For all those who were at Fit for Life, I thought doing a follow-up post might be a helpful supplement to the 5 minutes I get with you on Thursday nights. For an overview of healthy eating, read this article.
Thursday night I emphasized eating more vegetables. We really only had time to see what you normally eat vs what your plate should actually look like,which is this…
But here is a look at what setting up your plate this way does for you…
4 compelling reasons you should eat more vegetables
1- To keep your gut healthy
A healthy gut isn’t just important for bathroom-related reasons. Did you know that 70% of your immune system is in your GUT? I know, right?! One of the essentials of a healthy gut is maintaining good bacteria. The good bacteria’s favorite food? Fiber. Whether it comes from vegetables or fruit or whole grains, your gut will be it’s healthiest when it gets the fiber it needs. Your target is 25-30 grams a day, but no need to keep tally of your fiber grams if you are eating vegetables for half of your lunch and dinner.
2- To keep your heart healthy
Fiber not only feeds your good bacteria, but it keeps your cholesterol where it should be as well. Go natural, though- foods fortified with fiber typically don’t do you much good. Fiber also helps your body fight against inflammation which can cause damage to your blood vessels and muscle tissue (read that: your heart).
3- To cut down on calories without cutting down on food.
Anyone who has tried to lose weight knows that the second you have to start cutting back on food is the second you can’t stop thinking about food. Vegetables are naturally nutrient dense, but low in calories. It’s a win-win situation. Don’t go overboard, though, in efforts to cut your calories. Starchy carbs and fruits keep your energy levels up throughout the day. They also prevent bouts of hanger resulting from low blood sugars. Protein is necessary to keep you full between meals, as well as for a proper functioning body. Everything from healthy skin to your body’s detoxification systems rely on protein. A quarter of your plate each for carbs and protein should give you what you need.
4- To prevent lots of scary stuff.
The nutrition label focuses a lot on carbs, proteins, and fats, but the truth is, those are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to nutrients your body needs to function properly. Vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals are crucial. Think of all the things that can go wrong when you don’t get enough… low Ca? Osteoporosis, low Vitamin D? Depression, low iron? weakness/fatigue, low Vitamin C? Inability to heal, scurvy, low Vitamin A? loss of eyesight. Low on phytonutrients? More vulnerable to illness and inflammation.
In short- EAT YER GREENS! Veggies should be half of what you eat at lunch AND dinner. If you can hit that target, the rest will usually fall into place.