With all the confusion out there about what we should and shouldn’t eat, it’s no wonder we are left wondering, what CAN I eat? Good news. When it comes to health and weight management, no-one ever got fat eating too many non-starchy vegetables. Go ahead and post this one piece of advice on your fridge.
What I know from coaching loads of clients is that most know they eat too much, but they are reticent to reduce portions for fear of being left hungry and grumpy. I totally understand. But there is a simple solution. The key is to “trick the eyes to fool the stomach”.
By this I mean reduce your portion of energy dense food at each meal and simply bulk up your plate with lots of non-starchy vegetables, soups and salad. When you want your food to look like a lot, piling on the vegies works to help you feel full and satisfied. Vegies also provide invaluable vitamins, minerals, bulk and fibre for your body to function optimally as you successfully drop your excess baggage.
Unlike fruits which are carbohydrate based, non-starchy vegetables consist mainly of water, so have virtually no calories, which mean you can eat as many as you need, and still lose weight. Eating plenty of nutrient dense vegetables daily simply means that you have less room in your diet for poor quality food.
When life gets hectic, for one reason or another, it’s the humble vegetable component of our meals that tends to fall by the wayside. Meals consumed on the run or prepared during rush hour at home are often too light on vegetables. This leaves us prone to overeating more calorie dense foods like pasta, cheesy pizza, steak, fries, rice and noodles.
By simply focussing on volumizing your meals daily with vegetables, you can reduce your overall intake of energy dense foods without even noticing. Also, eating foods rich in fibre makes you feel full. And when you feel full, you eat less. Hungry? Go for it. Start chomping!
Here are 5 simple ways to enjoy more vegetables;
- Fill half your plate – try to fill at least half your plate with veggies at lunch and dinner, ensuring that half is piled high with vegetables or salad. At breakfast add mushrooms, peppers and spinach to your omelettes.
- Soup it up – make a habit to start your meal with a bowl of homemade vegetable soup. It will take the edge off your appetite and can reduce your overall calorie consumption by as much as thirty per cent.
- Cut them up immediately – if you wash and chop your vegetables and store them in an airtight container, you will be more inclined to grab some at each meal. When you get the pre-dinner munchies, snacking on crunchy vegetable spears instead of chips and salty crackers can save you hundreds of calories daily.
- Have back-ups – frozen vegetables can be just as healthy nutritionally. Canned are great too. Stock your freezer and pantry with vegetables that can be added to most dishes, such as spinach, string beans, tomatoes, artichokes and mushrooms.
- Order extra when eating out – most restaurant and fast food meals do not include enough vegetables. Always order extra vegie sides to balance out your meals nutritionally.
On the Thin for Life Program, all non-starchy vegetables are free. You can fill up on them. I also encourage you to fill up on broth and tomato based vegetable soups. So next time you want to enjoy a full plate, pile on the veggies. A heaping mound of veggies is OK any day, and you don’t have to worry about portion size!
What’s your favourite vegetable to chomp on? I’d love to hear in the comments below.