World's 1st Carnivore App
GET 10% OFF

The Best High-Volume Low-Calorie Foods for Weight Loss

Volume eating or consuming high-volume low-calorie foods can be used as a weight loss method, especially if your digestive system is not sensitive to fruits and vegetables. The point to consider, however, is that not all fruits and vegetables are proper for volume eating. So, let’s find out what they are and what benefits and side effects volume eating can have.

The Best High-Volume Low-Calorie Foods for Weight Loss
Highlights
  • Volume eating includes consuming high amounts of high-volume low-calorie foods.
  • Different vegetables, fruits, meats, and plant-based proteins are considered high-volume low-calorie foods.
  • Volume eating can positively impact weight loss, hydration, satiety, and digestive health.
  • Lower variety, nutrient deficiency, social challenges, digestive discomfort, and overeating can be among the side effects of volume eating.

What Is Volume Eating?

Volume eating is a weight management method that involves eating big portions of low-calorie food. Numerous individuals have been following this method for years, as it can help keep calorie consumption low, which is the key to weight loss.

If you keep your overall caloric intake low, i.e., when you burn more calories than you consume, you can lose weight, no matter what diet you’re following [1] [2].

But what are the differences between high-volume and low-volume foods, and how can we know if a food is high-volume?

High-Volume vs. Low-Volume Foods

Low-volume foods are more calorie-dense, meaning a small portion of them contains high numbers of calories, which can result in weight gain.

High-fat foods like nuts, seeds, and oils, processed snacks and sweets, and 

fatty meats and cheeses are examples of high-volume foods.

However, high-volume foods contain high levels of water, fiber, protein, and nutrients (like vitamins) but low levels of calories and fat. So, eating them can be filling without adding much to the caloric intake, making them sustainable options for weight loss.

So, let’s take a look at some of the most common examples of high-volume low-calorie foods.

Learn More: The Best Dairy-Free Protein Shakes for Weight Loss and Muscle Gain

Dr. Barbara Rolls, Nutrition Researcher and Author:

"High-volume, low-calorie foods can help you feel full and satisfied while reducing overall calorie intake. Foods with high water content and fiber, like fruits and vegetables, are particularly effective."

High-Volume Low-Calorie Vegetables

  • Leafy Greens: Spinach, kale, Romaine lettuce, Swiss chard, Arugula
  • Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage
  • Water-Rich Vegetables: Cucumbers, celery, radishes, bell peppers, onions
  • Zucchini and Summer Squash
  • Tomatoes (especially cherry or grape tomatoes)
  • Asparagus
  • Green Beans
  • Lettuce Varieties: Iceberg lettuce, butterhead lettuce, red leaf lettuce
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Mushrooms

These vegetables contain varying levels of calories, fiber, sugar, carbohydrates, and protein. The table below summarizes their average nutrients in 100 grams [3] [4] [5] [6].

How-Volume Low-Calorie VegetablesCaloriesFiberSugarCarbohydratesProtein
Spinach 23 kcal 2.2 g 0.42 g 3.63 g 2.86 g
Kale 43 kcal 4.1 g 0.8 g 4.42 g 2.92 g
Romaine Lettuce 21 kcal 1 g 0.5 g 4.06 g 0.98 g
Swiss Chard 19 kcal 1.6 g 1.1 g 3.74 g 1.8 g
Arugula 25 kcal 1.6 g 2.05 g 3.65 g 2.58 g
Broccoli 39 kcal 2.4 g 1.4 g 6.27 g 2.57 g
Cauliflower 25 kcal 2 g 1.91 g 4.97 g 1.92 g
Brussels Sprouts 43 kcal 3.8 g 2.2 g 8.95 g 3.38 g
Cabbage (Green) 31 kcal 1 g 0.75 g 6.38 g 0.96 g
Zucchini (Summer Squash) 18 kcal 1.2 g 2.39 g 3.84 g 1.2 g
Tomatoes (Grape) 31 kcal 2.1 g 1 g 5.51 g 0.83 g
Asparagus 20 kcal 2.1 g 1.88 g 3.88 g 2.2 g
Green Beans 40 kcal 3 g 2.33 g 7.41 g 1.97 g
Iceberg Lettuce 17 kcal 1.5 g 1 g 3.37 g 0.74 g
Butterhead Lettuce 13 kcal 1.1 g 0.94 g 2.23 g 1.35 g
Red Leaf Lettuce 18 kcal 1 g 0.9 g 3.26 g 0.88 g
Spaghetti Squash 31 kcal 1.5 g 2.76 g 6.91 g 0.64 g
Mushrooms (Beech) 40 kcal 3.1 g 0.8 g 6.76 g 2.18 g

High-Volume Low-Calorie Fruits

  • Berries: Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries
  • Melons: Watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon
  • Citrus Fruits: Oranges, grapefruits, mandarins, clementines
  • Peaches and Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Grapes
  • Kiwi
  • Pineapple

The following table shows the average calories, fiber, sugar, carbohydrates, and protein found in 100 grams of these high-volume low-calorie fruits [7] [8] [9] [10].

