Here we are at the start of yet another year, and if you’re looking to lose weight, you’re not alone.
Maybe those extra holiday indulgences have left your jeans a bit snug?
Or, maybe the pandemic restrictions that have lingered now for months on end have resulted in you leading a more sedentary lifestyle, and you’re seeing that evidence on the scale?
No matter the reason, if weight loss tops your list of resolutions for this year, this means you are zoning in on your dietary habits.
It’s not new news, weight loss efforts inevitably involve making some changes in the kitchen.
And, while losing weight doesn’t necessarily mean never eating a Snickers bar ever again, it does involve an evaluation of what you’re putting into your body.
Generally speaking, weight loss happens when you consume fewer calories than you burn each day. But, (and I’m sure you’ve heard this saying) “not all calories are created equal.”
Some foods contain a large amount of calories for very little substance.
And others, well, they pack a bigger bang for their buck when it comes to both weight loss and overall health.
One such food group that qualifies here: vegetables!
So, if you find yourself foregoing a Big Mac for a big salad, which veggies are the best choices when it comes to aiding your weight loss efforts?
Benefits Of Veggies In Weight Loss
First, why veggies?
Vegetables are about as natural as you can get!
No lab intervention. No artificial colors, flavors or other additives. (if you go with fresh)
Full of vitamins, minerals, and disease fighting antioxidants, veggies are packed with essentials that your body truly needs.
They are generally low in calories. And, vegetables are often high in fiber, which not only offers internal aid, but also leaves you feeling fuller longer. And, I don’t have to tell you how helpful that is when losing weight!
Besides the above benefits, research has proven the following to also be true concerning vegetables:
- adding specific (we’ll get to those specifics in a moment) vegetables daily to your diet is associated with long term weight loss
- those who incorporate large servings of vegetables in their diet experience increased happiness, more satisfaction in life, and a better overall well-being
- some veggies both boost metabolism and can even “turn off belly fat genes” resulting in a slimmer waistline for consumers
But, while all fresh vegetables have nutritional value, making them beneficial to your health, some are better than others when it comes to aiding in weight loss.
So, let’s take a look at which ones top the weight loss list…
Best Vegetable Choices (For Weight Loss)
From spinach to kale, varying types of lettuce, collard greens, and swiss chard, leafy greens are loaded with fiber, yet they are super low in carbs and calories.
Greens are a great way to pack in a ton of nutrition in everything from salads to smoothies.
These types of greens are also high in calcium, which some studies show aids specifically in burning fat.
Spinach, in particular, is high in protein which can aid in muscle growth and recovery post workout (I guess Popeye was onto something). This then boosts weight loss as increases in muscle mass can result in greater calorie burn, even after you workout.
Another win for spinach? It contains a compound that has been found to reduce cravings!
Overall, leafy greens are a great way to bulk up your meals without packing on the calories, resulting in great benefits to your health and boosts to your weight loss efforts.
Okay, so this encompasses a whole category of vegetables, but each of these veggies are great fat burners!
Cruciferous vegetables include: broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and cabbage.
These vegetables, like leafy greens, are high in volume (and fiber) but contain very few calories. This makes them incredibly filling, again giving you the most bang for your caloric buck.
Eating cruciferous veggies has been found to guard against obesity.
And, some newer studies have found that these vegetables may increase feelings of fullness and decrease appetite due to a particular compound found in them (isothiocyanate).
Even better, they are also super nutritious, containing needed vitamins and minerals as well as disease fighting antioxidants.
Possibly the biggest weight loss aid in the group though has to be broccoli.
This delicious green veggie contains phytonutrients that are known to combat body fat storage. And, it is also high in vitamin C, which has been known to lower cortisol levels, a hormone associated with abdominal weight gain.
Hot, or spicy, peppers often hog the limelight when it comes to weight loss, but the non-spicy versions offer some great benefits in this area as well.
Bell peppers (particularly the sweet red and green ones) are loaded with vitamin C which is known to decrease cortisol levels, thus combating the storage of body fat in your abdomen.
