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Low Calorie Foods

When I finally decided it was time to lose weight and get back in shape, I didn't know where to begin or exactly what I should be eating. There are so many fad diets available and I did get sidetracked on the low-carb, Atkins diet, only to quickly discover that it wasn't for me.

A few years ago, I found a website that helped me understand what it takes to lose weight and gave me the motivation to do it. I have looked for it again for my own benefit and that of our readers. Unfortunately, I cannot find it. I did include all that I learned and listed what worked for my diet on our weight loss tips page so hopefully it can help you too.

Taking it from there, it would have been much easier to lose weight if I had known right from the start just what foods were low calorie and low fat, and what to combine for meals. We already know that most fruits and vegetables are beneficial, so this list excludes most of them.

Low Calorie / Diet Food List

I have compiled a list of low-calorie (and mostly low-fat) foods that were easy to prepare and healthy. Sometimes I will make some tasty sandwiches and add them to my list of meals.

You can make your own list of meals and sandwiches and write down the calories that you figured in a weight loss journal. This way you don't have to add them up every time you eat. Keep in mind, these are not foods low in carbohydrates, just low in calories. I found that by reducing the calories per day and adding some exercise was the easiest way for me to lose weight.

Prepackaged, frozen meals - Weight Watchers has "Smart Ones," there's Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice, and more. I buy whatever looks good and/or is on sale, not because I am following a particular diet. These foods are healthy, offer variety, and portion control.

Canned soup - Read the labels. Companies usually list more than one serving per can, so the calories and sodium are more that what you see at first glance. Healthy soups are costlier but the cans are larger and they're chunkier. Regular soup is fine as long as you keep track of calories, fat calories, and sodium.

Fat-Free hot dogs or chicken patties - These take some getting used to but they're filling and guilt-free. Some brands are unpalatable and simply not worth the extra money.

Lean lunch meat - A sandwich with lean lunch meat and some mustard or fat-free mayo will get you by until your next meal. It may cost more but there's no denying the difference between lean and regular. Again, read the labels.

Rice cakes - Plain rice cakes are only around 35 calories. Unsalted ones have very little sodium and are healthier. Other flavors are available and quite good. Even though they have a few more calories, they're worth the extra treat.

Bullion cubes - Dieting often makes you feel chilled. Drink bullion cubes dissolved in hot water to warm up and get a little food content. The only downside is that they're packed with salt, so don't get carried away.

Reduced calorie crackers & chips - These are good snacks that satisfy a need for crunchy foods. By keeping this craving under control, you'll reduce the chance of binging later on. Yes, you need to count the crackers and chips if you're counting calories. My favorites are reduced-calorie Cheese Nips, Wheat Thins and fat-free Pringles.

Breakfast and granola bars - Crunchy breakfast bars come in many different flavors and can be eaten as a fast meal if you're eating several times a day or as a satisfying snack.

Lowfat cottage cheese - Add a 1/2 cup of cottage cheese to your diet to balance it out. You'll get dairy benefits and only about 80 calories.

Cherry tomatoes - Besides the other fruits and vegetables that I like, a medium cherry tomato is packed with flavor. There are only about ten calories in four medium (2 oz.) cherry tomatoes.