Focus on Improving this One Area of Your Diet

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Did you try to eat two more servings of vegetables per day this week? A gold star if you were able to up your vegetable servings for even just a couple of those days. 
Some of the benefits of increasing your vegetable intake are better digestion, increased sense of fullness (helps with weight loss), better hydration, and a more vibrant complexion. If you are not used to eating green vegetables or if you do not like them (I do not like them Sam I am) then try preparing them in different ways. Even the guy in the Dr. Seuss book learned to like Green Eggs and Ham because he gave it a try. Sometimes you need to taste a food several times before you actually like it. 
I will give you an example. When I was a child I detested (really hated) avocados. My mother lived on them and kept trying to get me to eat them. She always had at least 2-3 avocado pits sprouting on the kitchen counter. I would not give in to eating an avocado. I disliked the taste, the texture, the smell. What do you think is one of my favorite foods now that I eat on a daily basis? If you guessed avocado, you are correct. But I will let you know that when I first started eating them as an adult it took a while for me to get over that childhood aversion. Now I love the taste, texture, and smell of the avocado. 
My point is if you have a food aversion to any vegetables you may need to give them another try. Especially if you grew up eating vegetables that were cooked till they were like mush and totally flavorless. 
When my children were little they would not eat cooked vegetables. They wanted their vegetables served only in the raw state which I think is common with many children. Now my kids eat pretty much any vegetable I serve raw or cooked from salad to broccoli to Brussel sprouts to spaghetti squash. The key was I never gave up introducing new vegetables and now they find eating vegetables enjoyable. When my teenage daughters get home from school or sports they immediately help themselves to a salad while they are waiting for dinner. 
Why am I making such a big deal about eating vegetables? Because vegetables are your nutritional super foods. I can almost say that if you were to only focus on improving one area of your diet so you could lose weight then just eat more vegetables. So what are some delicious and easy ways to prepare vegetables? Here are some really simple vegetable ideas:
1. TossSalad-Here is a basic recipe that will make one large salad that could last 2-3 days in a sealed container. Slice 1 cucumber, chop 1 bell pepper and 3 stalks of celery, grate one carrot, and slice a ½ pint of grape tomatoes. In the meanwhile wash and spin a head of romaine lettuce, tear into bite-size pieces. Throw all the vegetables in a bowl and toss together. To make your salad into a meal top with a lean protein like chicken, shrimp, or tuna. You can also add any toppings you like to your salad like walnuts, avocado slices, feta cheese, Kalamata olives. Serve with your favorite salad dressing.  I recommend balsamic vinaigrette.
2. Asparagus Parmesan-Remove the bottoms of 1 pound of asparagus. Place in a bowl and coat with olive oil or use olive oil spray. Spread onto a baking sheet, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.
3. Sweet potato fries-Slice 2-3 sweet potatoes in French fry shape by cutting potato in half length-wise and then slicing into half-moons. Slice the half-moons in half to make a French fry shape. Coat sweet potato fries with olive oil or use an olive oil spray and place in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, flip the potatoes and bake for 10-15 minutes more depending on how crispy you like your fry.
4. Spaghetti Squash Angel Hair -Slice a spaghetti squash in half, remove the seeds and place on an oiled baking sheet. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Let cool completely. To make angel hair pasta use a fork to scrape the strands of squash into a bowl or plate. Add your favorite tomato sauce and enjoy. By the way I also bake the squash seeds by spraying with olive oil and adding some cinnamon and salt. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes (watch so they don’t burn). Enjoy seeds as a snack or on top of your salad.
I hope these really simple vegetable recipes inspire you to try eating vegetables in both the raw and cooked state. Please let me know if you try one of these vegetable recipes and how it came out. What is your favorite vegetable recipe?

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