Learn More: The No-Carb No-Sugar Diet: Everything You Need to Know

How-Volume Low-Calorie FruitsCaloriesFiberSugarCarbohydratesProtein
Strawberries 36 kcal 1 g 4.86 g 7.96 g 0.64 g
Blueberries 64 kcal 1.3 g 9.36 g 14.6 g 0.7 g
Raspberries 57 kcal 1.6 g 2.68 g 12.9 g 1.01 g
Blackberries 43 kcal 5.3 g 4.88 g 9.61 g 1.39 g
Watermelon 30 kcal 0.4 g 6.2 g 7.55 g 0.61 g
Cantaloupe 38 kcal 0.8 g 7.88 g 8.16 g 0.82 g
Honeydew Melon 36 kcal 0.8 g 8.12 g 9.09 g 0.54 g
Oranges 52 kcal 2 g 8.57 g 11.8 g 0.91 g
Grapefruits 37 kcal 1.2 g 7.3 g 9.09 g 0.88 g
Mandarins 53 kcal 1.8 g 10.6 g 13.3 g 0.81 g
Clementines 47 kcal 1.7 g 9.18 g 12 g 0.85 g
Peaches 46 kcal 1.5 g 8.39 g 10.1 g 0.91 g
Nectarines 43 kcal 1.5 g 7.89 g 9.42 g 1.06 g
Apples 65 kcal 2.1 g 13.3 g 15.6 g 0.15 g
Pears 63 kcal 3.1 g 9.69 g 15.1 g 0.38 g
Plums 46 kcal 1.4 g 9.92 g 11.4 g 0.7 g
Grapes (Green) 80 kcal 2.3 g 16.1 g 18.6 g 0.9 g
Kiwi 64 kcal 3 g 8.99 g 14 g 1.06 g
Pineapple 60 kcal 0.9 g 11.4 g 14.1 g 0.46 g

High-Volume Low-Calorie Meats

  • Skinless Chicken Breast
  • Turkey Breast
  • Lean Ground Turkey or Chicken
  • Fish: Most fish, such as cod, tilapia, and flounder, and fatty fish, like salmon and mackerel
  • Shrimp
  • Lean Cuts of Pork
  • Lean Beef Cuts: Sirloin or tenderloin
  • Veal: Veal loin or veal round
  • Game Meats: Venison or bison

The table below breaks down the average calories, fat, sugar, carbohydrates, and protein in 100 grams of these high-volume low-calorie meats [11] [12] [13].

Learn More: Is Steak Good for Weight Loss? The Best and Worst Cuts of Meat

How-Volume Low-Calorie MeatsCaloriesFatSugarCarbohydratesProtein
Skinless Chicken Breast 106 kcal 1.93 g 0 g 0 g 22.5 g
Turkey Breast 114 kcal 1.48 g 0.05 g 0.14 g 23.7 g
Lean Ground Turkey (93 percent) 150 kcal 8.34 g 0 g 0 g 18.7 g
Cod 82 kcal 0.67 g 0 g 0 g 17.8 g
Tilapia 96 kcal 1.7 g 0 g 0 g 20.1 g
Flounder 70 kcal 1.93 g 0 g 0 g 12.4 g
Salmon 179 kcal 10.4 g 0 g 0 g 19.9 g
Mackerel 205 kcal 13.9 g 0 g 0 g 18.6 g
Shrimp 85 kcal 0.51 g 0 g 0 g 20.1 g
Lean Cuts of Pork (Backribs) 224 kcal 16.3 g 0 g 0 g 19.1 g
Sirloin 152 kcal 7.81 g 0 g 0 g 19.1 g
Venison 116 kcal 2.66 g 0 g 0 g 21.5 g
Bison 146 kcal 7.21 g 0 g 0.05 g 20.2 g

High-Volume Low-Calorie Plant-Based Protein

  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Black Beans
  • Edamame (young soybeans)
  • Quinoa
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh: It’s a plant-based meat alternative.
  • Seitan: It is a protein-rich meat substitute made from gluten.
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Green Peas
  • Spinach

To check out the average levels of calories, fat, starch, sugar, carbohydrates, and protein in 100 grams of these high-volume low-calorie plant-based protein sources, take a look at the following table [14] [15] [16] [17].

