A "calorie-free" food is any food that contains less than 5 calories per serving, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The serving size must be what is customarily consumed. Foods meeting this criterion may use "free of calories," "no calories," "calorie-free," "zero calories," "trivial source of calories," "without calories," "dietarily insignificant source of calories" or "negligible source of calories" on the food label.
Most vegetables are naturally low in calories and packed full of healthy vitamins and minerals. When consumed raw, without added sauces or ingredients, some have 5 calories or less per serving. Examples include 1/2 cup of alfalfa sprouts, 1/4 cup of chopped celery, 3/4 cup of butterhead lettuce, 1/2 cup of iceberg lettuce, 1/4 cup of mushrooms, 1/4 cup of sweet green peppers or 3/4 cup of spinach.
Several foods using sugar substitutes are now lower in calories; some even have no calories. Treats containing less than 5 calories include sugar-free, fat-free chocolate syrup; sugar-free ice pops; sugar-free candy; sugar-free gelatin; sugar-free pancake syrup; and sugar-free jelly. Not all sugar-free products are low in calories, so check the nutrition label.
Condiments, Spices and Flavorings
Some condiments only have a few calories per serving and fall under the calorie-free labeling according to the FDA. For example, a teaspoon or packet of mustard only contains 3 calories. One teaspoon of basil, 1 teaspoon of bay leaf, 1 teaspoon of allspice, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 1 tablespoon of dried parsley, 1 tablespoon of vinegar and some fat-free salad dressings all count as calorie-free.
Several beverages are calorie-free, water being one of them. Popular sports drinks, sodas and flavored waters now have sugar-free or diet choices. These drinks do not have the added calories from sugar but rather use a sugar substitute to make them sweet in taste. The label will identify if these drink options are calorie-free, and the nutrition label should state zero calories per serving. Coffee and tea are other calorie-free beverages. Take into consideration when you add cream or sugar, you are adding calories, and it is no longer a calorie-free beverage.