Are you wondering whether a fruit and vegetable diet might be a good idea about now? After all, you probably grew up hearing the fruit-and-veggie "mantra," right? Why do you have to eat them? Because they're good for you, dummy—now, down the hatch! Or words to that effect...
Not being "dummies" themselves, Mom and Granny knew those veggies and fruits were loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber; thus, they'd help you stay healthier. Quite possibly, M&G also knew or at least suspected that fresh produce often help people slim down as well. In fact, a largely fruit and vegetable diet can be a great overall strategy for health and fitness IF you can maintain it.
And how do you keep those fruits and veggies safely in your corner? One simple way begins with your dinner plate, which could start featuring larger and larger portions of vegetables, fruit, and whole grains or legumes.
You make that happen by replacing some of the meat, cheese, white
pasta, or rice you may be eating now with legumes and/or steamed,
grilled, or fresh veggies. Unless you begin using a larger plate
(boo-hiss), your new regimen reduces the total calories and fat in
your meal without also reducing the amount of food you eat: a critical distinction.
Also critical will be your recognition that every calorie you ingest adds up, even when that calorie comes from veggies. Like you didn't know that, but an occasional reminder rarely hurts. Sure, fruits and veggies have fewer calories than many other foods—no question about it. But they do contain some. So if you're adding more of them to what you already eat, you’ll be adding calories and may also add some weight: not the objective here.
Unless you’re undertaking this diet as a cleansing exercise, please don’t confine yourself strictly to fruits and veggies. You need plenty of protein, too (IMHO). In fact, you might consider eating according to the Mayo Clinic "healthy weight" pyramid. Just use a meat substitute, if you're in the vegetarian/vegan camp (as I am).
Also, try to keep a good color mix on your plate: not all green, or all yellow, or all purple and red. That way you’ll likely also balance your starchier (and sweeter) veggies with green and leafies. In other words, don’t eat exclusively beets and sweet potatoes...or all legumes, either. Just like calories, colors "count" as well.
Without a good color balance, for example, you’re less likely to reap the full range of possible nutrients: fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C. So, over a two-day period, you might arrange to eat spinach, chard, or asparagus (green), tomatoes and squash blossoms (red and yellow), sweet potatoes (orange), beans (black, white, or pink), corn (more yellow), eggplant (purple), and leeks (green/white)...and some parsley and fresh basil here and there to liven things up. Click here or here for some veggie lists.
What this fruits-and-veggies gig mainly involves is some thought and also perhaps some changes of habit. Sure, sometimes you don't want to bother. But we're not talking rocket science here—simply awareness, intent, and probably some planning. Most of us can probably handle those most of the time. For more ways to pull that off, take a quick look at this page: fruit and vegetable diet.
Vegetarian Diet Tips for a Slimmer, Healthier You!
Copyright 2010-2015. Lynda Edwards. All rights reserved.
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*Vegetarian Protein Sources:
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