Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fruits and Veggie Challenge Week 1

Here is a summary of my Weight Watchers meeting on July 6th, 2010.

This week we kicked off a new challenge 4 Weeks to 5 a Day!

Each week a new challenge will be given to help us add more fruits and veggies to our daily menus.

What are the BENEFITS of Fruits and Vegetables?

Fruits and Vegetables aid in Weight Management.
Fruits and vegetables come in every color of the rainbow, but their real beauty lies in what's inside. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of many vitamins, minerals and other natural substances that may help protect you from chronic diseases. People who eat more generous amounts of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthful diet are likely to have reduced risk of chronic diseases, including stroke and perhaps other cardiovascular diseases, and certain cancers.

To get a healthy variety, think color. Eating fruits and vegetables of different colors gives your body a wide range of valuable nutrients, like fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamins A and C. Some examples include green spinach and grapes, orange sweet potatoes and oranges, yellow corn and bananas, purple plums and onions, red tomatoes and watermelon. Look for more variety, try something new regularly.

How can Fruits and Vegetables help you manage your weight?
Substituting fruits and vegetables for higher-calorie foods can be an important part of your weight loss strategy. Fruits and vegetables are a natural source of energy and gives your body many nutrients you need to keep going. Make them part of your healthy eating plan. There are many different ways to lose or maintain a healthy weight. Using more fruits and vegetables along with whole grains, dairy and lean meats is a safe and healthy way. The Good Healthy Guidelines are an important part of your plan for good health.

To lose weight, you must eat fewer calories than your body uses.
This doesn't necessarily mean that you have to eat less food. You can create 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 vegetables will add volume to your dishes, so you can eat the same amount of food for fewer points. Most fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and are filling.

Here are some simple ways to cut calories and eat fruits and vegetables throughout your day that was shared in the meeting room this week:

Breakfast: This is the best way to start our day, so do not skip this meal.
Substitute lots of vegetables like spinach, onions, tomatoes and mushrooms for half of the cheese in your morning omelet. The vegetables will add volume and flavor to the dish with fewer points than cheese.

Use less cereal in your bowl to make room for bananas, peaches, or strawberries. You can still eat a full bowl, but with fewer points.

Stir low-fat or fat-free granola into a bowl of low-fat or fat-free yogurt. Top with sliced apples or berries.

Add strawberries, blueberries, or bananas to your waffles, pancakes, cereal, oatmeal, or toast.

Top toasted whole-grain bread with peanut butter and sliced bananas.

Lunch/Dinner: Add vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, or onions to your sandwich, wrap, or burrito and use less cheese and meat. The veggies will fill you up for fewer points value.

Add a cup of chopped vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, zucchini, squash or red, yellow, green peppers, in place of meat or noodles in your favorite broth-based soup. The vegetables will help fill you up, so you won't miss all those extra calories.

Add in 1 cup of chopped vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes, squash, onions, or peppers, while removing 1 cup of the rice or pasta in your favorite dish. The dish with the vegetables will be just as satisfying but have fewer calories than the same amount of the original version. Try adding veggies to the Weight Watcher’s Side Dishes for a very satisfying meal.

Ask for more vegetable toppings (like mushrooms, peppers, and onions) and less cheese on your pizza.

Add chopped apples, pears, or raspberries to your salad.

Add broccoli, green beans, corn, or peas to a casserole or pasta.

Try eating at least 2 vegetables with dinner.

Take a good look at your dinner plate. Vegetables and fruit, should account for half the food on your dinner plate. If they do not, replace some of the meat, pasta, or rice with more steamed broccoli, asparagus, greens, or another favorite vegetable. This will reduce the total points in your meal without reducing the amount of food you eat.

BUT remember to use a normal- or small plate — not a platter. The total number of calories that you eat counts, even if a good proportion of them come from fruits and vegetables.

Healthy Low Point Snacks:
a small apple
a small banana
1 cup steamed green beans
1 cup blueberries
1 cup grapes
1 cup carrots
1 cup broccoli
1 cup bell peppers
2 tbsp. hummus

Instead of a high-calorie snack from a vending machine, bring some cut-up vegetables or fruit. Did you know that one snack-sized bag of corn chips (1 ounce) has the same number of calories as a small apple, 1 cup of whole strawberries, AND 1 cup of carrots with 1/4 cup of low-calorie dip.

Remember: Substitution is the key.

Eat fruits and vegetables the way nature provided—or with fat-free or low-fat cooking techniques. Try steaming your vegetables, using low fat/ fat free dressings, and adding herbs and spices for more flavor.

Eat your fruit raw to enjoy its natural sweetness.

Canned or frozen fruits and vegetables are good options when fresh produce is not available. However, be careful to choose those without added sugar, syrup, cream sauces, or other ingredients that will add calories.

Whole fruit gives you a bigger size snack than the same fruit dried—for the same number of calories. A small box of raisins (1/4 cup) is about 100 calories. For the same number of calories, you can eat 1 cup of grapes.

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