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Filler Foods

Filler food refers to any low energy-dense food that has a large volume but not many calories. Eating lower calorie foods that fill you up can help you cut your calories and control your hunger at the same time. Adding more filler foods to your diet while reducing energy-dense foods can help you reach and keep a healthy body weight. Filler foods are primarily whole foods. Processed foods can be filler foods too, as long as no sugars or fats are added. Water is a filler food, but does not fit below in any category.

Here are the major groups of filler food:

 

Vegetables

Any vegetable that is raw or steamed, and does not have added sugar or fat, makes the cut as a filler food.

Spinach is a lower calorie filler food.
Spinachadd to food log
1 cup = 5-40 calories
Cucumber is a lower calorie filler food.
Cucumberadd to food log
1 cup = 15-20 calories
Celery is a lower calorie filler food.
Celeryadd to food log
1 cup = 15-20 calories
Sweet peppers are a lower calorie filler food.
Sweet peppersadd to food log
1 cup = 15-40 calories
Mushrooms are a lower calorie filler food.
Mushroomsadd to food log
1 cup = 20-45 calories
Broccoli and cauliflower are lower calorie filler foods.
Cruciferous Vegetablesadd to food log
1 cup = 20-45 calories
Tomatoes are a lower calorie filler food.
Tomatoadd to food log
1 cup = 30-35 calories
Kale is a lower calorie filler food.
Kaleadd to food log
1 cup = 35-40 calories
Squash is a lower calorie filler food.
Squashadd to food log
1 cup = 40-80 calories
Carrots are a lower calorie filler food.
Carrotsadd to food log
1 cup = 50-55 calories
Artichokes are a lower calorie filler food.
Artichokesadd to food log
1 small = 50-60 calories
Beets are a lower calorie filler food.
Beetsadd to food log
1 cup = 55-75 calories

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Fruit

Any raw fresh fruit is a filler food, with the exception of avocados and olives. Dried fruit, fruits canned with added sugar, and fruit juice are not included.

Berries are lower calorie filler foods.
Berriesadd to food log
1 cup = 45-85 calories
Melons are lower calorie filler foods.
Melonsadd to food log
1 cup = 45-65 calories
Peaches and nectarines are lower calorie filler foods.
Peachesadd to food log
1 medium = 60-65 calories
Citrus fruits are lower calorie filler foods
Citrus Fruitsadd to food log
1 medium = 60-85 calories
Tropical fruits are lower calorie filler foods.
Tropical Fruitsadd to food log
1 cup = 60-85 calories
Kiwi fruit is a lower calorie filler food.
Kiwiadd to food log
2 medium = 80-85 calories
Apples are a lower calorie filler food.
Applesadd to food log
1 medium = 90-100 calories
Cherries are a lower calorie filler food.
Cherriesadd to food log
1 cup = 90-100 calories
Pears are a lower calorie filler food.
Pearsadd to food log
1 medium = 100-105 calories
Grapes are a lower calorie filler food.
Grapesadd to food log
1 cup = 100-105 calories
Bananas are a lower calorie filler food.
Bananasadd to food log
1 medium = 100-110 calories
Figs are a lower calorie filler food.
Figsadd to food log
1 cup = 130-135 calories

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Beans and Peas

Any bean or pea is included as a filler food, as long as it is prepared without added sugar or fat.

Tofu is a lower calorie filler food.
Tofuadd to food log
3 oz = 70-80 calories
Snow peas are a lower calorie filler food.
Snow peasadd to food log
1 cup = 80-85 calories
Black-eyed peas are a lower calorie filler food.
Cowpeas (black-eyed peas)add to food log
½ cup = 95-100 calories
Edamame (soybean) is a lower calorie filler food.
Soybeans, edamameadd to food log
1 cup = 100-105 calories
Lima beans are a lower calorie filler food.
Lima beansadd to food log
½ cup = 105-110 calories
Kidney beans are a lower calorie filler food.
Kidney beansadd to food log
½ cup = 110-115 calories
Black beans are a lower calorie filler food.
Black beansadd to food log
½ cup = 110-115 calories
Split peas are a lower calorie filler food.
Split peasadd to food log
½ cup = 115-120 calories
Green peas are a lower calorie filler food.
Green peasadd to food log
1 cup = 115-120 calories
Lentils are a lower calorie filler food.
Lentilsadd to food log
½ cup = 115-120 calories
Pinto beans are a lower calorie filler food.
Pinto beansadd to food log
½ cup = 120-125 calories
Garbanzo beans are a lower calorie filler food.
Garbanzo beansadd to food log
½ cup = 130-135 calories

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Whole Grains

Whole grain products are everywhere, but not all are filler foods. Many are calorie dense due to added fat and/or sugar. Read labels and make your selections wisely. In addition, always watch your portion size. Measure out the correct portion and don't go back for seconds!

