How Do I Choose the Best Low Calorie Fruits?

Henry Gaudet

Choosing low calorie fruits begins with selecting fresh produce. Canned fruits are often packed in sugary syrups, dramatically raising their calorie content. Dried fruits pack a lot of sugar in a small space, making them a poor low calorie option. Selecting sensible portions of fresh, low calorie fruits such as blackberries, cranberries, apricots and watermelon will help to keep your calorie count under control.

Cantaloupe is low in calories.
Cantaloupe is low in calories.

When you are looking for low calorie fruits, some fresh fruits are better than others. Apricots, strawberries, grapefruit, apples, blackberries and watermelon each have less than 30 calories per portion. Even the fresh fruits with the most calories, such as bananas, oranges, pineapples and cherries, contain less than 70 calories per serving.

A watermelon has fewer than 30 calories per portion.
A watermelon has fewer than 30 calories per portion.

Many people assume that all fruits are low in calories, and it is true that choosing a fruit is a healthier option than other sweet snacks and desserts. This, however, has more to do with nutritional value than calorie content. For instance, a half-cup (about 120-ml) portion of raisins contains 217 calories, similar to the amount found in many candy bars.

One medium-sized fruit like an apple or orange is a single serving.
One medium-sized fruit like an apple or orange is a single serving.

All dried fruits suffer from this problem to some degree. Water provides much of the mass found in fresh fruits, meaning that it takes much more fruit to make a portion. That 217-calorie portion of raisins has the same volume as a half-cup (about 120 ml) of grapes, which contains only 31 calories. The calorie content of each grape has not changed, but the first cup contains seven raisins for each grape. Fresh produce will always be your best option for selecting low calorie fruits.

Fresh produce tends to have less calories than canned fruits and vegetables.
Fresh produce tends to have less calories than canned fruits and vegetables.

Canned fruits, with their easy storage and long shelf life, are an attractive option, allowing you to enjoy fruits out of season, but these are rarely low calorie fruits. Many fruits are packed in high-fructose corn syrup, increasing their calorie count. Even fruits packed in fruit juice might be considerably higher in calories, a result of the juice concentrate typically used. When you are considering canned fruits, look closely at the label and the calorie count listed.

It also is important to remember portion control when considering low calorie fruits. Watermelon and cantaloupe are low calorie fruits, but that does not mean that you can eat whole melons and expect to lose weight. Generally speaking, one portion measures about half of a cup (about 120 ml). A single medium-sized fruit, such as an apple or orange, is a single serving.

Strawberries are considered a low-calorie fruit.
Strawberries are considered a low-calorie fruit.

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