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The Calories in Vegetables

Compared to the calories in the Standard American Diet (SAD), the calories in vegetables are insignificant. If you pile your plate high with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and kale, you still won't take in enough vegetable calories to meet your basic calorie needs. See the two tables below for the calorie count of 49 different vegetables.


Calories By Weight = Calorie Density


In the two charts below, we compare the calories per ounce, and not the calories per serving, because serving sizes can vary.

We compare vegetable calories by weight to find the calorie density of these foods.

Calorie density is the big secret to successful weight loss. Be sure to see this important information about the calorie content of foods.


As you read the chart, remember that a good goal for a weight loss plan is to keep the calorie density of your diet around 35 calories per ounce.


Alphabetical List Of Vegetables
Vegetables Calories
Per Ounce
      Vegetables Calories
Per Ounce
artichokes 15 lettuce 5
asparagus 6 mustard greens 4
bamboo shoots 3 nopales 4
beet greens 8 okra 6
beets 12 onions 11
broccoli 10 palm hearts 8
broccoli rabe 9 parsnips 20
brussels sprouts 10 *peas (a legume) 22
cabbage, green 7 peppers, green 6
cabbage, red 9 peppers, red 9
carrots 12 potatoes 24
cauliflower 7 pumpkin 6
celeriac 12 radish 5
celery 5 rutabaga 11
chard 6 spinach 7
collard greens 7 squash, summer 6
*corn (a grain) 23 squash, winter 10
cucumber 4 sweet potato 24
eggplant 10 taro 40
endive 5 tomato 5
fennel 9 turnip greens 6
green beans 10 turnips 6
kale 8 watercress 3
kohlrabi 8 yams 33
leeks 9

*We listed corn and peas with the vegetables because so many people think of them as "vegetable" side dishes. However, they are not really vegetables. Corn is a grain, and peas are legumes.

As you study the first chart, you will discover that every vegetable on the list (except for taro) easily meets our weight loss guidelines. That means we can eat as many of these foods as we want and we will still lose weight. For a better picture, the next chart sorts the calories in vegetables by calorie density.

List of Vegetables By Calorie Density
Vegetables Calories
Per Ounce
      Vegetables Calories
Per Ounce
bamboo shoots 3 palm hearts 8
watercress 3 broccoli rabe 9
cucumber 4 cabbage, red 9
mustard greens 4 fennel 9
nopales 4 leeks 9
celery 5 peppers, red 9
endive 5 broccoli 10
lettuce 5 brussels sprouts 10
radish 5 eggplant 10
tomato 5 green beans 10
asparagus 6 squash, winter 10
chard 6 onions 11
okra 6 rutabaga 11
peppers, green 6 beets 12
pumpkin 6 carrots 12
squash, summer 6 celeriac 12
turnip greens 6 artichokes 15
turnips 6 parsnips 20
cabbage, green 7 peas (a legume) 22
cauliflower 7 corn (a grain) 23
collard greens 7 potatoes 24
spinach 7 sweet potato 24
beet greens 8 yams 33
kale 8 taro 40
kohlrabi 8

So what does this second list of vegetables tell us? Leafy greens and other green vegetables win the weight loss prize. They are loaded with nutrients and contain very few calories. However, their calorie density is actually too low to be a major source of calories. For example, look at this picture:calories in vegetables

This huge plate of vegetables contains only 105 calories. To make them yummy, we made our vegan Ranch Dressing recipe and drizzled 1 1/2 ounces of it over the veggies. That added another 76 calories. That is a total of only 181 calories in the entire meal, barely enough to sustain a flea. The calories in vegetables like these are just too low.

This is where the starchy vegetables, like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams, play an important role in our meal plan. They have a higher calorie density than the green vegetables, but they are still fine for weight loss. These starchy vegetable calories will satisfy our hunger and provide the fuel we need to run our bodies. Eat your starches without guilt!

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