Rye wafer crackers are a lower calorie filler food.
Rye wafersadd to food log
10 thin = 65-80 calories
Whole grain rice cakes are a lower calorie filler food.
Rice cakes, whole grainadd to food log
10 small or 2 large = 65-80 calories
Oat bran is a lower calorie filler food.
Oat branadd to food log
1 cup = 90-100 calories
Baked corn tortilla chips are a lower calorie filler food.
Tortilla chips, bakedadd to food log
10 chips = 110-115 calories
Air-popped popcorn with no added oil or butter is a lower calorie filler food.
Popcorn, no butter/oil add to food log
4 cups = 115-120 calories
Hominy is a lower calorie filler food.
Hominyadd to food log
1 cup = 115-120 calories
Buckwheat (soba) noodles are a lower calorie filler food.
Buckwheat noodles (soba)add to food log
1 cup = 130-135 calories
Kasha is a lower calorie filler food.
Kashaadd to food log
1 cup = 150-160 calories
Tabbouleh (bulgar) salad is a lower calorie filler food.
Tabbouleh (bulgar) saladadd to food log
1 cup = 155-160 calories
Barley is a lower calorie filler food.
Barleyadd to food log
1 cup = 190-195 calories
Steel cut oatmeal is a lower calorie filler food.
Oatmeal, steel cutadd to food log
1 cup = 200-205 calories
Quinoa is a lower calorie filler food.
Quinoaadd to food log
1 cup = 225-230

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Fish and Seafood

Any fresh fish or seafood is a filler food. Canned varieties are okay too, as long as they are not packed in oil. Wild caught or sustainably-raised fish usually contain less calories and more of the healthy fat omega-3 than their farmed counterparts.

Oysters are a lower calorie filler food.
Oystersadd to food log
3 oz = 60-90 calories
Smoked salmon is a lower calorie filler food.
Salmon, smokedadd to food log
2 oz = 70-120 calories
Sole is a lower calorie filler food.
Soleadd to food log
3 oz = 70-75 calories
Cod is a lower calorie filler food.
Codadd to food log
3 oz = 70-90 calories
Canned tuna is a lower calorie filler food.
Tuna, canned in wateradd to food log
½ can = 75 calories
Scallops are a lower calorie filler food.
Scallopsadd to food log
3 oz = 90-95 calories
Sea bass is a lower calorie filler food.
Sea bassadd to food log
3 oz = 105-125 calories
Salmon is a lower calorie filler food.
Salmonadd to food log
3 oz = 115-160 calories
Clams are a lower calorie filler food.
Clamsadd to food log
3 oz = 120-125 calories
Tuna is a lower calorie filler food.
Tunaadd to food log
3 oz = 125-160 calories
Trout is a lower calorie filler food.
Troutadd to food log
3 oz = 125-165 calories
Swordfish is a lower calorie filler food.
Swordfishadd to food log
3 oz = 145-150 calories

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Lean Meats

Lean meats are a filler food as long as you make sure they meet the ‘lean’ definition. Processed meats are not included. Grass-fed beef is leaner and contains more of the healthy fat omega-3 than grain-fed beef. The cuts listed below are safe bets. Look for the lowest fat percentage, trim any visible fat, and remove skin before eating.

Turkey breast (unprocessed) is a lower calorie filler food.
Turkey breastadd to food log
3 oz = 115-120 calories
Lean pork roast tenderloin is a lower calorie filler food.
Pork, roast tenderloinadd to food log
3 oz = 120-125 calories
Chicken breast is a lower calorie filler food.
Chicken breastadd to food log
3 oz = 145-150 calories
Lean beef steak, round or loin, is a lower calorie filler food.
Beef, round or loinadd to food log
3 oz = 165-175 calories
   

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Dairy and Dairy Alternatives

Some nonfat dairy and dairy alternatives are filler foods. Stick to the list below and if you must sway, aim for foods that are similar in calories and portion size.

Egg whites are a lower calorie filler food.
Egg, white onlyadd to food log
1 jumbo = 20-25 calories
Almond cheese (cheese substitute) is a lower calorie filler food.
Cheese alternative, almondadd to food log
1 oz = 50 calories
Nonfat cottage cheese is a lower calorie filler food.
Cottage cheese, nonfatadd to food log
½ cup = 76 calories
Nonfat ricotta cheese is a lower calorie filler food.
Ricotta cheese, nonfatadd to food log
½ cup = 82 calories
Nonfat milk is a lower calorie filler food.
Milk, nonfatadd to food log
1 cup = 83 calories
Unsweetened soy milk is a lower calorie filler food
Soy milk, unsweetenedadd to food log
1 cup = 88 calories
Nonfat sour cream is a lower calorie filler food.
Sour cream, nonfatadd to food log
½ cup = 91 calories
Nonfat plain yogurt is a lower calorie filler food.
Yogurt, plain, nonfat add to food log
1 cup = 137 calories
 

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