Its summer and many great vegetables are in season. During the heat you also feel like eating a little lighter. This is a great time to include more vegetables in your diet.
How to count vegetable in your meal plan
There are starchy and non-starchy vegetables. The starchy vegetables include potatoes, yams, peas, corn, plantains, and winter squash (acorn, butternut, and pumpkin). These starchy vegetables are about 15 grams of carb for ½ cup serving (winter squash is 1 cup for 15 grams of carb). Non-starchy vegetables, contain only 5 grams of carb for 1 cup raw or ½ cup cooked. So, you can eat 3 cups of leafy greens and that only adds up to 15 grams of carb. Non-starchy vegetable are also very low in calories, so you can fill up and not feel guilty.
5 ideas for veggies
Vegetables can help to control calories and carbs in your diet. Think about filling ½ your plate with non-starchy vegetables. Try these ideas to add more vegetables to your daily meal plan.
Grilled veggies. Skewer or place directly on the grill vegetables like peppers, onions, yellow or green squash, or eggplant. Almost any variety of vegetables will work in a grill basket too.
Veggie wrapper. Try some leafy greens instead of bread or tortillas for your sandwich. Create different filling for the greens like a spicy bean mix.
Raw veggies. Keep raw veggies in view in your refrigerator, all cut up and ready to eat. Dip raw veggies in healthy dips like hummus, salsa, or bean dip.
Replace grains with veggies. Try replacing pasta and rice with half-veggie portions. Use grated zucchini or carrots or chopped peppers and mushrooms. Try eggplant slices in lasagna. In mashed potatoes, try ½ mashed cauliflower or mashed turnips.
Salads. This seems like an easy one, but I often hear that people get bored with salads. My advice is to change it up--change the greens, vegetables, protein, and dressings. Try adding fresh or dried fruit, beans, quinoa, nuts, or avocado. Get creative and enjoy salads for a meal.