From prawns to chicken, from beans to broccoli, we’ve got plenty of low calorie filling foods you can add to your favourite meals throughout the day to ensure you keep fuller for longer.
Not all low calorie lunches or dinners are substantial or filling enough and can sometimes lead to overeating or unhealthy snacking in between meals. Making low calorie meals with ingredients that are high in fiber and high in protein will leave you feeling fuller for longer. It will also stop you from overindulging in low calorie snacks, particularly if you’re trying to lose weight.
Nutritionist Fiona Hunter says; “Vegetables are a good choice as they are so low in calories and you can eat a large portion without taking in too many calories. They are also full of fiber which will help you feel fuller for longer.” She also recommends eating lean protein such as prawns, fish, and chicken.
Low calorie filling foods
1. Baked beans
Calories: 78 per 100g | High in: Fiber and protein
Baked beans are packed with fiber and protein, which are both very filling nutrients as they are slower to digest than others. Watch out for tins with added salt and sugar as this makes them unhealthier. A small 150g tin of baked beans in tomato sauce only has 1g fat.
Calories: 47 per 110g | High in: Fiber
Lots of vegetables are low in calories and broccoli has only 0.6g fat per large portion too. It’s a fantastic vegetable to serve on the side of your meals or bulk out your favourite dishes. Broccoli is a non-starchy vegetable, which means its low calorie but high in fiber and water, therefore likely to be more filling.
Calories: 16 per 100g | High in: Fiber
Boiled white cabbage may not sound hugely exciting but it’s one of the simplest low calorie filling foods and fat-free option. Roasted cabbage is a delicious alternative side for your roast dinner. You can also chop it and add it to pasta sauces to bulk out or shred it for stir-fries too.
Calories: 34 per 100g | High in: Fiber
Just like broccoli, cauliflower is a great hearty vegetable that is low in calories and fat. Per 100g portion of boiled cauliflower, there is 0.9g fat. Boiling or steaming cauliflower is the best way to cook it for the lowest calories.
Nutritionist Fiona says; “Try serving cauliflower couscous or rice instead of the carb equivalent and you’ll reduce calories of the overall meal.”
Calories: 153 per 100g | High in: Protein
Chicken breast is the leanest part of the bird and for the lowest calorie consumption, you need to remove the skin. Chicken is an excellent source of protein and makes a delicious meal when seasoned with herbs and served with vegetables. Protein is a slow nutrient to digest meaning food often high in protein hangs around in your stomach for longer. It’s one of the most popular low calorie filling foods.
Calories: 100 per 100g | High in: Protein
Cod is a great fish to marinade with herbs and spices, which add very few calories but lots of delicious flavour. The calories for this are based on the cod being baked and eaten without the skin. One of our favourite marinades is soy, lime juice, and chilli. Like most fish, cod is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to improve your cardiovascular health.
Calories: 20 per 100g | High in: Fiber
Courgettes have a high water content which makes them fat-free and very low in calories. Boiled and eaten on their own, they may not seem the most appealing of choices, however, you could slice the courgettes into ribbons or spiralise and use them as a low-calorie alternative to pasta or noodles.
Calories: 80 per one medium egg (approximately 60g) | High in: Protein
Boiling or poaching your egg is the best choice when looking to minimise calories. Eggs are a great source of protein which is proven to help you feel fuller for longer. For a tasty low calorie breakfast or lunch, you could have a boiled egg with some rice crackers or steamed broccoli.
Fiona adds; “Eggs are also a useful source of vitamin D which is a vitamin that many people are short of.”
Calories: 14 per 100g | High in: Fiber
While at first you might not think of lettuce as especially filling. In a salad combined with other low calorie ingredients like prawns or chicken, we think it makes a very substantial and enjoyable meal. Plus, it’s fat-free. As lettuce is 96% water it has high water content, similar to cucumber. This can help bulk out meals without pushing the calorie limit.
