Your mother always said, “Eat your vegetables,” and she was right – maybe in more ways than she knew. While you don’t have to go all veggie and become a strict vegetarian, one of the healthiest eating habits you can foster in your family is to eat more vegetables.
Let’s face it; they’re not the tastiest of food. If you had a choice between a plate of French fries and a bowl of Brussels sprouts, the fries would win every time.
But there are so many reasons why we should be eating more vegetables! Remember, there are a wide variety of vegetables out there, and you’re bound to find something that fits with your taste buds. More veggies mean a load of benefits.
Vegetables are low in fat and protein; thus, they are a perfect complement to animal protein foods. Make vegetables the centerpiece of your meals and let the other food groups accompany them. For many families, this may be a switch of mindset from meat and potatoes to potatoes and meat. The animal food is more of a garnish, adding flavor and nutrition to the medley of vegetables and grains. Stir-fry is a good example. (Even better would be a combination of fish and vegetables). If you aren’t ready to relegate steak and meatloaf to second place, at least make vegetables equal stars in the meal. With exciting and tasty vegetable dishes on the table (and a variety of starches), your family will gradually begin eating less meat.
Let’s look at some good reasons you should be eating your vegetables!
The more veggies you eat, the easier it is to stay in shape. The water and fiber in vegetables add volume to your dishes and helps to fill you up; so, you’re consuming few calories, but you’re ensuring your tummy gets its fill!
Furthermore, fiber – especially the soluble kind – keeps you full longer, which prevents snacking throughout the day. Processed foods, sugar, and junk are the main culprits when it comes to a thicker waistline – veggies have the opposite effect on these things and can help you with your weight loss goals. Several studies show that eating fiber can lower your belly fat, and other studies show that eating soluble fiber reduces levels of hunger hormones throughout the day.
Vegetables pack a lot of nutrition into a minimum of calories. For a measly 35 calories, you can get a half cup of vegetables that contains a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and health-building substances, called phytonutrients – not to mention a lot of flavors. Load up on legumes (the family of beans, peas, and lentils). Second, only to soy, legumes are the best plant source of proteins, fiber, and iron, in addition to being high in folate.
Veggies have a positive effect on your sleeping pattern! Micronutrients in vegetables promote better sleep rhythms and can help you tackle insomnia. There are certain vegetables which are very helpful in enabling you to get better sleep.
Lycopene is a mineral that promotes more extended and better sleep. It’s in red and orange-colored foods, so bell peppers would be great to snack on before bed. Tomatoes are great too!
You feel Happier
Did you know that veggies can improve your mood levels?
More vegetables mean more happiness and improved mental health. A diet that is high in junk, fatty foods, and sugar correlate with low moods and fatigue—a poor diet results in a lack of motivation, leading to negative thinking. Veggies can boost your positivity levels! Dopamine promotes feelings of happiness and is mainly in green, leafy vegetables and eggplant.
Veggies can be eaten raw, dried, juiced, canned – they can make a quick on-the-go snack and are great for replacing all those unhealthy snacks!
Vegetables contain cancer-fighting Phyto’s.
On paper, a nutrient analysis of vegetables may not look all that special. Sure, there are lots of nutrients in vegetables, but most of these can also be in other foods, such as fruits and grains. What you don’t see in the nutrition charts or on the package labels are the hundreds of valuable nutrients, called phytochemicals, found in plants that have as-yet many health-promoting properties. New research, especially in the field of cancer, is showing that vegetables are Nature’s best health foods.
Improves Brain Health
Vegetables such as kale, spinach, and avocado are high in antioxidants – and we could all do with more of those! Antioxidants interact with free radicals by terminating the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged. Veggies are essential as loose radical particles are prevalent everywhere, from the air we breathe to the water we drink.
Free radicals have all kinds of adverse effects on us, whether it’s hurting our mental health or damaging our skin. Antioxidants tackle free radicals, so when you increase your antioxidant veggies, you are protecting yourself from these nasty atoms.
Gives You More Energy
Eating your veggies can give you more energy. You’ll notice eating more vegetables leaves you feeling more motivated and boosted. Fatigue and tired slumps may reduce, and you’ll likely feel more active and ready to take on the day!
Good for Animals and The Environment
Switching to plant-based foods and reducing our intake of processed meat is better for us and the environment. Fast-food restaurants are not only bad for us in general, but much of the meat used in it comes from factory farming, which is not suitable for the animal.
By cutting down our intake of processed meats and putting more veggies on our plate instead, we will be helping the environment.
Nature provided us with veggies, and whenever Nature provides us with something, it tends to be good for us. Vegetables come from the soil, the trees, the world around us – it is natural for us to consume them, and they work very well with our bodies.
So Savor Your Vegetable. Enjoying vegetables is a great way to improve your health and enjoy what you eat. While it may take a little creativity, effort, and an open mind to try new things, switching to a diet with more veggies is worth it!