it doesn’t have to be one. If we make sensible and informed decisions, losing weight is just the outcome you get. The low calorie foods that we suggested are good for loosing weight too. When snacking on something we tend to choose option that are salty, sugary or flat out fatty. 

  • So the first choice is to get them out of your house. 
  • Prep snacks which are made with low calorie foods.
  • But pair them with some healthy fats or carbs 
  • Like: peanut butter, avocado, multigrain breads, dark chocolate, nuts and eggs. They increase the level of ghrelin in the blood stream. Thus they make you feel full for longer unlike the regular zero calorie snacks.    

As we know weight loss is a journey that you take, every small decision matters so swap out foods and snacks that you know are unhealthy (read ultra refined/processed foods) and eat more low calorie foods. These are mostly fruits and vegetables but the contain many essential nutrients, they are good in increasing the severing size for regular dishes but minus the guilt. 

Whats important to note is that losing weight cannot be achieved just my low fat foods or just low calorie foods. You need foods that are rich in good fatty acids and even some high quality carb. 

This list will guide you out of that dilemma.  

Zero calories, low calories, zero sugar, low sugar, zero fat, low fat. All of these words distract us from what is important. What we eat influences our lifestyle decisions, our financial habits and even our state of mind.  Therefore we should not fall for buzzwords in the food and dieting community. Making food habits which can be managed well is the key. Diet fads and unwarranted dietary restriction cannot  help you achieve long term health gains. To be well-functioning individuals we need balanced amounts of vitamins, minerals, fiber, fats and carbs. 

   So eat in moderation and remember, least processed foods are the best for the planet. So try products that are made in small batches, on organic farms and those which support local species over invasive ones. So march on.  

Take your information from only trusted sources such as this one, Be Zen is here to cut through the crap and give your solid, honest and exhaustive recommendations on what zero calorie, healthy and sustainable foods to eat. Read our blog for more such in depth reviews, tips and recommendations on healthy living and sensible food choices. 

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