Fruits and Veggies

"Eat your fruits and veggies."  Your mother told you that all the time, didn't she?  Well, as usual, she was right.  This combination of food groups are very good for you and important in rounding out the basics of your three primary meals.  You will recall that we want 1/3 of the plate to have lean protein, 1/3 should be filled with complex carbohydrates, and the final third should be salad and vegetables.  The fruit will be acting as hour desert. 

Let's look and the fruits and veggies in detail.

Vegetables

Doesn't the picture above look awesome?  Lots of variety and very colorful.  That is what you want to see on your plate for each of your three primary meals.   Good cooks always talk about "presentation"; what the plate of food looks like.   Veggies help them augment the presentation.

More importantly for you in your quest to lose weight, however, is what eating veggies and fruit does for your body.  

Vegetables are fibrous foods that do not have much, if any, usable calories.  What I mean by that is when you eat them, they help fill you up but they don't really add anything to your caloric intake each day.  So, find the ones you like and eat as much as you want.   Here's an example of the impact of veggies on a person's weight:

When I was in high school, a number of my friends were on the wrestling team (wrestling is a big sport in Iowa, where I grew up).  If you don't know, each wrestler competes at a particular weight against another wrestler of the same weight.  To make sure that happens, each wrestler has to "weigh in" shortly before the beginning of the meet.  Most of the guys wrestled at a weight below their normal "walking-around-weight."  So, they had to manage their weight downward to make their weight class.  It was very common for my friends to be eating carrots and celery on the day of the weigh-in.  It kept them feeling full, but did not add calories that would increase their weight.

If you have heard about eating fiber, this is a good way to get some.  The veggies "get in the way" of the carbohydrates, slowing down their digestion.  This enhances the body's fat burning process and helps with weight loss.   In addition, once it leaves your stomach, the fiber travels through your body and helps cleanse the digestive track removing fatty acids and other deposits that your body does not need.  Like mom said, "they're good for you."


Fruits

So veggies help us feel full while not adding any calories.  Where does the "fruit" part of fruits and veggies come into your nutrition program?

As you can probably imagine, having desserts consisting of cake, ice cream, cookies and pie are a no-no's when you are trying to change your lifestyle to lose weight and keep it off.  Fruits are your new desert!  They taste great and give you that satiation of your sweet tooth.   They are high in fiber like veggies so they are good for you and pack lots of vitamins.  Now, they do have higher calories due to their natural sugars so you have to limit the volume that you eat.  Consume one full-sized piece  of fruit or a handful of the smaller pieces, like berries, as a serving.  Try eating two servings each day as part of your morning/afternoon snack meals.   For more information on fruits and veggies, click here.

Fruits and Veggies Listing

Veggies:

  • Lettuce  & leafy greens
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Green beans
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Peppers
  • Artichokes
  • Tomatoes
  • Peas
  • Zucchini & squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms

Fruits:

  • Cherries
  • Grapefruit
  • Berries
  • Peaches
  • Apricots
  • Oranges/Tangerines, etc.
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Apples
  • Grapes/raisins
  • Mangoes
  • Cantaloupe/Honeydew
  • Dates & Figs
  • Pineapples
  • Bananas

Eat and enjoy your fruits and veggies.  They are good for you and taste great, too.   I'll see you on another page.

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