I recognize that veggies are hit-or-miss for many people, so I am not going to tell you bad things about them or try to tell you how great they are so you walk away feeling guilty about not eating them.
I HATE GREEN BEANS. I really do. The outsides feel like coarse, dry sandpaper assaulting my mouth, and it grosses me out. Ew. Yuck!
But I love carrots! And celery, and asparagus, and artichokes!
When I say “vegetables” in the context of “weight loss,” you probably think that I’m about to tell you to eat every veggie possible. Well, no! That is not going to happen.
I solemnly swear that I will never advocate eating things you don’t like.
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Vegetables have a terrible reputation for a lot of us. Too many times were we traumatized by vegetables as children. Mushy broccoli, soggy green beans, forced brussels sprouts.
My brother-in-law thinks kale salad tastes like “a wet paper towel.”
My niece thinks mashed potatoes are the most disgusting thing ever and doesn’t understand why anyone would want to eat them.
Salads make me sad.
Guess what I say to that?
Don’t eat veggies you don’t like!
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But, there’s no getting around the fact that vegetables, these glorious, often under-appreciated plant parts, are a part of a healthy diet. (Unless you have your ears plugged and you’re singing “La La La La La” over and over. Quit it! Time to focus!)
We’re going to need to find a place for some veggies in our healthy weight loss plan. Today, we’re looking at how to maximize their benefits while minimizing the effort required and potential gross-out factor.
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If you’re more used to eating fast food and the idea of green things on your plate makes you gag, you need to start slowly — no need to go “all-in” all at once. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try to relax and ease into veggies a little bit at a time.
If you know of at least a handful of veggies you enjoy and eat them with your meals regularly, you’re already miles ahead of a lot of people.
If you honestly think green smoothies are the nectar of the Gods. And you eat so many vegetables that you’re on the verge of turning into the jolly-green-giant, take a gold star, and… go away (I say that with love, of course.)
For the rest of us, average folks are trying to lose weight and wondering how vegetables fit into a healthy weight loss plan, here are 3 steps for your success:
Step 1. Identify vegetables you like. Eat them.
Step 2. Identify any vegetables you hate. Don’t eat them.
Step 3. Identify vegetables you’ve never tried. Try them.
It seems so simple at first glance, but it can feel completely overwhelming to walk into the produce aisle of the grocery store gazing at a rainbow of colorful vegetation enveloped in green, with names that sound more like the pretentious first-grader from school who vacations in Maracuay;
Rutabaga. Endives. Scallions. Bok choy. Daikon. Broccolini.
You stand in front of the wall of glorious foliage and wonder why you’re here, like an existential crisis of vegetation. “Why do I want to eat these things anyway?” You ponder out loud, lecturing in front of the radishes, while the rest of the shoppers give a wide berth to the crazy lady talking to the produce.
Wait, I’m the only one who’s done that? Ok… awkward. Moving on…
Reasons to eat vegetables:
Reason #1 They’re filling!
When we’re working on losing weight, we become a lot more familiar with the Hunger monster. Vegetables are full of fiber and water, and eating them can keep us satisfied enough to stay out of the cookies, cakes, and ice cream just long enough to make it to our next meal.
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Reason #2 They’re different!
The flavor combinations with the myriad of vegetables from your local supermarket are nearly endless. It’s practically impossible to get bored when there are so many to choose from at any given meal. You can download the 128 Veggie Checklist at the end of this article for vegetables to try.
Reason #3 They’re healthy!
What’s the strategy?
Step 1. Identify vegetables you like. These are your Likes. Eat more of them.
For example, I like to eat raw baby carrots, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, and baby spinach straight from the container. I buy steam bags of cauliflower and broccoli. I throw the whole bag in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, and it’s done. So easy; it’s almost like cheating. I like brussels sprouts when they’re roasted in the oven on a baking sheet for about 30 minutes. Yum!
Step 2. Identify any vegetables you hate. These are your Dislikes. Don’t eat them.
For example, I’m not too fond of green beans (you might have noticed…), and overcooked asparagus and broccoli. I don’t eat them. Ever.
Step 3. Identify vegetables you’ve never tried. These are your Unknowns. Try them.
For example, I’ve never had a daikon! I like the name, but I’ve never had it! I’m going to try daikon this week and report back.
To get you started towards veggie appreciation, I’ve curated a collection of 128 vegetables in a Checklist that you can download here. Take a few minutes to examine your Likes, Dislikes, and Unknowns. Circle the veggies you like, cross out the ones you dislike, and try a new Unknown each week.
Eat your Likes. Avoid your Dislikes. Easy PEASy? ?