Calories: 14 per 100g | High in: Fiber
When boiled, there is just 0.3g fat in a 100g portion of mushrooms and only nine calories. To get the most flavour from your mushrooms, we recommend cooking them in a dry, non-stick frying pan. Try not to overcrowd the pan and allow the mushrooms to release their liquid. With a pinch of salt and pepper, they make a delicious side to scrambled egg or on top of toast.
Fiona says; “Mushrooms have a high water content and are fat-free so they are low in calories, they are a good source of B vitamins and the mineral selenium is important for the healthy immune system.”
Calories: 121 per 30g | High in: Fiber
A delicious and nutritious option to start your day. Oats are naturally gluten-free and make a good source of fiber and protein. Oats are not considered a high-fat food, but you should be mindful of what you serve with them. For example, oats topped with lots of fruit and nut butter can increase the calorie content quite dramatically.
Calories: 70 per 100g | High in: Protein
Prawns are a tasty, low calorie way to bulk out meals without increasing the calorie count by too much. Once again it’s important to be mindful of how you cook the prawns to ensure you aren’t piling on the calories. These numbers are based on the prawns being boiled. You could fry them with a low-calorie spray and season with lemon juice, black pepper, and chilli for a low calorie but flavoursome dish.
Fiona adds; “Prawns are virtually fat-free and high in protein so they are low in calories and thanks to their high protein they help you feel fuller for longer.”
13. Silken Tofu
Calories: 57 per 100g | High in: Protein
An excellent choice for vegans, silken tofu is one of the lowest calorie tofus available as it’s largely made up of water, yet is still packed full of protein. It’s made from soy milk and only has 2g fat per 100g portion. It’s great in vegetable stir-fries and can be cooked to replicate scrambled eggs.
Calories: 13 per 100g | High in: Fiber
In a 100g portion of boiled swede there is 0.1g fat. With the addition of a small amount of butter and some seasoning, it makes a much lower calorie alternative to your classic mashed potato and it’s very tasty too. To bulk it out further you could include carrots in the mash for some sweetness.
Calories: 153 per 100g | High in: Protein
Similar to chicken but with a marginally higher calorie count, white turkey meat is the leanest option available. The protein in turkey is what will ensure you’re kept full after lunch or dinner. You can treat it just as you would chicken. Turkey mince can make a great lower calorie alternative for dishes such as meatballs and burgers, without sacrificing flavour.
16. Black beans
Calories: 110 per 100g | High in: Fiber and protein
Black beans are a great source of protein and fiber. They’re ideal as a vegan or vegetarian protein option as they take longer to digest, which therefore keeps you fuller for longer. Black beans are also packed with important nutrients too such as iron and calcium, which contribute to building bone structure and muscle.
Fiona comments; “Black beans are fat-free and high in fiber, which means they help to keep your digestive system in good shape – they also help reduce high cholesterol levels.”
17. Udon noodles
Calories: 127 per 100g | High in: Fiber
Udon noodles are the perfect choice of noodles if you’re looking for something filling that won’t push the calorie limit. Udon noodles are much lower in calories than egg noodles at 144 calories per 100g and rice noodles at 172 calories per 100g. As a carb, noodles release energy slowly, which should keep you full for a longer period of time making them the perfect low calorie filling foods.
18. Green lentils
Calories: 92 per 100g | High in: Fiber and protein
Ideal for managing blood pressure and cholesterol, lentils make the perfect ingredient to add to stews, bakes, or simply sprinkle over salads. Green lentils are much lower in calories than red but still do the trick of keeping you full up. Lentils are also a great source of iron and vitamin B12, a vitamin that helps to keep your nerve cells healthy. It’s one of our favourite low calorie filling foods.
Fiona adds; “Green lentils have a low Glycaemic index which means they release they carbohydrate slow which helps to keep blood sugar levels stable which can help reduce the risk of hunger pangs.”