5 Zero-Calorie Foods that are Perfect for Meal Prepping

5 Zero-Calorie Foods that are Perfect for Meal Prepping

When it comes to dieting, meal prepping and zero-calorie foods go hand in hand. That is why we put together a short guide to help you find the perfect ingredients for your meal prep.

For a food to be considered “zero calorie,” it should have fewer calories than it takes for the body to process it. That means that it does not necessarily have zero calories, it just means the net effect of you consuming and digesting the calories will be zero (or less).

Let’s take a look at some of our favorite picks:

1. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a fantastic ingredient in almost any meal. There are a variety of mushrooms available, with white mushroom being the most popular type in the U.S. They are versatile: you can cook mushrooms into the main course, as a side, or even make it part of your sauce. However you choose to cook your mushrooms, they are a perfect, zero-calorie food for meal prepping.

Shelf Life: The great thing about mushrooms is they last about just as long cooked as they do fresh. Typically, you can keep cooked mushrooms refrigerated for 7-10 days.

Calories: 1 cup of cooked mushrooms contains roughly 77 calories.

2. Celery

Celery is mostly water so it is no surprise that it is among one of the best zero-calorie foods.

Shelf Life: Uncooked celery has a shelf life of 4 weeks, giving you plenty of time to put it in your meal prep containers and take to work with you when you need a clean, healthy snack. Cooked celery can last up to a full week so you will not have any problems using it in your prepped meals.

Calories: 1 stalk of celery has 6 Calories.

3. Grapefruit

For the days when you just have to have something sweet but also want to watch your weight, consider grapefruit as your go-to zero-calorie side. Grapefruit is an excellent source of Vitamin C and fiber and is known to help your body improve its metabolism.

Shelf Life: A whole, uncut grapefruit can last 2-3 weeks if refrigerated. However, for most people, a half of a grapefruit is enough (and it fits nicely in meal prep containers). You can store cut grapefruit for 4-5 days in the refrigerator, which means you will have plenty of time to eat it after you have meal prepped.

Calories: ½ of a grapefruit contains 52 Calories.

4. Cabbage

Cabbage is a fantastic example of a zero-calorie food that also delivers many other essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs. It is packed with potassium, Vitamin C, and fiber.

Shelf Life: Cooked cabbage has a shelf life of 5 days, making it the perfect ingredient for meal prepping before the beginning of the work week. Uncooked cabbage has an even longer shelf life of 3-4 weeks and makes for a perfect ingredient in a salad.

Calories: 7 Calories per Ounce. 56 Calories per 1 Cup.

5. Quaker Rice Cakes

Rice cakes are made with baked brown rice and coated with your choice of flavor. They are sweet, light, and, best of all, low on calories. You can eat them by themselves or find creative, diet-friendly ways to top them for even more flavor.

Shelf Life: Rice cakes are good for 2-3 months, giving you plenty of time to include them in the meals that you prep.

Calories: 1 rice cake contains 50 Calories.


Final Thoughts

We have put together this list of our favorite zero-calorie foods so that it can help guide you in your meal prepping (and dieting) adventures. If you are unsure how to begin your meal prep adventure, be sure to read our beginner’s guide to meal prep.

Have you been meal prepping for a while? Did we leave out your favorite ingredient? Share your thoughts and experiences below.

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