We all know that vegetables are good for us, but why aren’t we eating more of them? The average American eats about 3 servings of vegetables per day (0r less). If you look on choosemyplate.gov, the recommendation for women is 2 1/2 cups of vegetables per day, and about 3-6 ounce of grains per day. Men are recommended to eat 3 cups of vegetables per day 4-8 ounce of grains per day.
You might wonder why I am comparing grains with vegetables? It is because people are focusing on including grains on their plate because they have to get carbs, nutrients, and fiber in their diet, but what about vegetables? The average man (18-50 years old) eats 8 ounce of grains, and less than 2 cups of vegetables per day. The average woman (18-50 years old) eats 6 ounce of grains, and 1.5 cups of vegetables per day. But do you want to know a secret? Vegetables have carbs, nutrients, and fiber too.
As you can see from this table, the same amount of calories from a mix of greens has more fiber, and nutrients than pasta. The amount of carbs from greens is close to the amount you can get from pasta. Of course, you are going to tell me that you cannot eat 24 cups of greens per day, but my point is that for the same amount of calories you can get more nutrients, and fiber from vegetables than from grains. I personally eat 12 cups of greens per day, so I am halfway there.
Some might also think that eating whole grains has health benefits. According to choosemyplate.gov, “consuming whole grains as part of a healthy diet may reduce the risk of heart disease”, but according to The School of Public Health “those who averaged 8 or more servings a day were 30 percent less likely to have had a heart attack or stroke.” An article from The Telegraph mentions that “five portions of fruit and vegetables is good, 10 a day is even better. Fruit and vegetables have been shown to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and to boost the health of our blood vessels and immune system” See, vegetables have health benefits too! The good thing about eating more vegetables is that there if you eat too much of them you won’t gain weight, you won’t get Type 2 diabetes, and you won’t have blood sugar swings.
Eating more vegetables will also help you lose fat as they make you feel fuller for longer period of time. You can also eat more of them which will increase your nutrients intake, and there is no reason to feel bad about it. I eat a lot of veggies per day, and losing fat has never been so simple because I don’t need to count calories or starve myself.
So if you are convinced that you need more vegetables in your life, here are some tips for you on how to eat more vegetables:
- Start by looking at the number of serving of vegetables you eat per day. You can look at the package or on MyFitnessPal to figure out how much is a serving.
- Find vegetables you like. You won’t be able to increase the amount of vegetables you eat if you choose vegetables you hate. Find some that you enjoy, and recipes to make them. For example, I got a recipe to make cabbage from Carrie Brown’s blog, which is a great way to eat more vegetables while enjoying it.
- Increase the serving you eat by one for a week. If you eat 3 servings of vegetables per day then you will start eating 4 servings of vegetables per day. The following week you will eat 5 servings of vegetables per day.
- Start by eating your vegetables first. If you eat everything else first you might be too full to eat your vegetables, and then you will have an excuse not to eat them.
- Make green smoothies. I personally put at least 12 cups of leafy greens in my smoothie with a cup of berries which permits me to eat at least 6 servings of vegetables. It is also practical when I have to go to class because I just have to take my shaker bottle with my smoothie, and I can drink it while driving or in class.
We all know vegetables are good, and that we should eat more of them the problem is that most of us are not eating enough of them. Eating vegetables does not mean that we should eat steamed broccoli without anything on them. You can actually eat your veggies, enjoy eating them, and their health benefits. If you want to lose fat they are going to be more helpful than you think.
All about the Grains Group | Choose MyPlate. (2016, October 18). Retrieved from https://www.choosemyplate.gov/grains
All about the Vegetable Group | Choose MyPlate. (2016, July 26). Retrieved from https://www.choosemyplate.gov/vegetables
A Closer Look at Current Intakes and Recommended Shifts – 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines – health.gov. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-2/a-closer-look-at-current-intakes-and-recommended-shifts/
Nutrients and health benefits | Choose MyPlate. (2015, June 12). Retrieved from https://www.choosemyplate.gov/grains-nutrients-health
Nutrients and health benefits | Choose MyPlate. (2016, June 12). Retrieved from https://www.choosemyplate.gov/vegetables-nutrients-health
The Nutrition Source. (n.d.). Vegetables and Fruits | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/vegetables-and-fruits/
Pledger, C. (2017, February 23). Eat 10 fruit and veg a day for a longer life, not five. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/23/five-a-day-fruit-veg-must-double-10-major-study-finds/