It’s a healthy habit we try to instill in our kids though we don’t always do it ourselves — eating more vegetables every day.
But if you model the behavior yourself, this advice can help you lose weight and feel full at the same time.
Here are easy ways to get started from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ChooseMyPlate.gov.
Build your lunch around a hearty vegetable soup. Try cold gazpacho in the summer and hot minestrone in winter. Both are tomato-based for an added dose of healthful lycopene.
Dress your salads to the nines. Besides trying new types of lettuce — like romaine and red leaf, Bibb and Boston — add in red pepper strips, zucchini and mushroom slices. Toss in lightly steamed broccoli florets and diced carrots for extra crunch. Remember that the wider the color range you choose, the greater the array of nutrients and micronutrients you’ll get for best health.
Skip the potato or rice with dinner and have two vegetables as side dishes — lower in calories and higher in volume.
Take the next step and have a vegetarian dinner at least once a week. At home, replace the meat in a recipe with beans and extra vegetables. Use herbs and spices to satisfy your taste buds. Try ordering a vegetarian entree when eating out, too, but stay away from dishes overloaded with cheese.
To make it easier to choose veggies when you crave a snack, keep a bowl of trimmed favorites, cut up and ready to munch, in the fridge.
It may take some time to make eating more vegetables second nature, but you’ll quickly appreciate the bigger portions you can get for fewer calories.
ChooseMyPlate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture has everything you need to know about choosing vegetables, including recommended quantities for every age group.