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If you’ve tried to lose weight before, you are probably familiar with the hunger that comes with it. Especially if you are used to larger portions. Well have you heard that there are some foods that you can eat unlimited amounts of and still be able to lose weight?

What are these foods? Can you really eat as much as you want? Is this just a myth or could this be the secret to staying full and satisfied while losing weight? Let’s find out!

What are “free” foods?

The term “free” food refers to those that are very low in calories per serve. Generally, less than 25 calories per serve. It is extremely unlikely that a portion of one of these foods is going to affect your weight loss in any way, and therefore can be classified as “free.”

If you were to eat 10 portions of this, however, that’s 250 calories. A much more substantial amount of energy you are taking in. On the other hand choosing 1-2 of these free food extras in a day is a pretty safe way to fill your stomach a little more without affecting your weight loss.

If however you choose a food that’s very low in calories- for example lettuce, at 4 calories per cup- if you have 7 cups of it you will still be getting in less than 25 calories. While this isn’t technically “unlimited” it would be challenging for most of us to eat more than 7 cups of lettuce in one sitting.

Examples of “free” foods

The following are the portions of some foods that equal 25 calories…

5 celery stalks

7 cups lettuce

1 3/4 cups cucumber

1 medium tomato

20 snow peas

7 asparagus spears

1 1/4 cups bean sprouts

125g bok choy

4 broccoli florets

120g green beans

1 carrot

3/4 cup mushrooms

1 medium onion

1 1/4 cups zucchini

1 1/2 cups cabbage

6 florets cauliflower

375g sugar free jelly

1 cup air popped popcorn (nothing added)

150g pickles

1 cup sauerkraut

300ml chicken stock

10 cups herbal tea

1.5 cups instant coffee with a dash of skim milk

To bulk up meals and snacks

As an alternative to just including these as extras in your day, you can choose to have larger portions of “free” foods as a replacement for a smaller portion of a higher calorie food. For example 1 cup of cooked rice is around 250 calories. Substituting with 1 cup of cauliflower rice (roughly blended lightly cooked cauliflower) comes in at just 40 calories for a cup, so you could get away with a much larger portion on your plate.

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