Eat your veggies
Whatever your norm is, step it up. If you don’t eat vegetables, start by adding one serving to lunch and one serving to dinner. This doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be as simple as adding carrot sticks, cucumber slices, celery stalks, cherry tomatoes, or even cut bell peppers to your plate. Consider adding a salad with dark leafy greens before or with a meal. Experiment and try a vegetable that you might be unfamiliar with. Who knows? You might like it. Yes, I know some of my examples are considered fruits, but eat them anyway!
TODAY’S TIP FROM
COACH NESS OSZAST
WHY IT MATTERS
Barbell Logic Director of Nutrition
So, what’s the big deal about veggies anyway? Maybe if Popeye ate a bag of jellybeans instead of a can of spinach, we’d be touting the benefits of corn syrup? Yeah…. Probably not.
- Veggies are high in fiber. Fiber keeps us regular, helping to prevent constipation. This not only keeps us feeling better but gives less opportunity for our bodies to be exposed to carcinogens or other toxins that are on their way out of the body. A fiber-rich diet helps with controlling cholesterol and blood sugar and increases satiety. We get full faster and are less likely to overeat.
- Veggies are high in potassium, which plays a key role in regulating blood pressure. Potassium also helps keep electrolytes balanced, which keeps the heart beating correctly and keeps muscles from cramping.
- Veggies are packed with vitamins. What? Eat vegetables for vitamins instead of chewing gummies?!!! In my day, it was chewable Flintstone vitamins, which are far less palatable than today’s candy-like versions. Most fruits and vegetables are very nutrient-dense, meaning they have a lot of nutrition per calorie. They are great sources of vitamins A, E, K, most of the B vitamins, and vitamin C.
- Veggies contain phytochemicals. These are chemical compounds that are naturally occurring in plants, which are believed to have a variety of health benefits. Some phytochemicals are believed to slow aging and have cancer-preventing properties. Others have anti-inflammatory properties, may help decrease symptoms of asthma, or may help prevent degenerative eye diseases.
Some of us avoid fresh produce because of the cost and relatively short shelf life. If this is a concern for you, opt for frozen vegetables. Oftentimes frozen vegetables are even more nutritious than fresh ones as they are flash-frozen at their peak of ripeness.
In addition to eating your veggies today, make sure that you are keeping up on your 5 previous habits:
- Drink your water
- Reduce added sugars
- Stop Mindless Snacking
- Keep a food journal
- Eliminate alcohol
Here are some ideas to get your veggies in (for those of you that are resistant or can’t think of any)
- Add vegetables to your eggs in the morning by making an omelet.
- If you have a sandwich for lunch, consider adding sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, leafy greens, onions, or sprouts and pile high.
- Opt for zucchini wedges, carrot sticks, celery, or any other “easy” vegetable as an accompaniment to your meal (possibly instead of the chips). Dip them in hummus.