Guilt-Free Foods

Eat as much of these foods as you want!

Lemon-Garlic Green Beans Recipe

Lemon-Garlic Green Beans

The foods on this page are considered "free foods" because they are basically non-starchy vegetables that won't add up to much as far as calories go. Typically, a "free food" is a food or drink that has less than 20 calories and 5 or less grams of carbohydrate per serving.

So they're perfect for rounding out (or starting) a meal to help fill you up. Bonus: They're mostly vegetables, which have lots of nutritional value and a satisfying crunch. Make a big salad, put lots of veggies on your sandwiches or fill up your dinner plate with a large side of cooked vegetables.

"Free Foods with Restricted Portions," below, are listed with a portion size. That's because you can have a serving of these foods and not count the calories, but if you ate an unlimited quantity, they would start to rack up the calories.

Eat All You Want

  • Artichoke
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Asparagus
  • Baby corn
  • Bamboo shoots
  • Bean sprouts
  • Beans (green, wax, Italian)
  • Broccoli
  • Broth or bouillon
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Green onions or scallions
  • Greens (collard, kale, mustard, turnip)
  • Hearts of palm
  • Herbs (fresh or dried)
  • Horseradish
  • Hot pepper sauce
  • Jicama
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Lemon juice
  • Mixed vegetables (without corn, peas or pasta)
  • Mushrooms (fresh)
  • Mustard
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Pea pods
  • Pickles
  • Pimento
  • Bell peppers
  • Radishes
  • Rutabaga
  • Salad greens (lettuce, romaine, chicory, endive, escarole, arugula, radicchio, watercress)
  • Spices
  • Spinach
  • Squash (summer, crookneck, zucchini)
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Swiss chard
  • Tomato (fresh or canned)
  • Turnips
  • Vinegar
  • Watch chestnuts
  • Wine (used in cooking)
  • Worcestershire sauce


Free Food Beverages—Drink as Much as You Want

  • Carbonated or mineral water
  • Club soda
  • Coffee (unsweetened or with sugar substitute)
  • Diet soft drinks
  • Drink mixes (sugar-free)
  • Flavored water (20 calories or less)
  • Tea (unsweetened or with sugar substitute)
  • Tonic water (diet)
  • Water


Free Foods with Restricted Portions

  • Barbecue sauce, 1 tablespoon
  • Cream cheese (fat-free), 1 tablespoon (1/2 ounce)
  • Creamer:
    Nondairy, liquid, 1 tablespoon
    Nondairy, powdered, 2 teaspoons
  • Honey mustard, 1 tablespoon
  • Jam or jelly (light or no-sugar added), 1 tablespoon
  • Ketchup, 1 tablespoon
  • Margarine spread:
    Fat-free, 1 tablespoon
    Reduced-fat, 1 teaspoon
  • Mayonnaise:
    Fat-free, 1 tablespoon
    Reduced-fat, 1 teaspoon
  • Parmesan cheese (freshly grated), 1 tablespoon
  • Pickle relish, 1 tablespoon
  • Salad dressing:
    Fat-free or low-fat, 1 tablespoon
    Fat-free Italian, 2 tablespoons
  • Salsa, 1/4 cup
  • Sour cream:
    Fat-free, 2 tablespoons
    Reduced-fat, 1 tablespoon
  • Sweet and sour sauce, 2 teaspoons
  • Sweet chili sauce, 1 tablespoon
  • Syrup (sugar-free), 2 tablespoons
  • Taco sauce, 1 tablespoon
  • Whipped topping:
    Light or fat-free, 2 tablespoons
    Regular, 1 tablespoon