Best Vegetables for Dieting

couple enjoying vegetables

Overall, the best vegetables for dieting are any that you like. Including as many vegetables as possible can make a difference to your weight loss goals. Many people have negative associations to eating vegetables. NLP anchoring technique is an excellent way to create more empowering ones.

Future pacing your day’s meals with lots of vegetables – planning when and where can make it much easier to include them also. If we are not prepared, it is too easy to take the path of least resistance and head to the nearest junk food stop.

Diet benefits of including more vegetables

  1. They fill you up so you don’t feel hungry. The fiber helps you feel full for longer and you feel full on less calories. Starvation diets undermine weight loss in a number of ways.
    • When you are constantly hungry, eventually your willpower will lose. You cannot override your hunger hormones indefinitely – they are a survival response.
    • The chronic stress of deprivation hunger triggers cortisol – your worst weight loss nightmare. Cortisol breaks down muscle and therefore slows down your metabolism. Maintaining muscle mass is vital.
  2. Vegetables contain large amounts of essential nutrients. If you don’t get enough protein, essential vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals, you will feel lethargic and will be less enthusiastic about exercise and movement – also essential for weight loss. You will also not have the building blocks to maintain muscle and repair tissue – your body will break down muscle to get what it needs.
  3. You can have lots of variety. There are so many interesting vegetables and ways to cook them. Boredom can be a big diet challenge. Introducing herbs, spices and vegetables can provide a new and interesting banquet every day.
  4. They are generally high in water content with a high ratio of potassium to sodium, making them good to reduce water retention. Western diets generally have the opposite – high sodium to potassium ratio making water weight a common problem.
  5. All vegetables have minuscule amounts of fats. Studies show fruit fats (olive, avocado, and coconut) actually help weight control.
  6. Several studies link higher calcium intake to lower healthy body weight (1)

Lowest Calories

(grams per 100grams/4oz)

  • Watercress – 11
  • Cucumber – 12
  • Boy Choy (Chinese cabbage) -13
  • Iceberg lettuce – 14
  • Celery – 16
  • Tomatoes – 16red-tomatoes
  • Radish – 19
  • Eggplant (raw) – 24
  • Green peppers – 20
  • Asparagus – 20
  • Alfalfa sprouts – 23
  • Mushrooms – 22
  • Cabbage (cooked) – 24

Highest protein

(grams per 100grams/4oz)

  • Garlic – 6.4high-protein-veges
  • Peas – 5.4
  • Alfalfa sprouts – 3.9
  • Brussel Sprouts – 3.6
  • Kale – 3.3
  • Mushrooms – 3.1
  • Broccoli -3
  • Parsley – 3
  • Spinach – 2.9
  • Collards – 2.5

Lowest Carbohydrates

(grams per 100 grams/4oz)

  • Alfalfa sprouts – 2.1
  • Boy Choy (Chinese cabbage) – 2.2
  • Cucumber – 2.2low-calorie-veges
  • Lettuce – 2.6
  • Watercress – 3
  • Tomatoes – 3.2
  • Mushrooms – 3.3
  • Celery – 3.9
  • Asparagus – 3.9
  • Cabbage (cooked) 4.2
  • Radish – 4.2
  • Spinach – 4.5
  • Green peppers – 4.7
  • Asparagus – 5.1
  • Cauliflower – 5.2
  • Eggplant – 5.7

High in calcium

(grams per 100 grams/4oz)

  • Turnip greens – 190kale
  • Dandelion greens -187
  • Collards -145
  • Parsley – 138
  • Kale – 135
  • Watercress – 120
  • Bok Choy – 105
  • Spinach – 99

Source: USDA database

(1) Calcium and weight control studies

  • Davies KM, Heaney RP, Recker RR, Lappe JM, Barger-Lux MJ, Rafferty K, et al. Calcium intake and body weight. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2000;85:4635-8.
  • Heaney RP. Normalizing calcium intake: projected population effects for body weight. J Nutr 2003;133:268S-70S.
  • Parikh SJ, Yanovski JA. Calcium intake and adiposity. Am J Clin Nutr 2003;77:281-7.
  • Zemel MB. Regulation of adiposity and obesity risk by dietary calcium: mechanisms and implications. J Am Coll Nutr 2002;21:146S-51S.
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