Some More Great Reasons to Eat your Veggies!

18 06 2013
Cathy Shaw

Cathy Shaw

Your mother always told you to eat your vegetables, and she was right! Vegetables have countless benefits, but have you ever considered them to be a part of your weight control arsenal? Here are some reasons why you should:

Vegetables are “nutrient rich” which means they contain loads of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber and water for very few calories. When trying to lose weight, choosing fiber and water rich foods can curb your hunger, fill you up, and decrease your intake of more “energy dense” (high calorie) foods.

Tips: Eating a salad of fresh greens, vegetables and low cal salad dressing before a meal can decrease overall meal intake by up to 12%. Also, keeping veggies around to snack on can get you through a hunger craving without breaking your calorie bank (1 cup of red pepper strips contains less than 50 calories!)

Eating vegetables can slow you down. Due to the “chewability” factor of fibrous foods, you tend to take more time to taste and savor meals that contain more vegetables. This allows your body time to understand that it is full. The fiber content of vegetables can also help you feel satisfied longer while eating fewer calories.

Tip: Cover at least ¼ of your plate with a vegetable such as carrots- 1 cup has 4.6g of fiber (13-18% of your daily recommended fiber intake) and 532% of the daily value for Vitamin A in just 54 calories!

They ramp up your recipes! Some vegetables just go hand in hand with your favorite recipes. Adding vegetables to your favorite dishes can decrease the overall calorie content per serving, enhance flavor and boost nutrient value.

Tip: When making tacos, add diced onion, red and green peppers, jalapenos and mushrooms to your lean ground beef. This will add great flavor and volume, while cutting the fat and calories per serving.

Veggies give our plates curb appeal! Having varied colors on the plate is one of the culinary golden rules of meal presentation. Our plates naturally look more appetizing with lots of color. Fortunately, those colors also carry meaning- the bright colors of vegetables are indicators of nutrients that help keep us healthy and active. Maintaining our health and being physically active are the most important pillars of any weight management effort.

Tip: Have a household contest! See how many different colors of the rainbow you can include on your plate using vegetables and fruits. And guess what? Everyone’s a winner in this contest- you can’t go wrong with fruits and veggies!

As you can see, vegetables can be a great tool to help us decrease calorie intake, increase nutrient intake and help us feel satisfied. They really are an essential part of building a healthy plate. How will you build yours today?  For more great tips on veggies and creating your plate, go to www.choosemyplate.gov.

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