Where are the veggies? This is one question you should ask before each meal. So often we find ourselves eating meals that include little to no vegetables. Our plates are a sad combination of brown, beige and white. What we lack in colour on our plate we also lack in vitamins and minerals. Where we lack in vitamins we usually find an excess of calories. What’s the solution? Ask yourself “where are the veggies?”
Vegetables, especially the dark leafy green and brightly coloured kind are packed full of vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, C, K, iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium, to name a few. Why should you care about this? While they don’t provide energy themselves vitamins and minerals are responsible for facilitating many processes on a cellular level. Without an adequate supply your body generally doesn’t not function properly. In many cases you may experience any number of adverse effects if you are chronically not meeting the daily recommendations of vitamins and minerals. What’s the solution to this problem? Ask yourself “where are the veggies?”
This isn’t the time to get spooked about meeting the requirements for each vitamin. In most cases you don’t actually have to track your vitamin intake. If you are in the habit of eating 10 servings of a variety of vegetables and fruit each day then you shouldn’t have a problem meeting the daily requirements. The easiest way to meet your daily 10 servings is to consume 2-3 at each meal and have a snack containing some fruits or veggies. So how big is a serving? Each serving is equal to half cup of chopped veggies or one full cup of uncooked leafy veggies. Depending on your hand size a fist will equal about a cup. Having two fists of fruits and/or vegetables at each meal will get you to and probably past your 10 daily servings easily.
You may have heard that fruits are higher in sugar and that is true so if you’re already consuming 10 servings each day try to stick closer to the following breakdowns:
If you’re naturally on the thinner side and have trouble putting weight on then you can stick to a 3 to 1 ratio of vegetables to fruits.
If you’re generally more muscular, also known as a mesomorph type, stick closer to 4 to 1.
If you’re heavier, have weight to lose, or have difficulty keeping the weight off then opt for a 5 to 1 ratio. This helps to reduce the insulin response and lower the amount of calories consumed.
Some other ways to ensure you are consuming enough veggies is to load half your plate with veggies. Eat fruit for snacks instead of candy or chocolate. Substitute crunchy veggies for crackers. Keep track of how many colours you can work into meals. Plan entire meals around your veggies and use protein sources that pair well with the vegetable rather than the traditional other way around. Regardless of which strategy you find helpful, before each meal ask yourself, “where are the veggies?”
Note: the original title to this post was “Eat your f***ing veggies!” Try reading it again and replace the question of “where are the veggies” with the original title, if that’s your thing.