We know fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber and other substances that are vital for good health. But did you know fruits and vegetables can help you manage your weight? It is true. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling. Consuming more fruits and vegetables along with whole grains, lean meats, nuts, and beans is a safe and healthy way to lose or maintain weight. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some types of cancer and other chronic diseases.
If you are looking to lose weight, you do not necessarily need to eat less food. However, you must eat fewer calories than your body uses. Start by creating lower-calorie versions of some of your favorite dishes by substituting low-calorie fruits and vegetables in place of higher-calorie ingredients. The water and fiber in fruits and veggies will also add volume to your dishes so you can eat the same amount of food with fewer calories.
If you are looking for a snack, why not bring a fruit or vegetable from home instead of purchasing a high calorie snack from a vending machine. Did you know a1-ouncebag of corn chips has as many calories as a small apple or a cup of whole strawberries? So, why not substitute the chips with the apple or strawberries or both to have a satisfying snack with fewer calories. Research shows that snacks help boost nutrition. Most healthy eating plans allow for 1-2 small snacks a day. By choosing fruits and vegetables instead of high calorie foods, you can eat a snack with only 100 calories. Here are some fruit and vegetable snacks that are about 100 calories or less: medium-size apple- 72 calories, medium-size banana- 105 calories, 1 cup blueberries- 83 calories, and 1 cup grapes- 100 calories.
Substitution is important. Although fruit and vegetables are lower in calories than many other foods, they do have calories. If you add fruits and vegetables to what you are already eating, you will add more calories to your diet and may gain weight. Again, the key is substituting high calorie foods with fruits and vegetables. Did you know frozen and canned fruits are just as nutritious as fresh varieties? When purchasing canned fruits, choose those without added sugar, syrup, or other ingredients that will add calories. Since whole fruit will add fiber to your diet and help you feel full, select whole fruit instead of fruit drinks and juices. A 1 ounce serving of orange juice has 85 calories compared to a medium orange that has 65 calories.And it is important to note that whole fruits give you the biggest size snack than the same fruit dried for the same number of calories. For example, a small box of raisins (1/4 cup) is approximately 100 calories. You could eat a cup of grapes for the same calories.
Fruits and vegetables can help you manage and maintain your weight! Remember to substitute high calorie snacks with fruits and vegetables.
Sources:CDC and www.fruitsandveggies.org
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture