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Free Foods for Dieting

author image Melodie Anne
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.
Free Foods for Dieting
A sliced red bell pepper on a counter. Photo Credit: jaxmaxsr/iStock/Getty Images

While the calories in free foods are minimal, they'll still add up quickly. Measure your portions, since each serving has up to 20 calories and 5 grams of carbs. Not all free foods have portion sizes, but if they do, limit yourself to three servings daily.

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Free Foods

Salad greens, like mesclun, iceberg and spinach, are on the free-foods list. Have them in unlimited amounts, since they contain minimal calories. Raw cabbage is an alternative, but the serving is 1/2 cup. Other free veggies include 1/4 cups of cooked carrots, cauliflower or green beans. Or have 1/2 cup of cucumber slices or five baby carrots. For free fruity alternatives, enjoy 1/2 cup of cooked cranberries sweetened with a sugar substitute or an unlimited amount of sugar-free gelatin. If you need a snack, have a cup of air-popped popcorn.

Condiment Selections

Many condiments, dressings and spreads are on the free-foods list. Have 1 tablespoon of fat-free cream cheese, 2 tablespoons of sugar-free syrup, 2 teaspoons of no-sugar-added jam, 1 tablespoon of either low-fat or no-fat sour cream, 1 tablespoon of fat-free mayonnaise -- or 1 teaspoon of the reduced-fat kind. Additionally, have 1 tablespoon of ketchup or relish or 1/4 cup of salsa. Or top your "free" salad with 1 tablespoon of nonfat or low-fat salad dressing, which are both included.

Liquids and Beverages

Plain broths, including consomme or bouillon, are considered free foods. For cold beverages, drink any type of sugar-free diet soft drink, diet tonic, soda water or unsweetened ice tea. Hot "free" drinks include hot tea, black coffee or hot chocolate made with sugar-free cocoa powder. Water, of course, is also included.

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