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We can use simple arithmetic to find the best vegan low calorie foods

What are good low calorie foods on a vegan diet? Foods that we can eat until we are satisfied without gaining weight. Some of them seem obvious, like celery sticks. Others might surprise you. What about rice cakes or air-popped popcorn?

How to identify foods low in calories

Our bodies evolved to operate on unprocessed plant foods. The foods that kept our ancestors slim and healthy in past generations had these things in common:
  • They were high in fiber, and fiber is found only in plant foods.

  • They were high in water content. The fiber and water together created bulk that filled us up.

  • They were low in sugar content. The sugar they did contain was wrapped up with fiber and water.

  • They were high in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.

  • They were low in fat.

  • They were whole and unprocessed.

Vegan foods with a low calorie density

The secret to our vegan weight loss plan is to eat foods with a low calorie density. To understand calorie density and make it work for you, please read our page on the calorie content of foods. After you read it, the rest of this information will make more sense to you.

When we look at the calorie density in vegan foods, it is eye-opening. We see that we can eat lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, starchy vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. They are perfect weight loss foods. We can eat these foods until we are satisfied and still lose weight.

Low Calorie Foods Calorie Density
Fresh vegetables 6 cal/oz
Mori-Nu firm lite silken tofu* 10.5 cal/oz
Fresh fruits 15 - 19 cal/oz
Regular water-pack tofu* 21.5 cal/oz
Starchy vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes 28 - 31 cal/oz
Intact whole grains (not refined or processed into baked goods) 28 - 31 cal/oz
Black olives** 32.6 cal/oz
Legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) 34 - 37 cal/oz
Whole wheat pasta 35 cal/oz

*The calorie density of tofu is low because tofu contains a lot of water. We can use moderate amounts of tofu to make dressings or dairy substitutes. However, tofu is not a whole food, and it is low in fiber. Also, half of the calories in tofu come from fat. 

**A few black olives won't affect our calorie density too much. They can add wonderful flavor to vegan dishes. They are high in sodium so don't snack on them.

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