Low-Kilojoule Foods

Before putting together a low kilojoule diet plan for yourself, you first need to know more about making healthy food choices – which foods within each group are low-kilojoule, healthy choices, and which are not.

How to choose low-kilojoule foods

To help you, we’ve put together a list of low calorie foods for you to choose from, so that you can start learning which foods are best for your low-kilojoule diet, and which foods are best to avoid.

Low-kilojoule food list

Choose from this list of low-kilojoule foods often and fill your meals with good, healthy, satisfying ingredients.

Low kilojoule meat and protein:

  • Skinless chicken breast, turkey, ham
  • Oysters, mussels, calamari, crab, lobster, crayfish
  • Ostrich, veal, venison, extra-lean mince
  • White fish: kingklip, hake, kabeljou, sole
  • Fat-free/low-fat cottage cheese, ricotta
  • Beans, peas, lentils, tofu (use canned or frozen rather than dried)

Low kilojoule vegetables:

  • Asparagus, artichokes
  • Broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cabbage
  • Spinach, lettuce, cucumber, sprouts
  • Spring onions, leeks
  • Mange touts, sugar snap peas
  • Peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, onions
  • Aubergine, green beans, gem squash, zucchini

Medium kilojoule foods

These types of foods can be enjoyed on a low-kilojoule eating plan, but make sure not to consume them more than three times a week, in order to ensure optimum weight loss.

Medium kilojoule meat and protein:

  • Sardines, snoek, tuna, yellowtail
  • Trimmed red meat: pork, beef, lamb, fillet steak
  • Liver
  • Eggs
  • Mackerel, herring, salmon
  • Low-fat feta, mozzarella, camembert
  • Hummus
  • Biltong

High kilojoule foods

Try and avoid these foods as much as possible unless you are trying to bulk up or put on weight. If you are trying to lose weight and must have them, make them a very occasional treat, rather than an everyday indulgence.

High kilojoule meat and protein:

  • Sirloin or rump steak
  • Spareribs
  • Duck
  • Salami, sausages, boerewors
  • Full fat cheeses

Carbohydrates, Dairy, Fruit and Fats

When it comes to carbohydrates and fats, making good choices becomes a little more tricky. Fats are obviously high in kilojoules, but can be very beneficial to your health. Good fats, in small, controlled portions can therefore be an essential part of a healthy diet.

Carbohydrates, on the other hand, aren’t necessarily high in kilojoules, but can leave you feeling sluggish, bloated and heavy, if your portions are too big. For this reason, and other reasons such as food intolerances, some people actually choose to eliminate carbohydrates from their diets altogether. If you want to include carbohydrates as part of your kilojoule-controlled eating plan, remember to always watch your portion sizes and avoid refined, processed foods as far as possible.


Should you wish to incorporate carbohydrates as part of your low-kilojoule eating plan, these are some of the better choices to make.


  • Rice (choose brown or basmati rather than white)
  • Pasta (choose wholewheat rather than regular)
  • Quinoa
  • Couscous
  • Bread (choose low GI or rye)

Starchy vegetables:

  • Potato, sweet potato
  • Mealies, sweetcorn
  • Peas, butternut, carrots, pumpkin


  • Oat porridge
  • Bran, high fibre bran
  • Low-fat muesli


  • Crackerbreads
  • Provita
  • Ryvita
  • Water biscuits

Dairy (choose low-fat or fat-free options):

  • Milk
  • Yoghurt


  • Fresh fruit (high in sugar; eat a portion the size of your fist 2 – 3 times a day)
  • Dried fruit (very high in sugar – eat sparingly)


Healthy fats (high in fat, but healthy):

  • Olive oil, canola oils
  • Peanut butter
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Avocado
  • Olives

Unhealthy fats (high in fat and unhealthy):

  • Butter, mayonnaise
  • Salad creams and dressings
  • Cream and sour cream
  • Bacon

Lowest kilojoule alcohol

Remember to watch what you drink too. Champagne (sparkling wine) has less kilojoules than wine – each glass is packed with kilojoules. Beer and cider such as Savanna are full of kilojoules and carbohydrates, while spirits such as whiskey make a good low calorie alcoholic drink because of their small quantities, if you choose the right mixer. Read the detailed information on kilojoules in alcohol, or view the kilojoules in alcohol chart.

Remember that all the information detailed here serves as a guideline for healthy eating and weight loss. Please ensure to always visit a doctor, dietician or other qualified individual before changing your diet and exercise routine. For more information, please refer to our site disclaimer.