52 of the Best Zero Calorie Foods and Drinks

by Millie
assortment of zero calorie foods

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Some days I feel like the Count from Sesame Street. I’m counting calories. I’m counting steps. I’m counting activity minutes. I’m counting repetitions (reps). I’m counting grams of fiber. And so on and so on. It’s mentally exhausting. But today’s topic – zero calorie foods and drinks, requires no counting. Yay!

There is no question that one way to lose weight or avoid weight gain is to eat fewer calories and/or low-calorie foods. But this is sometimes difficult for us overweight people. One strategy to avoid consuming extra calories is to include zero calorie foods as part of a balanced diet with healthy food.

What are Zero Calorie Foods

Zero calorie foods are foods that are so low in calories that it takes more energy to digest them than the calories that they contain. According to the Mayo Clinic, about “5 to 10 percent of your total energy expenditure goes to digest and store the nutrients in the food you eat.” 

For example, one stalk of calories contains just 6 calories. So it is theoretically possible that the body burns more energy actually eating one stalk of celery than 6 calories. The net effect can be zero calories. 

Or in fact, some people go even further and call these foods negative calorie foods because you could even use more than 6 calories eating that stalk of celery. So the net effect is a negative number.

Essentially zero calorie foods or negative calorie foods are high in water content and high in fiber. The bottom line is that water and fiber will help fill you up, therefore you eat less and ultimately lose weight!

Also read: Best 5 Foods for Permanent Weight Loss

Are Zero Calorie Foods a Myth

several slices of watermelon, one of the zero calorie foods
low calorie watermelon

Like most things in the weight loss industry, there isn’t full agreement on zero calorie foods. Some experts say that this is just a myth. Other than water, there really is nothing that naturally contains zero calories. Although diet soda or other zero-calorie beverages has no calories, there are no important nutrients in them so it’s not advisable to consume these drinks as part of a healthy diet.

Some health experts feel that we will need “to eat such large amounts of these foods to make your body work hard enough to cancel out the calories that it wouldn’t be worth it.” 

On a personal level, I feel that even if zero calorie foods might be too good to be true, this is still a list of foods that you can eat more freely – and not count calories. They are still at the very least a list of low calorie foods.

When you look at the zero-calorie foods list you will quickly see that these zero calorie foods are mainly fruit and vegetables. Therefore, they are healthy, nutritious and usually high in fiber. And obviously, low in calories.

There is no disagreement, however, that these foods are low in calories and eating them will have a huge impact on your weight loss and maintenance.

Also read Foods Rich in Fiber for Weight Loss

List of Zero Calorie Foods

several types of green vegetables
list of zero calorie foods

The zero calories foods list contain the foods that you should try to eat more of every day. They can be eaten as a quick, nutritious snack, as a side dish, or dessert. 

If you are looking for the first baby step of many baby steps to a healthier you, start by adding some of these foods to your menu. It’s a lot easier to add healthier foods in the beginning, rather than taking away all the unhealthy foods.

One of the things that I have discovered on my weight loss journey is that there are some tried and true weight loss foods (e.g., iceberg lettuce, dark leafy green vegetables, broccoli, apples, citrus fruits) that we eat daily or weekly. 

However, you must really add new foods to your meals so you don’t get bored. If you are not bored, you will stick to your ‘diet’ and lose weight permanently. 

Use the following list of zero calorie foods to add new fruits and vegetables to your menu or healthy recipes. You never know what you might love!

I hope I don’t have to remind you that you will not have negative, zero or even low calories foods if you add a ton of butter, oil, cheese or whatever to the foods on this list.

I have separated the list between zero calorie fruit and zero calorie vegetables. Also, I have listed the number of calories per cup, so you are fully informed and can easily compare your options. Okay, let’s get to it!

