Calories are our main source for energy, yet when we’re forced to start eating a gluten-free diet, we can face a new set of challenges where calories are concerned.
For one thing, pre-packaged foods that are gluten-free can also be very high in sugar, meaning they have a lot of “empty” calories.
Let’s take a look at how to determine the total number of calories you need each day. Then we’ll provide you with 5 gluten-free foods to base your low-calorie diet around.
The Basal Metabolic Rate: How to Calculate Your Caloric Needs
How many calories do you need each day? That is a question whose answer depends entirely on, you guessed it, you.
Use one of the following formulas to determine the total number of calories you need each day in order to maintain your current body weight:
- Adult female: 655 + (4.3 x your weight in lbs.) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years), or
- Adult male: 66 + (6.3 x body weight in lbs.) + (12.9 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)
With that figure in mind, you can add up the calories in the foods you eat and learn if you are getting enough, too few, or too many calories. Unfortunately, most of us don’t realize just how many calories we eat each day and can be pretty surprised at the amount. This is why it is helpful to have a good list of gluten-free low calorie foods.
The Best Gluten-Free Low Calorie Foods
Let’s look at the best gluten-free low calorie foods. The first is actually a tip, which you might think is obvious but is crucial to your gluten-free low calorie journey:
- Skip most pre-packaged gluten-free foods. If you are worried about empty calories from sugars or fillers, then you may want to invest in a gluten-free cookbook and start surfing the web for gluten-free recipes. Why? Because many of the gluten-free cakes, cookies, crackers, cereals, granola mixes, and packaged meals are high in fat, sugar, and sodium. In other words, gluten-free does not necessarily mean healthy.
- Eat plenty of vegetables. All vegetables are going to be low in calories, and some are almost negative calorie foods (think of those amazing kale chips you can make in the dehydrator). Beware of your starchier veggies, like potatoes or sweet potatoes, but in general you can enjoy as many veggies as you want.
- You guessed it, beans. Nutrient and protein dense, beans are never high in calories. They can induce digestive discomfort if you add too many to the diet too quickly because of their high fiber content. If you are looking for filling, tasty, and low calorie foods that are gluten-free, beans should definitely be one of your go-to’s. Beyond being low calorie, beans are one of our favorite gluten-free carbs.
- The right fruits are low calorie. Though you do have to watch the natural carbohydrate counts and sugars in fruits, gluten-free eaters can enjoy around five servings of fruit each day.
- Ancient grains are more than just low calorie. Entirely gluten-free, these are the substitutes for wheat, barley, and other grains. Most are high in nutrients and low in calories and can be used on a daily basis. Read more about our favorite gluten-free ancient grains in a previous post.
While the first point is just a tip, it can be the most important decision you make on your way to a gluten-free low calorie diet.
Beyond that, if you’re aiming to lose weight, you can check out another post on gluten-free weight loss and the role of calories.
Try making the above foods an important part of your diet, and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier and lower calorie gluten-free diet.