More veggies can shrink your waistline


From portion control, to diet pills, many have tried almost everything. But vegetables could be your secret weapon to cutting calories per bite.

We know they're healthy.

"Plant foods, especially fruits and vegetables, are loaded with fluid," Registered dietitian Carol Lapin said.

But could eating lots of veggies be the best way to lose weight? Lapin says yes. They're packed with water and will keep you fuller -- longer.

On the flip side, dry foods like chips or cookies actually make you hungry, sooner.

"Because the water is out of it so the calories are more condensed, sugar is more condensed. So I'm adding a lot of fluid to my food, which is going to fill me up," Lapin said.

Lapin has three easy ways to add vegetables to every meal. Start with breakfast. Instead of this 400-calorie omelet, try this one. Substitute egg whites and you've got a larger omelet on your plate for less than 200 calories.

For lunch, no more big sandwiches.

"In this case, not only do we have white bread, which has 75 percent less nutrition in it," Lapin said.

You'd need to do about an eight-mile run to burn off that 800-calorie meal. Instead, wrap it up with lots of vegetables.

"Here we have this beautiful wrap which is less that 200 calories," Lapin said. "We have all the fiber, plus we've added some nice quality protein with some lean turkey breast."

And finally for dinner, say no to the pepperoni pizza.

"So if I ate this whole pizza, it would be like 1,400 calories," Lapin said.

And yes to making your own. Lapin suggests starting with a whole grain pizza crust and a heart-healthy marinara sauce.

"You know one cup of peppers have to almost 200 percent of Vitamin A for the day," she said.

Add mushrooms for Vitamin D, and you're actually getting a bigger portion for less than half the calories.

"For 600 calories, if I wanted to eat this I could, but boy I'm going to be full on half of that," Lapin said.

This vegetable lifestyle doesn't happen over night. But Lapin says it is something everyone should be working towards.

"It's a gradual transition. But the part that helps is, you're not hungry," she said. "But what you do have to work at is you have to go to the store, and you have to stop eating out all the time."

On top of adding vegetables, Lapin says cooking with low sodium broths or cooking sprays are great substitutes for butter and oils. Also, some fat is good for you because it allows vitamins, like Vitamin E, to be absorbed.

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