Zero Calorie Fruits

several slices of pineapple, one of the zero calorie foods
zero calorie fruit – pineapple
  1. Apples
    Calories per cup: 65
    Apples are probably the most popular fruit and for good reason. They are widely available, relatively inexpensive and they taste good. But most importantly, they are nutritious and one of the best zero calorie foods to help you lose weight.
  2. Apricots
    Calories per cup: 74
    Apricots is another low calorie fruit that is fairly common in most areas. They help with your digestion and are an excellent source of Vitamins A and C.
  3. Cantalope
    Calories per cup: 6
    Cantalope is very popular in the summer and can be added to your salads and cold soups.
  4. Clementines
    Calories per cup: 35
    These delicious cousins of the orange are a great addition to your low calorie fruit basket.
  5. Grapefruit
    Calories per cup: 74
    There was a time when grapefruit was a diet staple for breakfast. Not only is it a zero calorie food, but it is also an appetite suppressant.
  6. Honeydew melons
    Calories per cup: 64
    Honeydew melon or honey melon can be eaten as a snack, dessert, or added to soups or salads.
  7. Oranges
    Calories per cup: 83
    In addition to being an excellent source of Vitamin C, oranges are also low in calories, delicious and readily available.
  8. Papaya
    Calories per cup: 62
    It’s hard not to love papaya. It’s sweet and packed with fiber and Vitamin A and C. In addition to eating it raw, you can add papaya to soups and smoothies.
  9. Peaches
    Calories per cup: 60
    In addition to being delicious, peaches contain epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a compound that is supposed to aid in weight loss.  
  10. Pineapple
    Calories per cup: 82
    Go beyond your Hawaiin pizza and enjoy pineapple on its own. I especially like it grilled or broiled.
  11. Plums
    Calories per cup: 76
    Plums are an excellent low calorie fruit to add to your menu. They are also packed with nutrients, especially Vitamin C.
  12. Raspberries
    Calories per cup: 64
    Raspberries are surprisingly high in fiber and there is some research to suggest that they may help with metabolism.
  13. Strawberries
    Calories per cup: 53
    Strawberries are one of my personal favorites zero calorie foods. Buy them when they are in season and cheap and freeze them to use later.
  14. Watermelon
    Calories per cup: 47
    You can’t have a summer barbeque without watermelon. It’s naturally sweet and delicious and contains a lot of water. It is also great in salads. 

