Saturday, January 31, 2009

Eat Your Vegetables

We've all heard this from our parents, from nutritionists, "Eat Your Vegetables"...

It is true, but let's also look at what are vegetables.

Vegetables include potatoes and sweet potatoes...high in starch. If you have already cut back on the empty calories in sodas, sweets, etc and are still wanting to lose some pounds, you may need to watch how many of your vegetables come from this end of the spectrum.

On the other end of the spectrum there are the lettuces...very low starch, low calorie, etc. It can take a lot of these foods to get you to feeling full. The good news is you can eat as much of them as you want. The bad news is you might get bored and some lettuces have little more nutrition than water.

Then there's a bunch in the middle--like broccoli, beans, etc. I find these to be the best bet for me in the "bang for the buck" as far as nutrition goes.

So there's a huge variety of vegetables and all of them are good to a certain point.

I love a big salad...but it is definitely not all lettuce. I make it chock-full of veggies so that I get a variety of textures, tastes (and vitamins!) in every bite. I pick colorful and flavorful veggies so that I get a pretty meal as well as one that is satisfying to my taste buds.

So don't just shake out the bag of romaine! Get mixed greens, add some peppers, cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, mushrooms, green beans, whatever you like. Make a salad that a restaurant would be proud to serve and you won't feel deprived! Add your favorite protein--lean beef, chicken, tuna, maybe some walnuts or almonds.

Be brave and experiment. I have found pine nuts to be a great addition to my salads.

During the winter I add more ingredients and less lettuce. During the hot days of summer I enjoy a lot of lettuce for the lightness.

Then top off the salad with something light--my favorite is fresh lemon. Sometimes I add olive oil.

Try some of the other oils that are high in omega 3s...try flax oil, hemp oil, try sesame oil for variety...No matter the oil, keep the quantity of it down. It should augment the flavors in the salad not overpower.

Try a little soy sauce and sesame oil combo. Or red wine vinegar with olive/flax or hemp oil.

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