If you're looking to follow a healthy diet, you'll want to fill your kitchen with high-fiber, low-calorie foods. Not only does fiber help to fill you up and aid with digestion, it also may reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Foods that are low-calorie help to promote weight loss and tend to be lower in fat and sugar. High-fiber, low-calorie foods are naturally delicious and easy to incorporate into your diet.
Fruit is low in calories, usually 100 calories or less per serving, and is high in fiber and many essential vitamin and minerals. Some fiber-filled options include apples, bananas, pears, oranges and berries. Blueberries, for example, contain 4 grams of fiber and 84 calories per cup. Adults should aim to get 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit per day, while children need 1 to 2 cups per day. Top yogurt with sliced berries for a tasty breakfast, snack on a banana when hunger strikes or reach for grapes or pineapple for a sweet after-dinner treat.
Like fruit, vegetables are nutrient-packed. They are very low in calories, yet extremely filling due to their high fiber content. Spinach, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, sweet peppers and tomatoes are some healthy options to choose from. One small sweet potato, for example, contains 3 grams of fiber and 87 calories. Adults need at least 2 to 3 cups of vegetables each day, and children need 1 to 3 cups per day. Include a variety of vegetables in meals, such as baby carrots and cucumber slices for lunch and a green salad and roasted Brussels sprouts for dinner. In addition, you can snack on veggies, like bell pepper strips, with a little low-fat dip.
Beans and Legumes
Beans and legumes, like black beans, chickpeas and lentils, are low-calorie, high-fiber foods that are an excellent source of protein and high in many important vitamins and minerals. Lentils, for instance, contain 8 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein in a 110-calorie, 1/2-cup serving. Beans and legumes are inexpensive and versatile. Use cannelloni beans, kidney beans and lentils in soups and chili. Top salads with chickpeas and add black beans to tacos.
Packed with fiber and high in protein, iron and B vitamins, whole grains provide a healthy, low-calorie addition to your diet. Oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice and whole-wheat bread are a few options to try. One cup of cooked oatmeal provides 143 calories and 4 grams of filling fiber. Start your day with whole-grain cereal like oatmeal. Use whole-grain bread, pitas or wraps for your lunchtime sandwich. Include a side of brown rice, wild rice or quinoa at dinner time. Swap out your usual pasta, pizza crust and tortillas for the whole-grain varieties.
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fiber
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Eat More - Weigh Less?
- USDA SuperTracker: Food-A-Pedia
- USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov: How Much Fruit Is Needed Daily?
- USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov: How Many Vegetables Are Needed Daily or Weekly?
- Whole Grains Council: Whole Grains - An Important Source of Essential Nutrients