These peppers also contain a powerful metabolism booster: dihydrocapsiate.
This compound is similar to capsaicin, which is found in spicy peppers. But here, you can reap those thermogenic effects without the heat.
Bell peppers are also another vegetable that is high in fiber but low in calories.
Sometimes we get trapped into thinking that adding in a lot of veggies for weight loss equates to eating salads for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
First, that’s definitely not the case. Most of the veggies listed above can be roasted, sauteed, steamed, eaten raw, and added to countless recipes (including less obvious options like smoothies).
But, I find spaghetti squash, aside from its other benefits, to be unique. The main reason: pasta!
For carb-lovers everywhere, pasta can be a big roadblock to weight loss as it is high in calories and carbs. And, it doesn’t really pack much of a punch nutritionally either.
Spaghetti squash is not only delicious, it’s also versatile! You can bake it, then shred it, and use it in place of most any pasta.
It is low in fat and high in fiber, making it a filling vegetable.
And, spaghetti squash only has 42 calories per cup. Actual spaghetti on the other hand contains nearly 190 calories per cup and nearly 40 grams of carbohydrates!
Carrots & Celery & Cucumbers, Oh My!
I know, I know…these are totally separate veggies. And, I’ll list their benefits separately, but hear me out.
Raise your hand if snacking tends to get the best of you when it comes to your weight loss efforts?
Each of these veggies, besides their nutritional and other weight loss benefits, can also aid in shedding extra pounds as they make great crunchy, yet filling, snack options.
You can keep these on hand when you’re sitting at your desk or even in front of the television and basically snack “all you want.”
Carrots, celery, and cucumbers are each high in fiber and low in calories, but let’s take a look at their individual benefits:
- Carrots, whether you like them cooked or for a raw, crunchy snack, are loaded with fiber and contain beta carotene. They are also known to be helpful in cleansing your liver, making them a valuable tool for weight loss by increasing the secretion of bile thereby boosting metabolism and helping to break down fat.
- The fiber in celery helps with digestion, and its water content reduces belly bloating and keeps you hydrated. It’s also incredibly low in calories with only 5 per stalk!
- Cucumbers are high in antioxidants and support a healthy digestive system. Their low calorie, and high water, content makes them great vegetables to incorporate into your diet when looking to shed pounds.
Bonus: Add a little vinegar to your cukes and you’ve got another win in the weight loss veggie category! Okay…there’s actually a little more to it than simply adding vinegar to cucumbers to make pickles, but nonetheless, they make a great, healthy snack. Not only do you get the weight loss benefits from the cucumbers, but the vinegar used in the pickling process is known to amp up the rate at which your body burns off carbohydrates!
While not considered to be the best veggie in the odor category, both pre and post consumption, onions do boast some great weight loss benefits!
Onions are low calorie, high in fiber, and are super versatile, adding flavor to just about any dish, cooked or raw.
But, their biggest boost to weight loss efforts comes from their quercetin content.
Quercetin is a flavonoid that works within the body by activating a protein known for glucose regulation. It also reduces inflammation, increases calorie burn, and helps to keep new fat cells from forming.
While vegetables are certainly nutrient rich, needed components of a healthy diet, I think we often overlook the tremendous benefits they bring to weight loss efforts.
Consider amping up your intake of the above listed vegetables and aid your weight loss efforts with these low calorie options that can also result in…
- boosted metabolism
- greater fat burning capabilities
- improved digestion
- reduced inflammation
- greater caloric burn
- inhibition of fat cell growth
- increased feelings of fullness
- reduced cravings
This Toxic Vegetable Is The #1 Danger In Your Diet
There is 1 “toxic” vegetable that you should remove from your diet IMMEDIATELY.
This vegetable could be toxic to your health and may actually be causing weight gain, digestive issues, brain fog, and fatigue.
Many food manufacturers market this 1 vegetable as a “health super food.”
This vegetable is one that most Americans consume on a daily basis.
P.S. There is also a “toxic” plant protein that is hiding in foods that we have considered healthy our entire lives and according to research it could be the #1 biggest danger in the American diet.