Today we’re going to talk about the benefits of free foods. No, I’m not telling you to raid the local food bank. “Free foods” are foods that contain so few calories that they aren’t worth counting when you’re on a diet. If you ate more of these foods in the first place, you probably wouldn’t even need to be on a diet!
Here are 40 examples of free foods:
- Artichoke hearts
- Bamboo shoots
- Black beans
- Brussels sprouts
- Carbonated water
- Cocoa powder
- Coffee or tea
- Green veggies
- Hard sugar-free candy
- Mung bean sprouts
- Salad greens
- Tomato puree
- Tomato sauce
- Whipped topping
In general, one (1) cup of these foods will be under 100 calories. You can eat a maximum of four (4) cups per day before you have to start counting calories. However, you can get a lot of variety out of these foods before you go over the limit.
Here are some ways to incorporate free foods into your healthy eating plan:
Snack on berries. Berries such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries make great snacks because they’re tasty and portable.
Add fiber-rich foods to your diet. Eating fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, and legumes can regulate your blood sugar levels and help you feel fuller for longer.
Eat vegetables before meals. Eating non-starchy vegetables – like salad greens – before a meal can increase your fiber consumption and help you fill up before filling up on calorie-laden foods.
Add raw salad greens and lettuce to your meals. Raw salad greens and lettuce make great salads or can be added to sandwiches.
Add raw cabbage to your meals. Raw cabbage can be added to salads or used as a crunchy topping for sandwiches.
Add raw cucumber to your meals. Raw cucumber can be added to salads or used as a crunchy topping for sandwiches.
Drink carbonated water. Carbonated water, sparkling water, and seltzer water is a bubbly, fizzy, calorie-free alternative to sugary sodas.
Drink coffee or tea. Coffee and tea can be consumed in moderation if you need a boost of caffeine.
Use unsweetened cocoa powder. Unsweetened cocoa powder can be used to add flavor to coffee and tea without adding calories.
Use whipped topping. Whipped topping can be used to add flavor without adding calories. (Note: we’re referring to Cool Whip here, not heavy whipping cream.)
Snack on hard, sugar-free candy. Hard, sugar-free candy isn’t fattening like chocolate. See if you can find a favorite flavor that suits you.
Remember, it’s important to maintain a balanced diet and consume foods in appropriate amounts. But these free foods can be eaten in moderation without calorie counting.