Make Vegetables the Star of the Show

I grew up with my family creating a very successful hamburger, family-style restaurant chain, but I must confess, my love diet has gravitated more toward vegetables, and away from beef every year.

Vegetables deliver excellent nutritional possibilities at a reduced calorie count.  In the Weight Watchers system, vegetables are point-free.  Summer is the Olympics of the vegetable growing season.  The possibilities are boundless with a cornucopia of colors and possibilities.

Vegetables can be the star of many meals or can be added to whole-grain, complex carbohydrates to increase the density of the dish.   An example of this would be to take 1 cup of cooked whole wheat pasta or farro.  Typically that may be a side dish or double or triple it and the pasta may be served as an entrée.  It may have 4-6 ounces of chicken or steak with it and a side of broccoli for a total calorie count between 500-1200 calories.

The vegetable makeover would include 1 cup of the complex carbohydrate, slicing 4 ounces of the protein on the bias (at an angle).  Add 1 cup broccoli,   ¼ cup steamed or grilled asparagus, mushrooms or chopped tomatoes.  Now add fresh herbs, a splash of balsamic vinegar or glaze, red pepper flakes or squeeze a small lemon and add sautéed garlic for flavor.  This new, delicious creation makes 2-3 portions and reduces the total calorie total to approximately 300-400 calories.

Two vegetables that I’ve recently added to my daily cooking are jicama and kale.  I’ve tried different varieties of kale to find the type that I like best and have experimented with different preparations for both.  It’s been a culinary adventure!

What’s your vegetable nemesis?  Eggplant? Brussels sprouts?  Onions, mushroom’s or spinach?  Stay open to the possibility that the flavor you remember as a child, may be different to you now!  If you hated boiled Brussels sprouts as a youngster, peel and slice them thinly.  Sauté them at high heat with 1 tablespoon lemon-infused olive oil and garlic, adding roasted pine nuts, fresh herbs (basil, chives or thyme) and sprinkle freshly shaved Regianno parmesan over the top.  I bet you’ll love the flavor a lot better.

Following the updated MyPlate recommendations and having at least half of your dinner plate covered with vegetables in conjunction with exercise can help you reach your weight goals AND enjoy a delicious meal.



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