6 Delicious, Low-Calorie Foods | Erin Stern
When it comes to nutrition, LESS is not more.
Maintaining a healthy diet can be tough. If you’re trying to lean down, it can be even tougher. You’re fighting cravings, hunger pangs, and the energy slump of being in a caloric deficit. Feeling satiated after a meal goes a long way in curbing these problems. Dr. Barbara Roll theorized that the body is accustomed to eating a certain amount of volume in foods per day. We can choose to eat calorie dense foods that are low in volume or lower calorie foods that are higher in volume. For example, a fast food cheeseburger is around 600 calories but only weighs a few ounces. A large chicken breast, two servings of rice, veggies, and an apple contain the same number of calories but are much more satiating than the cheeseburger. The latter will also help you stay on track to your fitness goals. The diet is called Volumetrics and has been a staple in my meal plans year round.
Here are some foods that add volume, nutrients, and deliciousness:
Eating clean often means foregoing the “crunchy” foods. Celery crushes the craving for crunchy and provides a variety of vitamins and minerals. It’s high in Vitamin K, C, and folate, and offers anti-inflammatory benefits. Enjoy it in salads or use it as a dip for hummus or nut butter. One of my favorite ways to eat is to toss the clean stalks in a Ziploc bag with 2 tbsp. water, ½ tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. seasoning, and let it soak for a few hours. You’ll still have the crunch, but the stalks are juicer and full of flavor!
This food is a nutritional powerhouse that helps to hydrate and detoxify. It also provides a bit of a crunch, making it perfect for salads and for dipping. They’re also delicious when made into quick pickles using apple cider vinegar. Cucumbers are high in Vitamin K, magnesium, and antioxidants. They can also aid in digestion.
3. Riced Cauliflower
I like to sneak riced cauliflower into some of my meals, especially at night. This helps to increase the volume of the meal, without increasing calories drastically. Replace half of your regular rice with steamed cauliflower, and you’ll be able to fill your plate and stay lean. You can make your own cauliflower rice by using a food processor or you can buy it frozen. I usually keep frozen bags on hand, as it’s much easier. If you’re low carb, you can make pizza crust and bread from riced cauliflower, too. It’s also packed with Vitamins C, A, and K, and has cancer fighting properties. The fiber content is high, too, which helps with satiety.
4. Bone Broth
This soup is a little different than a traditional stock. Bones are slow-cooked in water and release collagen, nutrients, and vitamins. This nourishing broth can help improve digestion, heal “leaky gut” and is high in protein. It can also improve the condition of the skin – making it more elastic and radiant. You can make your own bone broth or buy organic bone broth at almost any supermarket. Add some chicken and veggies, and you’ve got the perfect soup. I like to cook my rice in it, as it adds a nice seasoning, plus the nutritional benefits.
This fruit makes an excellent addition to any meal. It’s packed with Vitamin C, antioxidants, and is said to help rev metabolism. It’s also low in calories at about 80 calories per whole medium grapefruit. It can be peeled and segmented and tossed into a salad, made into a salsa, or eaten on its own. My favorite way is the way my grandma used to make it for me. She’d slice it in half crosswise, cut around the edge of the pith with a knife, and broil it in the oven for 5 minutes with some brown sugar on top. I use stevia now, and the results are just as good! The fruit caramelizes a bit and tastes just like candy!
Air pop this food for a super low-calorie snack that will fill you up. It’s high in fiber, antioxidants, and manganese. Three cups of popcorn is less than 200 calories, and also provides a light and crunchy texture. Top your popcorn with salt, herbs, and spices. It’s easy to make this snack unhealthy by using microwaved popcorn or topping it with liquid butter. So, just be sure to pop your own or buy all natural pre-popped bags.
Diet and training go hand in hand. Along with a healthy diet, I supplement for the best results with my training. I always rely on PEAK ATP to help me get a few extra good reps in.
Thank you for reading. Until next time, train hard, y’all!
Erin Stern, 2x Ms. Figure Olympia