Oh, the weather outside is frightful. Well, it’s not really THAT bad, but it’s dag on cold. That’s kept Peanut and I inside for the last two days. The break was definitely welcome. Last week was pretty hectic and our schedule is only getting busier as the holidays draw nearer. Plus, I greatly appreciated the extra time to prep my very first Weight Watchers meeting. The presentation is tomorrow and I’m REALLY excited. I’m also pretty nervous. My boss’ boss is coming from out of state to observe and give feedback. This is the “final exam” of my leader training & mentoring. If all goes well, I’ll be a tried & true Weight Watchers leader around noon tomorrow.
I’ve also been vegging out in the more literal sense. I’ve been noticing that my veggie consumption tends to taper off in the winter months while the amount of carbs in my diet tend to rise as the temperatures fall. I attribute some of that to the fact that I love big, veggieful salads in the warmer months, but have no desire to eat them when it’s cold outside. I’ve been making a conscious effort lately to incorporate more veggies into my diet while trying to cut back on eating so many carbs, especially the refined stuff. Guess what? I don’t feel as puffy, my energy level is much higher and I’m more, er, …regular. Coincidence? I think not. Here are a few ways I’m finding to get those veggie servings in every day.
- Substitute veggies for bread. Sometimes I skip the bread altogether and turn my favorite toppings into a bowl. I take the things I’d usually put on a sandwich, throw it all in a bowl and add tons of veggies. In this one I have a Boca Spicy Chik’n patty, torn up slice of mozzarella cheese, broccoli and sliced mushrooms and dijon mustard.
- Start the day right…with veggies! For me, breakfast is the easiest meal to skip the veggies. I tend to stick with carbs & protein first thing in the morning. However, it’s a great opportunity to get your day of healthy eating off on the right foot. I love egg & cheese sammies. It takes just a few extra seconds to add veggies. It ups the nutritional value and will help keep you full further into the day. I’ve also found that I want more veggies throughout the day when I eat them with breakfast. Tomato, mushrooms and greens of any kind are delish on breakfast sandwiches! In this case, I added spinach.
- Bulk up. Have you ever meticulously measured out a serving of a certain food and thought, “That’s it?” I have. I’m a quantity eater. That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate the quality of food first and foremost, but I like to feel satisfied at the end of a meal. If I’m still hungry, that lends itself to snacking later in the evening or middle-of-the night belly growls that lead me to the kitchen at 2AM. Not good. I like to use vegetables to bulk up mostly-meat dishes. Take my favorite Sweet & Sour Chicken recipe. When I make it, I almost always double the amount of green peppers and onions while leaving all of the other ingredients in their original quantities. That I can get away with. I’ve tried to add even more veggies into the mix such as broccoli, water chestnuts and celery, but hubby complains that there’s not enough meat. So, I prepare the dish as usual and add the bonus veggies into just my serving. I get the satiety I need from the meal without eating double portions of the meat. This adds quite a bit of extra food for not a lot of calories. Here’s that exact Sweet & Sour chicken dish bulked up with celery.
- Skip the chips. Chips and crackers aren’t the only crunchy snacks that pair well with soup or sandwiches. Raw veggies are more nutritious and will increase your satiety. Keep some cut up in the fridge so that they’re a convenient and easy option when you’re in a hury. Oh, and just FYI, buffalo wing sauce is delicious drizzled over broccoli. Just sayin’. 😉
- Remember the rule of plates. Half of your plate veggies, quarter protein, quarter starch. Katie tweeted about this during FitBlog chat a few weeks ago. It was a great reminder for me! Since then, I’ve been working really hard to follow this rule at every meal, especially focusing on dinner when I’m more likely to slack (or neglect altogether) the non-starchy vegetables. Here’s my plate of 1/2 green beans, 1/4 chicken sausage and 1/4 brown rice: