Losing weight must be right up there on the list of most difficult tasks known to mankind. Why is this so? Well, it's probably because the food we love to eat, the food that tastes the best, that fills us up the most, is all too often laden with fattening and artery clogging calories.
So, in our endeavours to shed the pounds, we're told we must cut down on or eliminate the high calorie foods and stock up with vegetables instead. Vegetables are essential for inclusion in our daily eating plans. Not only do they include a large amount of vitamins and minerals, they can provide a real boost in helping to shift the excess pounds.
Calorie restriction is probably the most difficult part of dieting. This is where vegetables can help because you can eat lots of them. However, not all vegetables are low in calories. The key points to remember when including vegetables as part of your weight loss regime, are to choose those vegetables which will be the most beneficial for your weight loss. And this means low in calories and high in fibre.
Unfortunately, some of the vegetables with the highest fiber content also contain the most calories. Amongst these are potatoes, peas, sweetcorn and parsnips. Don't avoid these vegetables altogether though. Simply choose a small portion of one of them and combine with some of the higher fiber and lower calorie vegetables listed below.
Eating foods with a high fiber content are particularly helpful for the dieter because they are filling. Fiber, both soluble and insoluble, takes longer to chew and digest. Because fiber absorbs liquid like a sponge, the benefits here can include staving off hunger pangs by evening out your blood sugar levels and helping you feel full up and less tempted to overeat. Always drink plenty of water, eight to ten glasses per day as this will help food pass through the digestive tract more efficiently. Lack of liquid intake on a high fiber diet can lead to constipation.
So, what are the most filling vegetables you should be eating for a healthy weight loss? Taking into account those vegetables with the highest fiber content together with the lowest calories, the following list of vegetables could all be beneficial in any healthy weight loss plan.
1. GREEN BEANS: They're extremely versatile and can be purchased fresh, frozen or canned. Green beans aren't at their tastiest when eaten raw, so are best included as an accompaniment with other vegetables and a low-fat sauce. They are terrific in stir fries or added to soups. In 100g of green beans you'll be provided with 3.4 grams of fiber and around 31 calories.
2. BRUSSELS SPROUTS: We either love them or hate them. Whichever the case may be, you can't take away the fact that they contain significant amounts of vitamins A and C and are low in carbohydrates. For every 100g of Brussels sprouts you'll obtain 3 grams of fiber and 37 calories. So don't just save them for the turkey. Try chopping them up and adding to a stir fry or mixing cooked, chopped sprouts together with cauliflower cheese.
3. CARROTS: The carrot is one vegetable that's easy to eat raw as a snack and enjoyed by adults and children alike. They're great used as crudits with a low-fat dip. They can be boiled, steamed, stir fried, added to soups, pureed or even juiced for a healthy, low calorie, high fiber drink. They contain exceptional amounts of vitamin A, as well as plenty of vitamin C and K. Each 100g of carrots contains 2 grams of fiber and 28 calories.
4. LEEKS: Leeks are a good alternative to onions for use in recipes. Try including leeks in a fish pie, vegetable soup, or simply braise chopped leeks and carrots with vegetable stock, a bay leaf and a parsley sprig. Leeks contain 2.4 grams of fiber and 25 calories per 100g.
5. CABBAGE: Both red and green cabbage are included here. In 100 grams of cabbage you'll get around 2.4 grams of fiber and 21 calories. Cabbage is the key ingredient in a coleslaw. When combined with grated carrot and a small amount of chopped onion and some low fat fromage frais, you'll have a tasty, very high fiber and low calorie snack. However, some people can find raw cabbage difficult to digest, resulting in excessive gas. Cooked cabbage can help alleviate this problem. It's a great source of Vitamins C and E and is know to be particularly beneficial at preventing certain cancers, such as cancer of the colon.
Remember, when cooking vegetables, there will be some loss of vitamin content, particularly if you boil them. Unfortunately not all vegetables are palatable when eaten raw and for some people, they can be harder to digest. To retain the maximum amount of vitamins in your vegetables, try steaming or cooking them in the microwave, together with a small amount of liquid.
Try not negating the benefits of their low calorie content by adding butter or high calorie sauces. By cooking vegetables in a small amount of flavoured stock, you can really improve the taste of vegetables you're not too fond of. Chopping them up and adding to soups, stir fries and tomato-based sauces is a great way of disguising vegetables if you don't particularly like their taste.
Always include a wide variety of vegetables. The more colorful the better as you'll benefit from a wider range of vitamins. At every meal, try to make sure your plate is half filled with at least two to three portions of veg, with a quarter of the plate given to starchy carbs and a quarter to meat or a vegetarian alternative.
So, for a healthy and satisfying weight loss, including these vegetables in your daily diet will help you achieve a faster and more satisfying weight loss.