When you hear the word “cucumber,” what likely comes to mind are salads, gardens, or water pitchers at spas. But how many calories does this crispy, hydrating vegetable provide with each bite? And what are healthy ways to include cucumbers in a weight loss diet? To find out, we chatted with Destini Moody, RDN, CSSD, LD, a registered dietitian and sports dietitian with Garage Gym Reviews, and the answers aren’t as straightforward as you might think.
Cucumbers, often celebrated for their hydrating properties, make for a fantastic low-calorie addition to salads and sandwiches or simply enjoyed on their own as a refreshing snack. Additionally, cucumbers contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that boost hydration, aid digestion, and improve skin health while delivering a small number of calories. So whether you’re counting calories for weight management or looking for nutrient-dense foods to add to your diet, cucumbers are a wise choice.
Keep reading to discover how many calories are in a cucumber and how they benefit weight loss. Plus, Moody shares some expert tips for incorporating cucumbers into a healthy weight management plan.
How many calories are in a cucumber?
If you’re looking for a nutrient-dense, low-calorie snack to enjoy while losing weight, we’ve got good news: Cucumbers are incredibly low in calories, making them a guilt-free addition to your meals or snacks. According to the USDA, 100 grams of raw cucumber contains only 15 calories. This low amount is due to cucumbers being comprised of approximately 96 percent water.
Are cucumbers beneficial for weight loss?
With their satisfying crunch and low-calorie content, cucumbers make a smart choice for those looking to shed extra pounds. Plus, cucumbers contain 1 gram of fiber per 100 grams, which can increase feelings of fullness, helping control appetite and potentially reducing overall calorie intake.
“Cucumbers are made up of mostly water, meaning they can fill a lot of volume in the stomach without adding a ton of calories,” Moody explains. “The stomach recognizes how much is inside of it, not how many calories it contains, so eating high-volume, low-calorie foods is an excellent way to lose weight.”
Here are some healthy ways to enjoy cucumbers for weight loss.
Cucumbers are a delicious, nutritious, and versatile option for weight loss. Here are three tips to reap the weight loss benefits of cucumbers, according to Moody.
1. Combine cucumbers with high-protein dips.
Elevate the nutritional profile of your cucumbers by pairing them with high-protein dips like Greek yogurt-based tzatziki or hummus to create a satisfying and protein-packed snack. The combination of crisp cucumber slices and protein-rich dips will add variety and promote satiety, making it a healthy choice for those aiming to incorporate more nutrients into their weight loss journey.
“Mix some ranch seasoning or garlic powder into some plain Greek nonfat yogurt and use it as a dip for raw cucumber slices. The protein in the yogurt will promote satiety, or a feeling of fullness, to make for a refreshing, satisfying snack,” says Moody.
2. Add cucumbers to salads.
Moody says, “Whether you chop them up and put them on top of a kale salad or mix it with some lemon, lentils, tomatoes, and feta for a vegetarian salad packed with plant protein, cucumbers can go a long way in adding more bulk to your lunch.”
Cucumbers will add a delightful texture to most salads while increasing their hydration and nutritional profile. Whether it’s a classic garden salad or a more adventurous mix, cucumbers are a versatile and low-calorie addition that can take your salad to the next level while keeping your calories in check.
3. Snack on them while cooking.
Combat mindless snacking while cooking by keeping a bowl of cucumber slices handy. Their satisfying crunch and high water content make them an ideal snack to curb hunger while you prepare meals. This supports your weight loss goals by minimizing the temptation for less healthy options and helps ensure you stay hydrated and nourished while cooking.
“Losing patience while waiting for dinner to cook? Make yourself a little snack bowl of cucumber pieces to keep your hunger at bay until dinner is served. It’ll keep you from picking at your meal-yet-to-be-made, and you’ll get a good dose of vitamin K while you wait,” says Moody.