You guess it!! VEGETABLES!!
Vegetables, are unlike any other food groups in that they contain some of the highest levels of antioxidants (preserving health), the fewest calories (helping for weight control), the most vitamins and minerals (more energy), making them overall an extremely important food group.
Without vegetables our system can become too acidic (vegetables are alkaline, and balance out with the acidic choices we make such as meat, dairy, and sugars). Without vegetables we can feel lazy and tired because we are missing out on some of the key vitamins and minerals our body needs to live!
I also find that vegetables are the key to maintaining my weight. If I don't have veggies with each meal every day I tend to not feel full, or I tend to feel full after consuming plenty more calories than I would if I had included vegetables. I feel that 80 % of the time your plate should be 50 % full of vegetables. Vegetables are a great source of dietary fibre to also maintain colon health and prevent colon cancer.
There is a really great website here: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2682/2 that I enjoy using to look up my foods in terms of their nutritional content. I like this website because it doesn't just tell you calories/fat/carbs/protein, but breaks each food down much further. In this example there is a complete list of vitamins and minerals found in a tomato. They also use various other graph forms to really paint a picture about the foods you are eating. I prefer to get my nutrition from food, rather than supplements, and this is a great site to look at that as well. If a person needs a certain level of Vitamin E a day, you can track your daily nutrition intake and see how much you intake. This tool will make it evident if you are eating enough for your recommended intakes, or if it's one you may need to supplement with.
My top 5 tips to eating more vegetables:
1. Have them always cut up in the fridge, and always have hummous or guacamole around! When the vegetables are there and ready to go, we are that much more likely to grab a few pieces rather than pulling it out of the package, washing it and cutting it up.
2. Start your meal planning by thinking about what vegetables you will use. Reverse engineer your thinking.
3. Twice a week cook up a big serving of veggies. I like to do a giant roasted pan of parsnips, carrots, sweet potato, and eggplant with some oils and herbs. I also like to do a basic soup with everything boiled up together and herbs. Each time you make a meal grab a serving of the veggies for the side.
4. When dining out with a friend/partner order one large salad and one main meal. Kyle and I find this really works well for us, then we both end up getting some greens and a main course! Nowadays meals are large enough for two people anyways, so don't worry about being hungry after!
5. Create some dressings or dips that you crave. If you are craving dill pickle chips for whatever reason, but yet you have cucumbers and a homemade dill dressing in the fridge- it will often suffice. Not always though 🙂
My top 5 websites for finding really great vegetable recipes:
http://nomnompaleo.com/recipeindex Go to the "plants" section, even though the whole site is good.