Common sense would tell you to eat less if you’re trying to lose weight, but eating more of the right kinds of foods could be the answer. Cheryl Forberg, registered dietician and nutritionist for “The Biggest Loser,” says one way to shed pounds is by increasing your veggie intake.
Vegetables are very high in water and fiber, but low in calories, so they’re a great way to fill you up and keep you from noshing on junk food and empty carbs, Forberg explains.
The James Beard Award winning chef says most Americans aren’t eating even half the amount of daily fruits and vegetables as they should be. She recommends four cups a day of mostly veggies — go easy on the fruit, which is high in sugar and calories, and won’t fill you up for long if you eat it by itself, she cautions. Instead, sherecommends enjoying a fruit serving with protein, say, full fat Greek yogurt.
Change your daily eating habits
While clearing four cups of veggies a day can seem overwhelming, it isn't if you find ways to work in greens throughout the day.
“A lot of us like to graze on snacks all day; I personally like to keep bowls of vegetables around the house,” she says. “It’s a way of getting that crunch and staying full throughout the day.”
Another way to increase your servings? “A lot of people think veggies are just for dinner,” she says. “It’s easier to reach your goal if you spread them out throughout the day.” She recommends adding in spinach and tomato to a morning omelette, enjoying crudite with hummus for a morning snack and layering on as many veggies on your lunchtime sandwich or salad as you can.
And don’t forget smoothies. As long as you avoid sweeteners, they're a very easy way for the greens to go down. She shares a recipe for a Create-Your-Own Green Smoothie, below.
Enjoy a variety of preparations
If munching on raw veggies makes you feel like a rabbit and you’re craving the taste of caramelized carrots and squash, roasting is ok, so long as you don’t overdo it on the salt and oil, Forberg says. And take it easy on starchy, dense root vegetables, like potatoes, which are higher in calorie. Instead, eat more low-in-calorie, high-in-water options like leafy greens and tomatoes.
You can tell the health benefits from the look of them. “A lot of antioxidants and vitamins are found in the pigment,” she says, adding that varying the color of that will ensure you’re consuming a variety of nutrients.
Looking for a veggie fix on your cheat day? Forberg says salsa counts, you heard it here first.
Eat what's local and seasonal
Forberg, a green thumb herself, says when you eat produce that’s fresh, whether from the farmer’s market or pulled from your own garden, you know its nutrient ratio is high.
The Napa, Calif. resident is the spokesperson for Seeds of Change, which awards $310,000 in annual grants towards creating 24 sustainable community gardens and schools around the country. (If you’re interested in applying, go here; the deadline is Tuesday, March 28).
Cheryl’s Create-Your-Own Green Smoothie
The Formula: Greens + Liquid + Fruit + Extras
Choose 1-2 cups of greens:
Kale, spinach, chard, romaine, or any other green
Choose 2 cups of liquid:
Water, coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk
Choose 2-3 cups of fruit:
Banana, apple, pear, persimmon, avocado, oranges, etc
Extras:Cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, cayenne, chia seeds, flax seeds, yogurt