Fruits and Vegetables - Fill Up With Fewer Calories

Families, Food and Fitness July 06, 2010 Print Friendly and PDF

Managing your weight doesn’t mean you need to eat less food. It may mean changing the kinds of foods you normally eat. One way to do this is by eating more fruits and vegetables in place of high-calorie foods. The water and fiber in fruits and vegetables add volume to make you feel full.

You can begin with breakfast. Try substituting spinach, onions, or mushrooms for part of the cheese in your omelet. Enjoy a full bowl of cereal by substituting cut-up fruit, such as bananas or strawberries, for some of the cereal.

Girl eating strawberry

If you eat out for lunch, look for deli-type sandwich shops. Fill your sandwich with tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, and other vegetables instead of cheese and high-fat meat. Try a pita or wrap with fresh vegetables and a low-fat dressing. Choose a piece of fruit or side salad instead of chips or fries.

For dinner, use the healthy plate method. Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, such as leafy greens and broccoli. Fill one-quarter of your plate with a starchy vegetable, brown rice, or whole-grain pasta. Fill one-quarter of your plate with a lean meat.

Fruits and vegetables make great snacks. Compare the calories in a banana (105 calories in a medium banana) to a slice of banana cream pie (230 calories). Substitute a cup of carrot strips (50 calories) for a piece of carrot cake (a slice of cake with cream cheese icing and nuts can have more than 500 calories). Making good snack choices is important because it will help control hunger between meals without adding excess calories.

In addition to saving calories, fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. If you substitute fruits and vegetables for higher-calorie foods on a daily basis, you can prevent unwanted weight gain and have a healthier diet.

FOR MORE INFORMATION VIEW Thirteen Fun Ways to Eat More Fruits and Vegetables Video


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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.