The most challenging aspect of diet for most people is cutting back on calories without eating less of what their body requires. And even more, because calorie counting can be pretty hectic to do every single day. Here are some Low-Calorie Foods that Fill You Up!

Fortunately, low-calorie foods can fill you up and reduce your daily calorie intake, helping you lose weight, among other benefits.

Below is a list of highly satisfying and filling low-calorie foods to include in your diet, but first, let’s understand a few things.

What Is A Calorie?

A calorie is a unit measurement of energy released when your body breaks down food through digestion.

The more calories a food has, the more energy it will release.

The body uses the energy released for different body processes including, providing energy for cell function.

However, if the food contains more calories than the body needs, the extra calories will be stored in the body as fat. Over time this may lead to weight gain, insulin resistance, obesity, pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other metabolic conditions.

What Is The Recommended Daily Caloric Intake?

According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, an adult’s general daily calorie intake can range between 1600- 3200 calories per day.

But this may vary depending on different factors like metabolism, age, and gender.

For instance, a male adult needs between 2200-3200 calories per day while a woman needs between1600-2400 calories per day.

A person with a high metabolism may also burn more calories and lose weight more quickly than someone with a slow metabolism.

Likewise, if you eat more calories and exercise more, you’re less likely to store it as fat because the body will use the calories to fuel your physical activity.

That’s why counting calories is not practical. On the other hand, eating healthy and being physically active will automatically balance out your calories.

But if you have a slow metabolism and struggle with weight gain, then a low-calorie diet may be an option to consider. More than that, let whatever you eat be nutrient-dense to ensure you are getting other nutrients the body needs.

What’s A Low-Calorie Food Diet?

This is a diet aiming to restrict your calorie intake to not more than 1000 – 1200 for women and 1200 – 1600 for men. This creates a calorie deficit that may lead to weight loss.

Benefits Of Low-Calorie Foods

Most foods that are low in calories are generally high in fiber and other essential vitamins and minerals.

Besides helping you maintain a healthy weight, these foods can:

  • Reduce inflammation
  • Increase energy and productivity
  • Regulate blood sugar
  • Increase insulin sensitivity
  • Lower the risk of chronic conditions

Incredibly Low-Calorie Foods That Fill You Up

1.   Chia seed

chia seeds on white background

If you need a highly fulfilling low-calorie breakfast that will keep you satisfied for a long time, chia seeds are a great option.

They contain a good amount of soluble fiber and protein to increase satiety, slow digestion and prevent cravings.

The soluble fiber absorbs water in the stomach and swells, giving you a feeling of fullness. It also slows digestion, keeping you full longer.

A study to examine the effects of chia seeds on satiety found that adding 7-14 grams of chia seed in yogurt can lower the desire for sugary foods, decreased hunger, and lower energy intake in the next meal.

One serving (an ounce) of chia seeds provides 137 calories, 10 grams of fiber, and 4.4 grams of protein.

You can add chia seeds to your oatmeal, prepare a chia seed pudding, or sprinkle them on yogurt or smoothies.

2.   Oats

oats on a white background

Oats are quite low in calories, with half a cup (40g) containing 148 calories.

They are also a good source of protein and fiber, especially beta-glucan, which has been shown to improve cholesterol, boost immunity, and fight cancer cells.

Both the protein and fiber content in oats has been shown to promote satiety and fullness.

In one study, oatmeal increased satiety, decreased appetite, and reduced energy intake in the next meal.

The easiest way to eat oats is to make oatmeal. You can add fruits, nuts, seeds, and/or cinnamon to enhance the taste.

3.   Quinoa

quinoa in a white bowl

Quinoa is low in calories and a complete protein with all the essential amino acids needed by the body.

It’s also a great source of minerals such as iron, zinc, magnesium, and antioxidants, including quercetin and kaempferol, which have been shown to protect against cervical, breast, colon, prostate, and bone cancers.

A cup (185g) of cooked quinoa contains 222 calories, 5.2 grams of fiber, and 8.1 grams of protein. Fiber and protein are a great combination to fill you up, enhance satiety, and fight hunger.

4.   Lentils

groups of lentils

Lentils are one of the most budget-friendly legumes for a low-calorie but filling meal. They are rich in protein, fiber, and minerals, including manganese, folate, iron, copper, and magnesium.

Lentils contain insoluble and soluble fiber. Soluble fiber absorbs water and expands in the stomach, keeping you full for longer.

The fiber in legumes, including lentils, may help improve heart health, boost immunity, and improve digestive health.

One cup of cooked lentils offers 230 calories, 17.9 grams of protein, and 15.6 grams of fiber.

5.   Kidney beans

kidney beans in a wooden spoon

Kidney bean is a highly satisfying low-calorie ingredient used in different cuisines around the world.

It’s low in calories but high in fiber and protein, which work together to increase satiety, slow digestion, and reduce appetite.

The fiber in kidney beans has been shown to slow digestion and promote fullness, while the protein reduces ghrelin levels, a hormone that stimulates hunger feelings.

One cup of cooked red kidney beans contains 218 calories, 16.5 grams of fiber, and 16.2 grams of protein.

6.   Chickpeas

chickpeas on a wooden spoon

Due to their high fiber and protein content, chickpeas are very filling and have a powerful effect on hunger and appetite.

A cup of boiled chickpeas contains 269 calories, 14.5 grams of protein, and 12.5 grams of fiber.

7.   Cucumber

cucumbers isolated on white background

Cucumbers are very low in calories but high in water.

Half a cup slices of raw cucumber with peel contain 7.8 calories and 49.5 grams of water.

Including them in salads can fill you up quickly without weighing your stomach down. You can also enjoy them with hummus or salad dressing as a quick, low-calorie snack.

8.   Spinach


Spinach is an incredibly low-calorie leafy green packed with important nutrients including vitamin C and K, iron, calcium, and magnesium.

A cup of cooked spinach contains 41.4 calories and 4.3 grams of fiber.

It makes a great addition to morning smoothies, pasta, casseroles, soups, and sandwiches.

9.   Zucchini

zucchini on a white background

Zucchini is low in calories with reasonable amounts of fiber and high water content. This may reduce hunger feelings and keep you full.

One cup of sliced zucchini contains 17 calories, 1 gram of fiber, and more than 90 percent water.

Zucchini is also a good source of vitamin C and potassium, which lowers blood pressure and improves heart health.

Other Related Articles

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  2. 10 Amazing Health Benefits Of Noni
  3. How To Increase Insulin Sensitivity Naturally
  4. Healthy Fats To Consume
  5. Best Fiber Foods For Constipation

In Conclusion

Cutting back on calories doesn’t mean starving yourself.

The foods in this list are low in calories but high in fiber and protein and can initiate early satiety, fight feelings of hunger, and help you stay full longer. This may help prevent excess calorie intake and unnecessary weight gain that might predispose you to health complications.

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