If there's one food group we can all stand to eat a little more of, it's . . . well, you can probably guess: vegetables. According to registered dietitian Michele Fumagalli, LDN, of the Northwestern Running Clinic, vegetables are key no matter what your health goals are: losing weight, maintaining weight, building muscle, or just feeling better. And as a nationally ranked CrossFitter, she says they're one of her biggest food priorities throughout the day.
"I eat veggies as much as I can," Michele told POPSUGAR. Apart from breakfast, she tries to eat them at every meal, and in high portions as well. "If we could aim for half of our plate to be vegetables at lunch and dinner, we're setting ourselves up for success," she said. It's a little harder to eat them at breakfast, Michele acknowledged, since you might not have time to cook an egg and veggie scramble or blend up a spinach smoothie. "If you do get your vegetables in at breakfast, it's a win," Michele said. "But if you don't, then let's do them in a snack instead." Not feeling carrot sticks and celery? Here are some fresh veggie snack ideas to get you started. Or take a page out of Michele's book: "I eat red peppers like apples," she told POPSUGAR. "I have one in my bag right now!"
However you do it, getting more vegetables is key for a healthier diet. Besides being high in nutrients like fiber, potassium, and vitamins A and C, they're also naturally low in calories — a big help if you're trying to lose weight. Here are 10 ways you can eat more of them and start shedding pounds right now.
Michele isn't 100 percent veggies, 100 percent of the time, though, and doesn't think you need to be either; "I eat burgers, too, because I enjoy them," she said. Taking care of your body isn't about depriving yourself, she added. "When you love your body, you fuel it properly. But you also love yourself enough to say, 'I love this food and I'm going to enjoy it.' Food is there for enjoyment as well."