How-Volume Low-Calorie Plant-Based ProteinCaloriesFatStarchCarbohydratesProtein
Lentils 360 kcal 1.92 g 37.1 g 62.2 g 23.6 g
Chickpeas 383 kcal 6.27 g 34.1 g 60.4 g 21.3 g
Black Beans 118 kcal 1.45 g 36.6 g 4.2 g 24.4 g
Edamame 121 kcal 5.2 g 1.51 g 8.91 g 11.9 g
Quinoa (Cooked) 120 kcal 1.92 g 17.6 g 21.3 g 4.4 g
Tofu 76 kcal 4.78 g 0 g 1.87 g 8.08 g
Tempeh 192 kcal 10.8 g 0 g 7.64 g 20.3 g
Seitan 107 kcal 0.77 g 0 g 9.52 g 17.9 g
Hemp Seeds (Hulled) 553 kcal 48.8 g 0 g 8.67 g 31.6 g
Green Peas 81 kcal 0.4 g 0 g 14.4 g 5.42 g
Spinach 28 kcal 0.6 g 0 g 2.64 g 2.91 g

So, if you need some hints to use these high-volume low-calorie ingredients in your daily meal, check out the following 3-day meal plan.

Learn More: 20 Best Zero-Calorie Drinks: Are They Healthy for Weight Loss?

High-Volume Low-Calorie 3-Day Meal Plan

The following meal plan is a sample 3-day plan to help you get started. You can change it based on your goal, needs, and preferences, but ensure it contains high-volume low-calorie foods introduced above.

Day 1

Breakfast: Greek Yogurt Parfait

  • 1 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
  • 2 tablespoons of granola

Lunch: Grilled Chicken Salad

  • 4 oz grilled chicken breast
  • Mixed salad greens (spinach, arugula, lettuce)
  • Cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, and bell peppers
  • Balsamic vinaigrette dressing

Snack: Sliced Cucumber with Hummus

  • 1 cup cucumber slices
  • 2 tablespoons hummus

Dinner: Baked Cod with Quinoa and Steamed Broccoli

  • 4 oz baked cod
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • Steamed broccoli
Dr. Lisa Young, Registered Dietitian:

"Incorporating more high-volume, low-calorie foods like leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables into your diet can help with weight management by promoting satiety and reducing the likelihood of overeating."

Day 2

Breakfast: Smoothie Bowl

  • 1 cup mixed berries
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • Toppings: sliced kiwi, shredded coconut, and a sprinkle of granola

Lunch: Lentil and Vegetable Soup

  • 1 cup lentil soup (homemade or low-sodium store-bought)
  • Mixed vegetables (carrots, celery, spinach)

Snack: Apple Slices with Almond Butter

  • 1 medium apple, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter

Dinner: Stir-Fried Tofu with Brown Rice and Mixed Vegetables

  • 4 oz tofu, stir-fried with soy sauce and vegetables (bell peppers, broccoli, snap peas)
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice

Day 3

Breakfast: Oatmeal with Berries and Nuts

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats cooked with water or almond milk
  • 1/2 cup mixed berries
  • 1 tablespoon chopped almonds

Lunch: Chickpea Salad Wrap

  • Whole-grain wrap filled with chickpeas, mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and a light vinaigrette

Snack: Carrot Sticks with Hummus

  • 1 cup carrot sticks
  • 2 tablespoons hummus

Dinner: Grilled Salmon with Quinoa and Roasted Asparagus

  • 4 oz grilled salmon
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • Roasted asparagus

So, what happens if we eat high-volume low-calorie foods?

Learn More: 15 Simple Carnivore Soup Recipes with Chicken, Beef and Pork

Dr. Joel Fuhrman:

"Eating high-nutrient, low-calorie foods allows you to consume large portions without consuming too many calories. This approach is beneficial for weight loss and overall health."

The Benefits of Volume Eating

  • Weight Loss
  • Appetite Control
  • Hydration
  • Satiety
  • Nutrients
  • Digestive Health
  • No Calorie Counting

Weight Loss

Various studies prove that eating large amounts of low-calorie foods is an effective way to lose weight, as they make you feel full without adding much to the caloric intake. A review of 13 studies on over 3500 participants showed that consuming lower calories can boost weight loss. Another survey of over 50,000 women indicated that calorie-dense foods can lead to weight loss [18] [19] [20].

Appetite Control

A 2009 study on 15 women suggested that high-volume foods can decrease hunger and control appetite [21].

