The ultimate health food has go to be veggies. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. Filled with fiber, vitamins and minerals, veggies are a natural source of carbohydrates (yep, veggies are a carb! GASP!) that can help us look and feel like a million bucks. In this article I’m giving you seven reasons why you need to up your veggie intake asap no matter what your current goal is.
I even came up with a pretty creative acronym (if i do say so myself, hah!) to help you remember.
Glowing skin and hair
Eat your micros
Support local farmers
Ok, let’s get goin!
1. Volume Eating (aka more veggies, please!)
You have a goal that includes dropping some lbs. Its lunchtime, you’re starving and you’re faced with a choice. You can order a cheeseburger…it’s so yummy, you’re SO hungry and you can already taste it…or, you can order a hearty grilled chicken salad filled with greens, chicken, summer veggies and some cheese. Now obviously you can choose the burger, but keep this in mind- just half of the burger and a few fries probably equal the number of calories in the entire salad. The salad also has a heck of a lot more fiber in it (which we’ll talk about in a minute), will give you tons of energy (up next!) and will keep you full for hours. Whereas the burger, while it does contain lots of protein, leaves a lot to be desired in the nutrient department.
Choosing the salad over the burger introduces the concept of volume eating. Eating for volume allows you to eat more food and feel full and satisfied, yet consume fewer calories.
The secret is to eat foods that have fewer calories like broccoli, leafy greens, zucchini, summer squash, melons, berries, grapefruit, etc., which will keep you fuller for longer due to their fiber and water content and will keep you healthy (think less colds, more energy, clear thinking, less lethargic) due to their vitamin and mineral content. Higher calorie foods like burgers and pizza have less fiber, lower water content plus more calories and fat- which are totally fine choices every once in a while, but when you’re eating for volume, you’ll begin choosing naturally lower cal, higher fiber foods more frequently and to keep the higher calorie stuff to a minimum.
If you’re someone who lives off of coffee, is tired all day, hits a wall at 2pm, has strong food cravings, and wants to feel better (because who wouldn’t if they feel like that!) veggies are the way to go. I know from personal experience. I’ve been making a smoothie each day with about 1.5 cups of frozen spinach in it and I’ve cut out my second cup of coffee without any withdrawal symptoms whatsoever. I have more every and I feel healthier on the inside and outside. And that’s just form 1.5 cups!
Vegetables are a natural source of fuel for our body that it knows exactly what to do with. Veggies will naturally boost your energy levels, whereas that second…or third…or fourth cup of coffee will mess with your hormones and will send you up with a boost and down with a crash. So put down the coffee cup, shut off the Keurig and turn on the blender.
3. Glowing Skin & Hair
Let’s be honest here- we all want flawless skin that requires zero makeup, right? I hate putting makeup on my face but I used to breakout so bad I felt like I didn’t have a choice. Veggies (and fruits) contain powerful antioxidants that help protect skin from free radicals (which can cause wrinkles and age spots) that we’re exposed to from air pollution, smoking, sunlight, etc.
Ever since I’ve added my smoothie a day, my skin has improved big time. Even during “that time of the month” I’ve had zero breakouts and I don’t have to worry about putting crap on my face to even out my skin tone. Again, that’s just 1.5c of spinach a day! Imagine what would happen with more!
4. Go Non-Processed
Now, if you’ve been following me for any period of time, you know I love my pizza and candy and you can’t get much more processed and unnatural than that! But you also know that I don’t eat those things all day every day, they’re just a small part of my normal diet. The more natural and non-processed we eat, the better. Eating natural foods, like veggies and fruit, have a myriad of health benefits including: weight loss, clearer skin, healthier eyes, stronger nails and hair, more energy, improved mood, better sleep, fewer cravings, balanced hormones, fewer colds, less headaches/migraines, stabilized blood sugar, regular bowel movements, improved memory. And that’s not even an all-encompassing list. But I’m hoping that maybe…juuuuuust maybe…you’ll choose the grilled chicken salad over the burger most of the time, or at the very least, wrap the burger in some lettuce and forgo the bun!
A word on taking vitamins- As long as you’re OK’d by your doctor, I don’t see anything wrong with taking a vitamin even though it’s still a processed source. Because of the way our food is processed, shipped and delivered, it loses a lot of nutrients along the way. So to me, vitamin supplements are A-OK!
5. Increased Fiber
If you’re always constipated and have trouble going #2, you probably need to up your fiber intake. Fiber also helps control our blood sugar and appetite because fiber regulates the speed of digestion and helps keep us feeling fuller for longer. You want to aim for anywhere from 25-35g of fiber per day (generally speaking). So how do we up the fiber? By eating more produce, of course. Veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, peas, brussel sprouts, and artichokes are all fantastic sources of high fiber veggies.
Quick note: If you up your fiber intake, you’ll also want to up your water intake, otherwise you might have some stomach discomfort. Yes, you’ll be going to the bathroom more frequently, but that’s a good thing ;o)
6. Eat Your Micros
Lots of people talk about the importance of eating your “macros” or macronutrients (protein, carbs, fats) but you don’t hear a lot of people talking about “micros” or micronutrients. Well, we’re gonna change that!
Micronutrients are vitamins (like vitamins A, B, C, D an E) and minerals (like iron, calcium and selenium) that nourish your body, help to keep you healthy and reduce your risk for illness. We get our micros through a variety of veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, etc.
7. Support Local Farmers
This is a fun one. Get out and visit your local farmers market this week. Check out all the fresh and local produce and taste the difference. Eating foods that are grown locally means you’re eating foods that are full of flavor (local crops are picked at their peak of ripeness versus being harvested early in order to be shipped and distributed to your local grocer) are seasonal, have more nutrients (imported foods have traveled far and sit in distribution centers before it gets to your store) and does wonders for the environment (decreased carbon footprint). By visiting your local farmers market, you’re not only investing in your health, but you’re also supporting a small and local business. Win/Win!
So there you have it! 7 solid reasons why you should up your veggie intake ASAP! For more content just like this, join my exclusive #FueledFam email list by clicking below! No spam, just amazing fat loss, fitness and food freedom content sent to your inbox weekly for free!