There’s no question about it: eating more vegetables and incorporating them into your diet can play an essential role in weight loss.
The premise is simple: the more vegetables you eat, the more pounds you will drop. Eating vegetables keeps you fuller for much longer and will reduce the space that high-glycemic index foods and their high-calorie counterparts would have otherwise taken.
You’ll probably end up eating more calories by eating calorie- and sugar-dense foods, since they tend to exacerbate your hunger rather than satiate it.
In studies conducted at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, it was found that individuals who consumed high-fiber, low-carb fruits and vegetables lost more weight compared to individuals who ate more starchy carbohydrates like potatoes and peas, who gained more. Moreover, a review of over 20 studies published in the Nutrition Reviews journal determined that an increase in dietary fiber intake (+14g) sourced from fruits and vegetables led to an average weight loss of 4 pounds in four months.
The question is: are you getting enough vegetables? Going by the stats from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) America, only one in ten Americans actually do. That’s an abysmal proportion of people who don’t eat nearly enough vegetables. The recommended consumption for vegetables is up to two to three cups daily to absorb all the good stuff such as fiber, potassium, and a bevy of vitamins and minerals that keep your body firing on all cylinders.
But despite all the good stuff that vegetables bring to the table, many people opt for refined sugars and processed carbs over fresh fruit and veg because they never liked their taste in the first place. But if you wish to lose weight by eating more vegetables, read on for our list of the six best hacks.
1) Ditch the prep time, eat vegetables raw
Raw, bite-sized cuts of crisp vegetables are a fantastic snack that crowds out space that would have otherwise gone to French fries, pretzels, or Doritos. Vegetables are easy to prepare as snacks and keep well in the fridge while you’re on the go. Carrot and celery sticks, turnips, and delightful cherry tomatoes will keep the hunger pangs away and get you to your recommended daily consumption of veg without taking too much time and bother.
2) buy frozen rather than fresh vegetables
Buying fresh vegetables all the time can cost a pretty penny after a while. One of the hacks you can employ to save money is buying frozen vegetables in bulk quantities or purchasing fresh produce on sale. For instance, vegetables like lettuce and cabbage are affordable, keep long, and available year-round. Buying frozen vegetables in bulk doesn’t only save you money, but they can make prep a breeze. Best of all, the nutrients in frozen vegetables are just as good as the ones in fresh produce.
3) It takes time for the body to adapt to increased fiber intake
You might find yourself gassier when eating more vegetables. However, gas production is a sign that your gut bacteria are working as they should be, breaking down the vegetable fibers for better nutrient absorption. But as the vegetable fibers ferment, CO2 is produced, leading to gassy farts. That’s nothing to be worried about–as the body gets used to the fibers found in vegetables, it will become more adept in regulating gas. Give your gut the love it deserves and eat more vegetables.
4) Your taste buds will get used to veggies the more you eat them
As you eat more vegetables–which, in theory, may supersede high-calorie, high-sugar, and refined food intake–you might begin to appreciate your favorite vegetables in the same way you already crave steak or Japanese food that you already eat anyway. Begin with several of your most favorite vegetables, then slowly mix up your vegetables as you lose weight. The more you lose weight, the better it is to expand your selection of vegetables to eat. And the more vegetable-based dishes you grow accustomed to enjoying, the more confidence you will gain in keeping up your weight loss goals.
5) Don’t be afraid to season your vegetables
Vegetables are fantastic when seasoned or dipped in dressing to make them more appealing. Feel free to dunk your carrots in blue cheese dressing, and Slather a bit of cool ranch dressing on your celery sticks. While nutritionists might scoff at the notion of adding dressing to vegetables, eating some vegetables (dressing notwithstanding) is better than eating none at all. Ultimately, they are still vegetables. Don’t limit yourself to simply raw preparations. Feel free to throw your vegetables into a delicious Chinese stir-fry and ample amounts of seasoning.
6) Appreciate vegetables
Don’t look at eating vegetables as a chore. Instead, change your mindset, and appreciate their qualities. Namely, that they are tasty, they keep you satisfied, do wonders for your body, and help you lose weight. What’s not to love? Finding ways to turn the humble vegetable into delicious, sustainable, and nutritious comfort food can help you reinforce your newly-found habit of eating vegetables when you start seeing the results over time.