Hydration

High-volume foods, like fruits and vegetables, are hydrating as they have high water content and can help avoid dehydration. A 2013 study on 442 children showed that regular consumption of vegetables and fruits can improve hydration [22].

Satiety

High-volume foods, especially those containing high amounts of fiber and water, can increase satiety and reduce overeating or snacking on calorie-dense foods [23].

High-Volume Low-Calorie Foods Are Satiating

According to a 2018 study published in Appetite, participants who consumed a diet rich in high-volume, low-calorie foods reported greater feelings of fullness and reduced calorie intake compared to those consuming a diet with more energy-dense foods.

Nutrients

High-volume foods, including fruits and vegetables, are rich sources of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants [24].

Digestive Health

The fiber content of high-volume foods, like vegetables, promotes regular bowel movements and lowers the risk of gastrointestinal diseases by positively impacting gut microbiota [25] [26].

No Calorie Counting

High-volume foods are low in calories, so you don’t have to count calories. You just need to have a general idea of your food consumption and portion sizes.

Summary

Volume eating can positively affect weight loss, appetite control, hydration, satiety, and digestive health, provide necessary nutrients, and remove the need to count calories.

What is the other side of the story? Are there any side effects to volume eating?

The Side Effects of Volume Eating

  • Lower Variety
  • Nutrient Deficiency
  • Lack of Healthy Fats
  • Social Challenges
  • Digestive Discomfort
  • Overeating

Lower Variety

Focusing on high-volume foods and avoiding other food sources lowers the variety in your diet. A 2006 study showed that a lack of variety can even decrease food consumption, which is contrary to volume eating goals [27] [28].

Nutrient Deficiency

Consuming only high-volume foods may increase the risk of nutrient deficiencies, especially if you avoid animal-based foods and miss the nutrients coming from those sources [29].

Lack of Healthy Fats

To lower the caloric intake, you need to limit your consumption of fats, which includes healthy fats found in seeds, nuts, and oils. The mono and polyunsaturated fats in these foods can help decrease inflammation and support heart health [30] [31].

Social Challenges

Volume eating can sometimes be challenging in social situations or dining out, as many social gatherings and restaurant options may not align with this dietary approach.

Digestive Discomfort

Consuming high-fiber foods in large amounts can cause digestive discomfort, including gas and bloating, abdominal pain, and malabsorption of some nutrients [32].

Overeating

Some may assume that since high-volume foods are generally low in calories, they can eat as much as they wish. That’s not true, and you need to mind portion sizes, as these foods are low-calorie, not calorie-free. So, eating high-volume foods in excess can lead to weight gain [33] [34].

Summary

Volume eating can decrease food variety, cause nutrient deficiency, social challenges, digestive discomfort, and overeating, and deprive you of consuming healthy fats.

These side effects can also be a result of common mistakes made when following diets that focus on high-volume low-calorie foods.

Common Mistakes in Volume Eating

  • Considering only the volume of the food and ignoring food variety
  • Consuming the lowest-calorie foods without considering essential nutrients
  • Avoiding healthy fats that increase satiety and provide health benefits
  • Not consulting healthcare professionals and dietitians before starting volume eating

To have a healthy experience and reach your health and fitness goals, you should consider the tips below.

How to Eat a Higher-Volume Diet?

  • Eat mindfully.
  • Use smaller plates and bowls to manage your portions effectively.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and curb hunger.
  • Make practical meal plans and stick to them.
  • Prioritize non-starchy vegetables.
  • Focus on lean protein sources like grilled chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, tempeh, beans, lentils, or low-fat dairy products.
  • Avoid high-calorie sauces and dressings.
  • Prioritize satiating foods like protein, fiber, and colorful fruits and vegetables to have a sustainable, nutritious diet.

Summary

High-volume low-calorie foods can have different benefits and some side effects. But they can positively impact weight and help you shed extra pounds if they aligns with your goals and health needs.

Before going into a new diet and making big changes to your eating habits, it’s wise to consult a healthcare professional to ensure the new journey will lead where you want.

Similar posts

Recent Recipes

Prep Time
20 mins
Servings
12

These Carnivore diet deviled eggs are among the easiest and yummiest Carnivore breakfast and brunch ideas. Click here to learn how to make these delicious eggs.

Read more
Prep Time
10 mins
Servings
2

This Carnivore chicken liver recipe gives you a yummy and high-protein dish in only 10 minutes. Click here to learn how to make this delicious and healthy meal.

Read more
Prep Time
20 mins
Servings
3

This Carnivore pork belly recipe gives you crispy cracks suitable for all meals, especially lunch and dinner. Click here to learn how to make this yummy dish.

Read more