Outside of being healthy and providing adequate micronutrients, phytonutrients, fiber, and all that nonsense (sarcasm here, if you weren't sure), vegetables are a fantastic - and necessary - part of weight loss. Read on, my friends.
Calories? What Calories?
Decreasing calorie intake is an unfortunate but necessary part of losing weight. Compared to all other foods, vegetables are really low in calories. Like, LOW. It depends on the vegetable, of course, but in 99.99999% of all cases, 1 serving of vegetables (½ cup cooked or 1 cup raw) is going to be well under 50 calories. Think of all the nutrients you get for so few calories!
Pump up the Volume
Speaking of all the nutrients you get, think of the sheer amount of food you could eat for just a few hundred calories. I DON'T MEAN REPLACE ALL YOUR MEALS WITH VEGETABLES. You would starve. And be emaciated. And feel terrible. But, a major challenge for weight loss patients is staring at a small plate of food and trying to feel content about it. Lining that plate with some leafy greens first or making half of it full of vegetables makes a huge difference in appearance. All of a sudden, your plate looks MUCH fuller and a lot less sad. Half of weight loss is tricking your brain, anyways.
Veggies are full of FIBER. Fiber is the indigestible part of plants that is important for digestion and regular bowel movements (among a bunch of other things – heart health, blood sugar regulation, cancer prevention – that we won't discuss here). So why is it good for weight loss? Because it can help make you feel FULL, and when you're low-calorie, full is good. Less cravings, less likelihood to snack, less chance you'll splurge later. Fiber will also slow digestion, meaning you'll likely be able to go longer without dreaming of your next meal.
Similar to fiber, foods with a lot of water help keep you feeling full – and veggies have lots of water. Remember- full is good when you're low-calorie!
So, if you're trying to lose weight, follow these tips! (Actually, even if you aren't trying to lose weight, follow these tips...)
Make HALF your plate vegetables at each meal or begin each meal with a nice, large salad (and not toooooo much dressing).
When choosing vegetables, use the green + 1 rule to diversify the nutrients you get. Each meal should include one green vegetable and one other color....Roasted asparagus and bell pepper. Spinach salad with tomato. Raw celery and baby carrots. You get the idea.
Snack on veggies. Every time you eat, be it a meal OR snack, make sure you include a vegetable. Easy ones to add that don't require cooking or very much prep: tomatoes, carrots, celery, bell peppers, radishes, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, spinach/salad mix.
If you're bad about eating vegetables because you have to wash and cook them, pick one or two days a week and dedicate an hour (or probably less) to doing this for all your vegetables! If you want to be successful, Just.Do.It.
Hate this advice? Love it? Got questions about it? Let me know your thoughts below!