Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I hope you celebrated by treating yourself to something special this weekend. I treated myself by sleeping in Sunday morning and taking a 10 mile walk in this beautiful Arizona weather. It was the first time I hit the pavement seriously since my foot injury and it felt great being outside and smelling the desert air. I’m not going to lie. It hurt.
It was probably sooner than my foot was ready for, but part of me needed to see if my body remembered how to do it. My pace was slow, but I kept telling myself go slow, it’s ok to go slow, finishing is all that matters Megan. When I finished my foot hurt, but after stretching and icing I felt much better. I can’t say the same for the rest of my body though. Although I’ve maintained my fitness during my recovery, walking 10 miles requires muscles working together differently than spin class, swimming or elliptical which is primarily what I’ve been doing the last two months. So that’s how I celebrated!
In honor of this green holiday, let’s discuss eating greens. Do you know how many fruits and vegetables are green? When I made this list, I was surprised how many fruits and vegetables are green. I’m sure I missed a few too…maybe 10 or 100!
Green fruits and vegetables are all around us and besides being packed with ton of nutrients they also have amazing benefits like these.
1. Antioxidants – Green foods contain high levels of antioxidants which protect the body from illness. Foods like spinach and broccoli are considered super foods for the high amount of antioxidants they contain.
2. Low Calories – Green foods contain lots of water which keep the calorie count low. Adding green foods to recipes can bulk up meals without adding significant calories.
3. Low Carbs, High Fiber – Green foods generally have low carbohydrates. They are packed with fiber which means staying full longer and assisting the body remove impurities.
The amount of fruits and vegetables an individual needs depends on the person. In general, 1-2 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables per day. The CDC has a calculator on their website that displays the amount needed based on age, gender and activity level. This is what it said for me.
This is what was displayed as 1 cup and 1/2 cup serving examples. I like these examples. They are practical and represent common foods that most people have in the home and are likely to eat. Something I don’t like. There are only two vegetable examples displayed. Vegetables are the one thing almost every person is not getting enough of in their diet.
Before my weight-loss, I rarely ate vegetables. Most people don’t believe me when I tell them this. Eating vegetables is like eating sushi. It’s an aquired taste. Most people aren’t going to start doing it willingly. As I lost weight and became more active, my body began to crave different foods as fuel. Most people don’t believe this either, but it’s true! Even now, my performance and energy level is impacted noticeably when I’m not eating the right things. If you change what your’re eating and what you’re doing together, your body will crave more of the good stuff.
Number one is THE most important piece of advice I have for you. Find vegetables you love! Then figure out how you like to eat them and experiment with sneaking them into existing dishes and baked goods. For example, I always toss 1-2 veggies in my morning eggs and 2 or more in my lunch. At work, I’m known as the brussels sprouts girl because I’m always eating them. I love them and when you find a food you love, you will be more likely to eat it.
Another tip I have for you. When you’re craving something you know you shouldn’t eat like that late night ice cream or chips, before diving in ask yourself this “would I eat my favorite vegetable right now?” If your answer is no, then you’re not really hungry. Put down the snacks and go to bed!
Enjoy this green holiday and eat those greens. See you tomorrow for a green treat!
Questions – What green is missing on my list? What are your favorite greens? Do you think you are eating enough greens?