We have all heard it: we should eat smaller portions, eat fewer meals and snacks and watch our calories. But that is extremely difficult when the food tastes really good! Not to mention when you’ve eaten they recommend portions and still don’t feel full. Well, I’ve checked in with the dietitians and nutritional experts, on your behalf. So, I’m excited to show you a few tricks you can use to get away with eating big portions, and as often as you want, and still achieve vibrant health!
Before we get into the sneaky stuff, let’s take a look at why “eat less” is such a common mantra. The calories we’re told to reduce come from the carbs, fats and proteins in foods that are usually sweet and greasy. But, while we’re being told to cut back on the calorie-dense sugary drinks and oily meats, we’re being encouraged to fill up on the nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables that are full of healing amino acids and protective phytochemicals. That’s why food researchers and nutrition scientists have been publishing eating guidelines in the form of food groups, pyramids and plates to help get us eating a balanced diet. Most of them (like the USDA’s MyPlate and Harvard School of Public Health’s Healthy Eating Plate) are plant-based. This means that majority of the food we eat come from plants, e.g. fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. However, I love the dietary guidelines of The Plant Based Dietician, Julieanna Hever, which serve up low calories and high nutrients in every meal. To follow a plant-based diet based on her guidelines, we’d eat our fill of Leafy Green Vegetables, High-fat Whole Foods (like nuts and avocado pears), Richly coloured & Starchy Vegetables, Whole Grains, Legumes and Fruit. That’s all! There is absolutely no need for seafood, meat, poultry, eggs nor dairy. This whole food, plant-based diet is the secret to eating all you want.
“Cholesterol has been called the animals’ revenge because the animals you eat leave a little bit of themselves behind in your arteries every time you eat them.” ~Anonymous
The thing is, that meat, dairy and eggs are deficient in vitamin C and essential fats (omega 3 and omega 6), and they have no dietary fibre nor any energy-giving carbohydrates. Meat and eggs lack calcium, while dairy lacks iron. But, all these animal foods are high in protein and fat – saturated fat and cholesterol. This makes them high in calories without being filling; our bodies run down on energy just to digest these animal foods (which is why you feel sleepy at the end of a big lunch).
On the other hand, there are tonnes of benefits to gain from piling our plates high with plant foods. For one, fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains are cholesterol free! Plant foods are low in calories, but high in both macronutrients (Carbohydrates, Protein, Fat & Water) and micronutrients (Vitamins, Minerals, Phytochemicals & Antioxidants). As such, they are proven to reduce our risk of developing chronic diseases (like heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes) and are key to strengthening our immune systems. Plants are the only source of dietary fibre, so they are the best for feeling full without the lethargy, since they also boost our energy levels.
So, now that you know what to pile your plates with, and why, let’s dive into the 3 ways you can make the veggie binge easy:
An amazing habit to pick up is having a vegetable-based soup with your meals. It’s a great filler and you will be sure of getting in your best nutrients before you dive into the other dishes.
It’s a great idea to have a large vegetable salad at the beginning of your meals. Use as many different kinds of produce as possible and make it as colourful as you can. Toss in nuts, seeds and legumes for extra protein and to vary the texture and flavours. Just changing the salad dressing can add even more variety to your veggie routine.
Always begin your day with a green smoothie, green juice or a fruit plate.
So, let’s start a new healthy binge together – piling our plates high with fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes for vibrant health and tummy happiness 😉