When I begin working with client who want to lose weight I encourage them to start small with one simple step: eat more vegetables. Vegetables are full of nutrients and fiber which means they keep us full longer. It’s easy to get into a “vegetable routine” and eat the same vegetables over and over again. While this is great because there are vegetables that we absolutely love eating it can get a little boring at times.
How can you you make eating vegetables more exciting?
One way is to incorporate a variety of vegetables into your diet by eating with the seasons. This means only eating vegetables that are currently in season. This can be a fun way to introduce new vegetables and recipes into your meal rotation.
Here are several vegetables that may not currently be in your kitchen along with the benefits and preparation ideas.
Endive (Belgian and Frisee)
This is a leafy white vegetable that in the shape of a cylinder much like romaine lettuce. Frisee is smaller than belgian endive. Endive is high in vitamin A and has a good amount of vitamin C. It can be enjoyed grilled, boiled, steamed, or raw.
These are the leaves of the yellow dandelion flower. Dandelion greens are very nutrient dense with an abundance of vitamin A, C, and calcium. They taste great in salads, braised, sautéed, or enjoyed in a smoothie.
This root vegetable can be used in its entirety from the bulb, leaves, seeds, and tender. Like many other vegetables, it has a good amount of vitamin C. Fennel adds a mild licorice flavor to other root vegetables such as beets, carrots, and onions when roasted together.
This vegetable is also called “lady fingers” because of the long thin shape of it. Okra is a very nutrient dense vegetable that’s high in fiber and vitamin C. Okra is best prepared steamed for about 4 minutes and then sliced.
Jicama is root vegetable that has bit of sweetness to it and adds a nice crunch to salads. The first time I had jicama was in a salad with butter lettuce and it was delicious. It’s very high in vitamin C and potassium. This a great vegetable to add to stir fry. It’s important to only eat the flesh of the jicama as this is the only edible part of the plant. The skin, seeds, leaves, stems, and pods should be discarded after peeling and slicing the jicama.
Leeks are cousins of onions but are milder in flavor. They’re great base for adding flavor to soups as well as cooked in a stir fry. They can also be enjoyed raw when tossed into a salad. They are high in vitamin K and A and are loaded with antioxidants.
Beets are a root vegetable that aren’t as common as others. Beets have an earthy flavor to them and can be enjoyed roasted or sautéed. Beets add a nice crunch to salads when sliced very thin. They can also be cooked and cooled and then added to salads. Beets are high in antioxidants and helps decrease inflammation. They’re also high in fiber like most vegetables so they keep you satiated longer.
You can see a pattern here with vegetables. Most of them are packed with nutrients our bodies need to thrive. I really like that I can get an abundance of nutrients from so many different healthy food sources. This helps meals stay exciting and flavorful which makes it easier to make healthy food choices to support weight loss goals.
Here’s a breakdown of which vegetables grow in which season.
Spring vegetables include the following: artichokes, arugula, asparagus, avocados, baby leeks, beets, Belgian endive, broccoli, cauliflower, dandelion greens, fava beans, green onions, green peas, kale, lettuce, mushrooms, radishes, red potatoes, rhubarb, snap beans, snow peas, spinach, sugar snap peas, sweet onions, and Swiss chard.
Summer vegetables include the following: avocados, beets, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, celery, chili peppers, collards, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, jicama, lima beans, okra, pattypan squash, peas, radicchio, radishes, summer squash, and tomatoes.
Fall vegetables include the following: belgian endive, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, escarole, fennel, frisee, leeks, mushrooms, parsnips, pumpkins, red potatoes, rutabagas, shallots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and yukon gold potatoes.
Winter vegetables include the following: baby turnips, beets, belgian endive, brussels sprouts, celery root, chili peppers, dried beans, escarole, fennel, frisee, jerusalem artichokes, kale, leeks, mushrooms, parsnips, potatoes, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, turnips, watercress, and winter squash.
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