Low-Carb Vegetables to Add to Your Diet

Cutting back on carbohydrates can be an effective way to lose weight. While cutting out bread and pasta are no-brainers when it comes to limiting carb intake, carbs can also be found in unlikely places, like vegetables. Vegetables are necessary for a healthy diet, but it’s all about finding the right ones for your body and personal health goals. If you’re looking to lose weight or stay lean, look for the following low-carb/high-fiber vegetables:

Zucchini

One cup of raw zucchini contains only four grams of carbs, a quarter of which being fiber. Zucchini is extremely filling, firm in texture, and mild in taste, making it a perfect substitute to many favorite foods. Swap french fries for baked zucchini spears, pasta for zucchini noodles, or lasagna noodles for thick, vertical slices of zucchini to make low carb, delicious meals.

Bell Peppers

Chock-full of antioxidants, bell peppers are crunchy, tasty, and low in carbohydrates. One cup of bell peppers contains only 9 grams of carbs, 3 of them being fiber. For a low-carb, yet satisfying meal, try a tuna fish salad-stuffed out bell pepper, and feel free to get creative.

Green Beans

Though a member of the legume family, green beans are much lower in carbs than other beans. One cup of green beans has just 10 grams of carbs, almost half of which is fiber. This vegetable is the perfect side to a protein, but also great thrown into a veggie stir-fry for some added crunch.

Cucumbers

Eating a cucumber is comparable to drinking water. While they may not contain as much fiber as some of the other vegetables on this list, they are one of the lowest in carbohydrate levels. A cup of cucumber is only 4 grams of carbs, with one of those being fiber. Swap carrot sticks or pita chips for cucumber slices when dipping into hummus or salsa for a healthy snack.

Tomatoes

Containing 6 grams of carbs, a third of which being fiber, tomatoes are an incredibly healthy addition to most diets. Though technically a fruit, tomatoes are often seen as vegetables and are high in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium.

Celery

Also high in water content, celery is much higher in fiber than cucumber. Celery is great dipped into nut butter or hummus, or added to soups and stews, and with only 3 grams of carbs (2 of them being fiber), celery is a snack you can feel good about.

Many people think of carbohydrates in a traditional sense, solely contained in breads and pasta. It’s easy to forget that almost everything has some level carb-count. Carbohydrates are necessary for energy levels and digestion, but it’s all about finding those that are right for you. Incorporating these vegetables into your diet will offer you healthier alternatives to some carb-heavy foods.

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To Bag or Not to Bag? Salad Greens and Their Nutrients

Eating a salad for lunch sounds like a healthy enough choice. Indeed, it’s an easy go-to for many people who are trying to cut calories — not just for the midday meal, but anytime. But where’s the real nutritional value in all those leafy greens? And is buying bagged greens worth the convenience? Read on for the answers — some of which may be surprising.

Beware the pre-wash

Often, bagged greens are pre-washed, which adds to the convenience factor but can actually be a detriment in the long run, as many of the essential vitamins are water-soluble. Buy a whole head of lettuce instead, chop in advance (see below for more details on why), and wash as you go. It won’t take too much extra time, and the nutritional value will be largely retained.

The effects of cutting

Interestingly enough, damaged plants may actually be able to produce more polyphenols, which can protect against osteoporosis, heart disease, and even certain cancers. So don’t worry about losing nutrients through chopping in advance.

Check the dates

This is an important habit to develop, no matter what the product: Look for the best-by date, and select a package with the latest date available. The fresher the product, the better the quality, particularly when it comes to produce.

The packing process: help or hindrance?

Packaged greens are bagged using a “modified atmosphere” technique, which essentially reduces the amount of surrounding oxygen, thereby allowing the greens a longer shelf life. Does this harm the product? Interestingly, no: Studies have shown that beta carotene, folate, and vitamin C are all aided by the modified atmosphere process. In addition, it keeps the vegetables looking good for a longer period of time, meaning they’re less likely to be pitched out due to wilting or browning.

So, to bag or not to bag?

The answer depends largely on when you’re planning on eating the greens. For same-day or next-day cooking, the pre-packaged product is fine. If, however, the plan is to eat a salad every day for a week, it’s best to buy whole heads and prepare them in the method described above. The nutrient loss in packaged greens occurs at a more accelerated rate, so they’re best consumed as soon as possible. If, however, the choice is between packaged greens or no greens at all, it’s always prudent to go with the former.

Originally posted on ZeeshanHoodbhoy.com