Veggies! Everyone loves vegetables, right? Well if you don't, you should, and I'll explain why. For the purposes of this article, when I'm talking about vegetables, I mean non-starchy vegetables. This includes all of the vegetables you could possibly think of, with the exception of the following:
Beans (with the exception of green beans)
Now to clarify, all of the above are healthy foods. Yes, white potatoes are healthy (gasp!). Anyway...the above foods are considered starchy vegetables. You can eat them, but they would be considered the starch of your meal. They contain more calories and carbohydrates compared to the non-starchy vegetables we'll be talking about.
So, non-starchy vegetables; think carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, asparagus, lettuce, and the list goes on. These foods are nutritious and healthy, but they also provide you with another secret benefit- they fill you up! You can eat a large volume of vegetables without adding a lot of calories. For example, one cup of raw broccoli will run you only about 30 calories. If you are looking to lose weight but not feel like you're starving to death, vegetables are your new best friend!
Fill half your plate with vegetables. This will make it easier to have smaller portions of the higher calorie foods on your plate, being your meat and starch. Create a list of the veggies your family enjoys and make sure you have at least 2-3 of these at your house at all times. I personally really like to stock up on frozen options. Just take out what you need and stick them in the microwave. Frozen vegetables are safe to keep for 8-12 months depending on the kind, so you don't have to worry about them going bad before you have time to use them.
Bagged salad is another quick and convenient option. Feel free to get creative when adding other vegetables and toppings to keep your salads interesting and different. I recommend choosing an oil based dressing rather than creamy ones to keep the calories low.
For fresh vegetable options, buy produce that is in season for the best flavor and cost savings. When buying fresh vegetables, don't take meal planning for granted! Letting produce rot in your fridge just to be thrown out a few weeks later is obviously something you want to avoid, so try to know when you plan to use your veggies, and have all the ingredients on hand for your recipe.