“Stop before your tummy is full!”

You’ve probably heard this golden diet mantra countless times and followed it too. But it gets annoying to always feel dissatisfied at the end of a meal. Wouldn’t it be nice to, sometimes, to stuff yourself till you can’t eat anymore, that too without any guilt?

You can, if you snack on ‘zero calorie’ or ‘negative calorie’ foods. They are foods which contain some calories, but such a small number that the energy spent eating or digesting them nullifies the calories consumed.

So, go ahead and binge on:

Celery
Around 75% of a celery stick is water and the rest comprises fiber which helps you feel full for long. A 100-gram serving contains merely 16 calories and delivers a good dose of vitamin C, A and K as well as antioxidants, too. So, enjoy celery sticks with a dash of salt or rustle up a fat-free dip to go with them.

Cucumber
With just 16 calories in a 100-gram serving, cucumber is the best snack for weight watchers. It works well as a salad, cold soup or even a smoothie. Cucumbers consist of 95% water and are therefore one of the most hydrating foods available, perfect for hot summer days. It also contains an anti-inflammatory flavonol called ‘fisetin’ which plays an important role in brain health.

Mushrooms
Be it as a stir-fry, pizza topping or a soup, mushrooms add life to any dish. The best part: one cup of mushrooms has just 15 calories. They contain a substantial amount of vitamin D which helps in absorption of the calcium in that pizza cheese. They are also loaded with B vitamins which improves mood and gives an energy boost that lasts for hours.

Cabbage
Whether you have it as a sabzi or a soup, you can rest assured that cabbage has given you hardly any additional calories – a 100-gram portion contains 25 calories. The bonus: the leafy green contains essential vitamins, folate, manganese and also boasts of anti-cancer properties.

Zucchini
Load up your pasta with zucchini slices to drastically bring down the fat quotient. A 100-gram portion of this cucumber-lookalike has barely 17 calories. Zucchini boasts of a high content of omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, niacin and various essential vitamins.

Spinach
Popeye had made a smart choice. This leafy green is both nutritious and filling. Latest research has found that spinach contains a compound, thylakoid, which can slow fat digestion, reducing hunger and food cravings, especially in men. Thylakoid also triggers release of satiety hormones so you feel a sense of fulfillment after your meal.

Tomatoes
This tangy treat is touted to be among the ‘healthiest foods available’ and contains just 17 calories per 100 grams. Tomatoes contain lycopene which can help prevent cancer and heart disease. Try a bruschetta made with whole wheat toast and loads of tomato the next time you are hungry.

Watermelon
This is one sweet treat that you can enjoy without worry as it has just 30 calories per 100 grams. Apart from its refreshing taste, watermelon also contains antioxidants and boosts metabolism.

Papaya
Papaya has more calories than other foods on this list — 43 per 100 gram serving — but it is so filling that you will undoubtedly eat less during your next meal. The tasty fruit is packed with vitamin C and anti-oxidants including beta-cryptoxanthin which reduces the risk of polyarthritis, a condition which affects several joints at once.

Green tea
End you low-calorie meal by enjoying a cuppa green tea. The zero-calorie drink has a thermogenic effect — it raises the body temperature, improving the metabolic rate and helping one burn calories faster. Plus, it is loaded with antioxidants.

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