Eat your vegetables. Mother told you, you hear it from doctors, professionals, and in magazines. Are you doing it?
For many people, the struggle of eating vegetables seems to be an endless battle.
When we omit vegetables from our diets, clearly we are missing out on key vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help with our health and aging.
In addition to this, lack of vegetables often causes weight gain or diseases such as diabetes. The reason for this is when we skip vegetables we often replace them with less nutritious food items – typically refined flour, sugar and starchy carbohydrates (AKA HIGH SUGAR FOODS).
For example, imagine going to an Italian restaurant and ordering a pasta dish. Back in the day my pick would have been Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo. If you were to request a side steamed vegetable medley and starter salad, could you finish that entire bowl of pasta? Without those two vegetable additions, you likely wouldn’t feel satisfied with a smaller portion of pasta and it would be difficult to leave any behind. The bread basket also begins to tempt you.
The overload of carbohydrates would cause your insulin to spike, therefore your fat storage switch will turn ON.
As you can see, it’s all about balance. You don’t have to give up your favourite foods – adding vegetables just allows you to naturally eat more balanced.
If you are like me and enjoy food without being shy with the portions, vegetables are a great way to add volume to your plate and fullness to your stomach – without packing on the pounds.
Vegetables are full of fibrous nutrients that take time to digest and will stick with you longer, keeping you satisfied. This also turns that fat burning switch ON.
An easy rule to follow is try to get something green on your plate at every meal. Green coloured vegetables are typically always very low in carbohydrates. By eating these, this ensures you are eating a vegetable with a lower amount of sugar, allowing you to still have another portion of a starchy carbohydrate such as rice, pasta, quinoa, fruit or a baked potato.
Some examples of green vegetables include: broccoli, green beans, celery, cucumber, zucchini, spinach, green pepper, kale, chard, parsley, arugula, sprouts, cabbage and many forms of lettuce.
Here are two meal examples that demonstrate how to construct your plate:
GREEN-Garden Salad and Steamed Broccoli
GREEN-Spinach and Cucumber Salad with Olive Oil
RED-Turkey Burger without the bun
ORANGE-Baked Potato Wedges
This is a balanced plate including all main macronutrients, with plenty of vegetables to fill you up and nourish you! Often, I see individuals with ORANGE making up 75% of their plate which can promote weight gain and diseases.
We hear all of these words: organic, local, farm grown, genetically modified, grown in California/Mexico.
Remember that ANY VEGETABLE IS BETTER THAN NO VEGETABLE. Avoid that all-or-nothing mentality where, if you can’t get the best of the best, you don’t do it at all.
Get some green on your plate today!