Zero Calorie Vegetables

3 fennel, one of the zero calorie foods
zero calorie vegetable – fennel
  1. Arugula
    Calories per cup: 5
    Arugula’s tart, peppery flavor is a great addition to your salads, soups, pizza, and sandwiches. It’s also good for your skin and digestion.
  2. Asparagus
    Calories per cup: 27
    In addition to being a zero calorie food, asparagus is a natural diuretic and helps you get rid of extra fluids and salt.
  3. Beets
    Calories per cup: 59
    I love beets especially when roasted which intensifies their sweet flavor. They have a lot of fiber and can fill you up and curb your appetite.
  4. Bok Choy
    Calories per cup: 13
    Bok Choy is a common Chinese vegetable this is also known as pak choi, pok choi, white cabbage or spoon soup. It is about 89% of water and helps with satiety.
  5. Broccoli
    Calories per cup: 31
    Brocolli is one of my go-to zero calorie foods and is always on my grocery shopping list. My favourite is to roast them with onions.
  6. Brussels sprouts
    Calories per cup: 38
    We eat roasted or sauteed Brussels sprouts a few times a week. They are rich in fiber and is also a good source of protein.
  7. Cabbage
    Calories per cup: 17
    I still have memories of the cabbage soup diet. But instead of another fad diet, enjoy cabbage in soups, salads or sauteed.
  8. Carrots
    Calories per cup: 45
    Carrots are not only a popular zero calorie food, but they are also a natural diuretic.
  9. Cauliflower
    Calories per cup: 27
    Cauliflower is one of the more common vegetables in my part of the world. My favorite is roasted cauliflower, curried and in soups.
  10. Celery
    Calories per cup: 16
    Celery is more than the never eaten side with your chicken wings, they are the perfect snack. Have a bunch waiting for you in the fridge.
  11. Chard
    Calories per cup: 7
    Chard (also known as Swiss Chard) has high water content, almost no fat and is great for your digestive system.
  12. Collard greens
    Calories per cup: 12
    Collard greens are not popular in my part of the world. You can add it to soups, salads, stir fry, chilli, eggs, and smoothies.
  13. Cucumber
    Calories per cup: 16
    Cucumber is over 96% water and one of the best zero calorie foods. I usually have sliced cucumbers in the fridge ready to snack on or add to a salad.
  14. Fennel
    Calories per cup: 27
    Fiber rich fennel can be eaten raw, roasted or braised. It is also high in potassium and may help reduce blood pressure.
  15. Green beans
    Calories per cup: 31
    The very popular green beans are low in fat, rich in fiber and will help you feel full longer.
  16. Jicama
    Calories per cup: 49
    Jicama is a root vegetable that is not only low in calories but high in fiber. You may find it in your local supermarket as yam bean, Mexican potato, Mexican water chestnut or Chinese turnip. You can eat jicama raw, add it to your salads and vegetable platter. Or stir fry jicama with a little olive oil and chile.
  17. Kale
    Calories per cup: 33
    Kale has become very popular in recent years. It can be eaten raw in a salad, added to soups and pasta. I prefer it sauteed with onions. Kale chips are also a delicious snack.
  18. Leeks
    Calories per cup: 54
    Most of us are familiar with potato leek soup, but there are a variety of ways to enjoy this zero calorie food. I prefer them roasted.
  19. Lemons and Limes
    Calories per cup: 61
    Of course, you are not going to eat lemons or limes by themselves. Many people believe that adding lemon or lime to your water aids in many things including digestion and weight loss.
  20. Lettuce
    Calories per cup:5
    I am sure no one is surprised that lettuce is on this list of zero calorie foods. Just be careful that you don’t cover your lettuce with a high-calorie dressing.
  21. Mushrooms
    Calories per cup: 16
    Mushrooms are low in calories, low in carbohydrates and sodium, and almost no fat. I like them raw with a hummus dip, sauteed with olive oil and garlic or in soups
  22. Mustard greens
    Calories per cup: 15
    Mustard greens are not very popular, maybe because of their horseradish like taste. But you can add them to your salads or saute it with a little olive oil and garlic.
  23. Onions
    Calories per cup: 46
    All of my best recipes start with saute onions and garlic (also a zero calorie food) and it is no wonder that I eat a lot of onions. I know a number of people who swear by eating raw onions when they feel a cold or flu coming.
  24. Peppers
    Calories per cup: 38
    I love peppers, especially the red, yellow and orange varieties. They are high in fiber, almost fat-free, but most importantly sweet and delicious. I eat it raw, sauteed, roasted and grilled.
  25. Pumpkin
    Calories per cup: 30
    No, your pumpkin latte is not a zero calorie food. But you can add pumpkin to your soups, stir fry and warm salads. Pumpkin is also great stuffed and baked.
  26. Radishes
    Calories per cup: 18
    I think almost all garden salads that I have ever had includes radishes. However, they can also be roasted and sauteed.
  27. Rutabaga
    Calories per cup: 53
    Rutabaga, also known as swede, is a cross between turnips and cabbage. It can be used as you would a potato – mashed and roasted.
  28. Spinach
    Calories per cup: 7
    There are a lot of reasons that Popeye loved spinach. In addition to being a zero calorie food, it’s great for your vision, heart, and skin. It is also reputed to prevent insomnia, high blood pressure and diabetes.
  29. Sugar snap peas
    Calories per cup: 35
    You can eat both the pod and the peas of sugar snap peas. You can add them to salads and many dishes.
  30. Tomatoes
    Calories per cup: 32
    So many of my favorite recipes contain tomatoes that I probably have it about three to four times a week. Tomatoes contain lycopene which helps with weight loss.
  31. Turnips
    Calories per cup: 36
    Turnips are probably not usually on your shopping list, but you can enjoy their sweet, nutty flavor raw, roasted, or mashed.
  32. Watercress
    Calories per cup: 4
    Watercress as it was my mother’s green leafy vegetable of choice for salads. Not only is it low in calories, but watercress has a lot of fiber as well.
  33. Zucchini
    Calories per cup: 19
    Have you bought your spiralizer and turned your zucchini into a substitute for pasta yet? I also like it raw or sauteed.

