Low Calorie Vegetables: 100 Calories or Less

You just can’t beat vegetables for low calorie nourishing food. Veggies are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. But there’s so much more to these colorful foods that makes them ideal for weight loss.

Vegetables tend to have a high water and fiber content. Both water and fiber increase the bulk or volume of foods. This in turn reduces the energy density or calories. When the ratio of calories to weight is high, a food is considered to be high-energy dense. In other words, a small amount of food can have a high number of calories.

Low energy dense foods such as vegetables have relatively few calories by weight. This means you can eat more food for the same number of calories as an energy dense food such as pecan pie.

Low energy dense foods can fill you up and provide you with a sense of when you’ve had enough BEFORE you overeat. They also help to displace high calorie food you might otherwise consume.

If you are not a veggie fan and can’t imagine ever enjoying vegetables, I hope you will give them another chance. Exploring the wide range of flavors and textures of vegetables can be an adventure. As I continue to learn about the health benefits of vegetables, I am motivated to discover new and delicious flavors in the foods I prepare for meals and snacks. I hope in time you feel the same!

zucchini cooked in olive oil with rosemary, th...Image by shannonpatrick17 via Flickr

Low Calorie Vegetables: 100 Calories or Less

artichoke, cooked 1 medium 60 calories

asparagus, cooked ½ cup 85 calories

beets, cooked ½ cup 37 calories

bok choy, cooked 1 cup 20 calories

broccoli, raw ½ cup 26 calories

brussel sprouts, cooked ½ cup 28 calories

cabbage, cooked ½ cup 17 calories

carrots, cooked ½ cup 35 calories

carrots, raw ½ cup 27 calories

carrots, raw 1 large 30 calories

CSA Organic Carrots

cauliflower, cooked ½ cup 15 calories

celery, raw ½ cup sliced 10 calories

celery, raw 1 stalk 5 calories

cucumber, raw ½ medium 20 calories

edible podded peas, cooked ½ cup 22 calories

eggplant, cooked ½ cup 17 calories

fennel, raw ½ cup 15 calories

green peas (English peas), cooked 67 calories

jicama, raw ½ cup 25 calories

kale, cooked 1 cup 36 calories

lettuce, raw 1 cup 5 calories

onions, raw ½ cup sliced 23 calories

radishes, raw ½ cup sliced 9 calories

spinach, cooked ½ cup 20 calories

sweet green peppers, raw ½ cup sliced 9 calories

sweet potato, baked ½ cup 90 calories

sweet red peppers, raw ½ cup sliced 14 calories

sweet yellow corn, cooked 65 calories

swiss chard, cooked 1 cup 35 calories

tomato, raw 1 medium 25 calories

turnips, cooked 1 cup cubed 33 calories

white mushrooms, raw ½ cup sliced 8 calories

winter squash, baked (all varieties) ½ cup 40 calories

zucchini, raw 1/2 cup sliced 9 calories

Carrots cleaned, sliced, and ready to roast in just minutes.

Certain veggies are good raw or cooked others you will need to cook to enjoy. This doesn’t have to be time consuming or difficult. Most vegetables can be easily prepared and cooked in minutes with a microwave oven.

If you have the time, you just can’t beat the flavor of sliced roasted veggies. Brush veggies with a very light coating of olive oil, add seasoning, and then roast in a 425-degree oven. Watch the time. Some veggies brown up nicely in as little as ten minutes or so (small tomato wedges) whereas others might take as long as 30 to 40 minutes (sweet potato slices).

Here are a few more tips on how to get veggies in your diet more often:

1. Cut up veggies to be eaten raw at the beginning of the week. Keep them in a translucent container in the refrigerator in clear view when you open the fridge door. Having veggies ready to grab and eat makes them more appealing.

2. Get creative with salads! Salads can be so much more than iceberg lettuce and tomatoes. Think spinach or mixed leafy greens. How about beets, broccoli, carrots, jicama, cauliflower, cucumber, peas, onions, celery or fennel in addition to or instead of tomatoes?

3. Toss cherry tomatoes, halved with lightly cooked broccoli florets, a little olive oil, lemon juice, and seasoning.

4. Enjoy cut veggies with a low cal dip. You can make your own healthy dip by blending low fat cottage cheese with nonfat plain yogurt. Add seasoning, mix, and enjoy!

5. Add veggies to soups, salads, stir-fry dishes, casseroles, omelets, sandwiches, and more.

Ready to eat! Yum!

Check out my previous articles for some additional low calorie snack ideas:

1. Low Calorie Dairy Snacks

2. Healthy Low Calorie Fruit

3. Healthy Low Calorie Beverages

4. 28 Healthy Low Calorie Snack Foods to Go

5. Low Calorie Healthy Carbs: 100 Calories or Less

6. Low Calorie Meat, Poultry, Fish, and Seafood: 100 Calories or Less

Till next time, watch those calories and eat healthy foods!

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  • Ruth January 17, 2011, 2:44 pm

    Do you worry at all about loosing nutrients when you microwave?

    • Lori January 17, 2011, 4:19 pm

      Hi Ruth,

      No I don’t worry. All cooking methods will destroy some vitamins and other nutrients. How much is destroyed is influenced by three main factors – how long the food is cooked, how much liquid is used, and the cooking temperature. Microwave ovens use less heat and shorter cooking methods than most other cooking methods. Microwaved foods are generally cooked with little to no additional water. All that said, it is important to get a variety of vegetables in the diet and to eat vegetables prepared in different ways to get plenty of nutrients.

      Here’s a New York Times Science article for a little more information:


      Hope this helps,


  • Teresa Ballard December 12, 2010, 2:31 pm

    Thamks so much.You did an amazing job.

    Teresa Ballard