Happy Memorial Day! I hope everyone is having a great holiday weekend and using some of those cookout tips from last week! The Biggest Loser Change is on to week 7 and people are shedding inches! If you haven't repeated your hip and waist measurements, now is a good time to do that and see your progress! Remember, it's not all about the scale! Sometimes you lose inches without even losing pounds, especially if you are exercising!
Making Veggies (and you) Sexy
Let’s face it. There is nothing sexy about a pile of vegetables – at least that’s what many people tell me. Kids hate them; adults force them down and try not to gag. Well, some at least. We all know veggies are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. We also know that vegetables are extremely healthy for us, are preventative for many chronic diseases, and are the foundation of every healthy diet and weight-loss plan. The American Guidelines for Americans recommend making ½ your plate non-starchy vegetables. I recommend making your plate at least half, if not ¾, non-starchy vegetables – the remaining ¼ being protein – for weight loss. What is that in terms of servings? About 10. (BUT before you stop reading, a serving = 1 cup raw or ½ cup cooked). However, the last thing a busy person wants to do after working hard all day is spend hours in the kitchen making vegetables that their kids won’t even touch.
Don’t give up! Here are several tips that are sure to spice up your veggies for you and your family, while helping you stick to your spring slim down or beach body goal.
Make Nutritious Super Veggie Swaps for Popular Starches: There are many new and fun ways to sub out startches for veggies. Instead of making traditional mashed potatoes, substitute cauliflower mash (70 vs 120 calories per cup). Worried your kids might not like it? Substitute half of the potatoes for cauliflower and it’s doubtful they will notice the difference. Another favorite, even among kids, is spaghetti squash (42 calories vs 221 calories per cup for regular spaghetti!). But why stop there? Kale chipsmake a fun nutritious substitute for chips (50 vs 160 calories/cup) or collard greens/lettuce wrap for tortillas (30 vs 300 calories per 2 wraps). Although not a vegetable, pureed fruit (9 calories per 2 tbs) makes a good substitute for pancake syrup (104 calories/2 tbs). Veggie fries can be a healthier alternative to French fries and very much kid approved! Here are 5 ways to substitute vegetables for popular carbs.
Make Vegetables Fun: No one wants to eat a heap of steamed veggies dropped on a plate. So make them fun by turning an ordinary salad into a mason jar salad, substituting bland steamed or boiled vegetables for roasted vegetables, or buying or making your own “zoodles.” Spiralizing your vegetables, such as zucchini, summer squash, beets, or carrots, can be a fun, colorful, and healthier alternative to regular spaghetti. (I just made this recipe for zucchini pasta with avocado pesto & shrimp and it was sooo good!)Other ideas include ants on a log, cookie-cutter shaped vegetables, and making “Mr. Tomato Head” out of a quinoa-stuffed tomato.
Try veggies more than once in different ways: Just because your child turned up his nose once doesn’t mean you have to cross that veggie off the menu forever. Studies have shown it may take 10 or more tries before a child accepts a new food. Try cooking vegetables multiple ways, you never know what you and your kids might like.
Increase your Veggie Variety: Just because you or your kids have disliked one vegetable doesn’t mean they will hate them all. Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)share to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. A CSA will not only expose you to vegetables you otherwise wouldn’t think to buy, it also supports your community. Another way is to commit to buying one new vegetable per week. You may just find your new favorite vegetable and there is no better time to start with all the spring variety!
Involve your kids in the veggie shopping and eating process: Plant a garden, or visit a farm/farmer's market and have your children pick out which veggies to eat for dinner. This instills ownership and studies show that it actually makes eating those veggies later that night more likely. Similarly, cooking the vegetables with your children also exposes them to the vegetables and makes them more willing to try them.
Need more ideas? Here are 23 ways to eat greens that aren’t salads.