Zero Calorie Drinks

glass of coconut water with half of a coconut
zero calorie drink – coconut water
  1.  Almond Milk
    Calories per cup: 5
    You can try adding almond milk to your coffee and other dishes instead of cow’s milk to keep them zero calories.
  2.  Broth
    Calories per cup: 7-12
    Broth by itself is quite tasty and is a great alternative hot drink.
  3. Coconut Water
    Calories per cup: 45
    Coconut water can boost your metabolism, help with weight loss and digestion.
  4.  Coffee
    Calories per cup: 1
    Black coffee can boost your metabolism and help you burn fat.
  5. Tea
    Calories per cup: 2
    Green and herbal teas without milk and sugar are not only low calorie but have other health benefits.

Also Read: How Much Water to Drink Daily for Weight Loss

52 Zero Calorie Foods and Drinks

several types of vegetables, zero calorie foods
zero calorie foods

I am sure that there are many foods and drinks on the zero calorie list you are very familiar with. But there may be a few new fruits or vegetables that you can add to your shopping list and hopefully enjoy. Whether you are interested in weight loss or weight management, this most complete list of zero calorie or negative-calorie foods will be an invaluable resource.

Let me know what you think of this list of zero calories foods and drinks! I am sure it can help you!

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Emily Terrell September 2, 2020 -

Counting is exhausting! I couldn’t have a diet that required that. But having foods that are calorie free is definitely something I enjoy! Thanks for this long list to get us on the right path!

Millie September 3, 2020 -

Hi Emily, Yes, counting is exhausting, but at least you don’t have to count with this list!

Britt | Not Your Mom's Gifts September 3, 2020 -

OMG I did not even know I needed this list!!! Definitely saving this post for future reference! Thanks for sharing your tips!!

Millie September 3, 2020 -

Hi Britt, I’m so glad that you will be able to use the list!

Mosaics Lab September 3, 2020 -

I actually didn’t know watermelon is low calorie! This is awesome! I LOVE watermelon but have been avoiding it because i thought it is high in calories.

Millie September 3, 2020 -

I also avoided watermelon for a long time as well. But it’s mainly water so you can’t go wrong!

Nina September 3, 2020 -

I love eating raw fruits and veggies, especially salads! Eating real food is are so good for you that compact so many good nutrients and vitamins!

Millie September 3, 2020 -

Hi Nina, you are so right. Stick to fruit and vegetables and you are one step ahead of the game!

Veronika Sykorova September 4, 2020 -

So true! Especially with the vegetables that contain a lot of water. I haven’t heard this about almond milk, I wish mine had 5 calories per cup haha, the one I buy has around 100

Millie September 4, 2020 -

Hi Veronika, It sounds like you have a very healthy diet. No worry about your almond milk, even 100 calories per cup is still relatively good.

Monidipa September 4, 2020 -

I have gained 5 kgs and I need to start dieting soon. This list of 0 calories food will help!

Millie September 4, 2020 -

Hi Monidipa, I’m sure you will lose 5 kg very quickly and easily with a healthy diet and exercise. Good luck.

Viano September 6, 2020 -

Quite a comprehensive list. I had no idea how little calories each of these fruits and veggies contain. Now, I have an idea. Thanks for this.

Millie September 6, 2020 -

Thanks, Viano. I’m so happy that you found the list helpful.

Joey September 7, 2020 -

Need to get healthy again thanks for the great read

Millie September 7, 2020 -

It’s my pleasure, Joey. Thanks for stopping by

Trina Welch September 11, 2020 -

Love this list!

Millie September 12, 2020 -

Hi Trina, Thanks. I hope you find the list useful.

Nadim Alamuddin October 17, 2020 -

I don’t usually read cooking blogs but this post couldn’t keep me from reading it! To start with, your photos are so vivid and so yummy, they just kept me mesmerized on your site! Plus, you helped me learn a lot about zero calorie foods…
Thanks for sharing!

Millie October 18, 2020 -

Hi Nadine, thanks for your kind words! Much appreciated!


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