Why do I think the top 12 veggies on our food is an important topic?
Well, my weight loss journey has been a learning process. Learning new things. I truly believe that knowledge is POWER! I also say that once I learn something about food and health I can’t un-learn it. For example, once I learned the numbers surrounding the sodium counts in my food I ALWAYS base an eating decision with that number in mind. Thru extensive research and tracking my food, I have found that I need less than 250mg of sodium per serving or less than 2000mg per day or I blow up like “Harry Potter’s aunt!” but that is a post all of its own…
Here is the post about numbers SODIUM that I finally finished!
What is the best list from which to “pick from the top of the list’?
Beachbody has 2 basic nutrition programs- 21 Day Fix/Ultimate Portion Fix and 2B Mindset. This information can help anyone in either program.
Back to the subject at hand…Vegetables.
The 21 Day Fix is the program where I lost all of my weight. After many months of maintenance for me, Beachbody came out with a new program which is The 2B Mindset. It turns out to be a lot like I was doing for maintenance. Both programs have lists of foods to be incorporated into their meals. One of the lists that both of them have is a list of veggies but that is the ONLY thing that they have in common…..it is a list of veggies.
The 2B Mindset list has 78 items on it, whereas the 21 Day Fix list only has 37. But the reason is obvious when you compare them further, for example, 2B counts each color of bell pepper as individual veggies and the Fix just counts them as “peppers”. 2B does take butternut and acorn squash out of the veggie category and puts them on the carb list. Taking a beloved treat like this one and moving it out of the desert after supper category and into a slot earlier in your day.
One of the most striking differences is how each of the lists is arranged. 2B just simply lists the veggies alphabetically. Simple enough to check when you are figuring out a meal plan. Simple is what the 2B Mindset is all about after all. The 21 Day Fix list actually arranges the veggies in descending order the most nutrient-dense ones being the first ones on the list.
Why “eat from the top of the list”?
When I was doing the Fix and my weight loss would stall, one of the most important things I would do to jump-start my losing again was to “Eat from the top of our lists” meaning pick the very best of the best, the “more bang for the buck” veggies. Fewer calories and more vitamins is always a good thing.
But this information is lacking for the 2B program. And as I said, I just can’t go back and unlearn which veggies are the very best ones for weight loss mode. ENTER my list… I have a “shortlist” of veggies that I reach for 1st. More importantly MOST during weight loss mode.
UPDATE: I did go back to using my 21DF program and containers because I love the structure of the container system. I need structure!
So this information will help you whether you are on the Ultimate Portion Fix or the 21 Day Fix too.
I am including a recipe or two for each of these most used/popular top 12 veggies. I did skip some of the ones you can’t find easily.
The first 6 of the Top 12 Veggies.
KALE – A good source of vitamins B1, B2, B3, and C. Good source of fiber. Here is a wonderful kale salad
And you could use kale in the place of cabbage in my Colcannon recipe!
COLLARD GREENS – The vitamins K, A, and C are great in them and they too are a great source of fiber. Looking for a basic clean recipe for these? I will add it to the bottom of this post!
SPINACH – Folic acid and vitamin K in good numbers. At only 63 calories per cup, it can fill you up without weighing you down! Using spinach in a recipe like this feels like a cheat meal!
As the base for a beautiful salad is a must for me. I love this Creamy Maple Mustard Dressing.
BRUSSEL SPROUTS – For 56 calories per cup and 129% of the vitamin C you need for day packed in them. Here is my favorite way to cook them right now!
I love to throw them on a pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper and do a simple roast on them. 400 degrees for about 30-40. Stir them around a few times so they brown on all sides!
BROCCOLI- One of the most loved or most hated veggies of all time. Full of tons of vitamin C! This good casserole is full of broccoli goodness.
ASPARAGUS – Full of fiber and is a natural diuretic. Olive oil, sea salt, and a hot oven/gill are all I need to enjoy this one but here is a really good recipe too.
It is great to roast too. Same 400-degree oven, same olive oil, some salt and pepper as the Brussels sprouts from above, but only for 25 minutes.
BEETS – Along with being low in calories they are high in fiber. They have NATURAL nitrates in them, making them good for brain health. Here is a great smoothie recipe using them and blueberries talk about PURPLE!
More of the Top 12 Veggies
TOMATOES- They need no introduction or really any recipe because you can just EAT one lol. The fact is they release even more nutrients when cooked, making canned tomatoes as good to use as fresh! So I included this recipe
Canned tomatoes and tomato products can be easier to keep on hand. I have some information about store-bought tomato options.
SQUASH-summer or winter- I love yellow crookneck squash and zucchini. Right here in the middle of summer, we have plenty of them both to go around too. Taking the place of noodles you can use spiralized “zoodles” in almost any pasta recipe. Here is a recipe that includes a few of these top 12 veggies too! I have a Summer Squash Casserole recipe that is PERFECT!
GREEN BEANS- Sometimes we forget that green beans are actually a bean, and because of that they actually have some protein content! I can eat them cold out of the can lol. (low sodium preferred) Here is a great recipe for them using fresh ones.
I like to use canned green beans too. A classic 3 Bean Salad uses them in a real flavorful way.
Another classic salad where I use them is a Potato and Green Bean Salad.
PEPPERS- All peppers! Green, red, yellow, orange, jalapeno, Anaheim and the list goes on and on. Such a good source of vitamin C and such a rainbow of colors that they just have to be good for you!! I love tacos and I love peppers so this recipe is the best of both of those worlds!!
Who doesn’t love a good sloppy joe? These Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joe’s are full of peppers.
The last of the Top 12 veggies
CARROTS- I had a 92-year-old woman tell me that if I would eat carrots on a regular basis that my eyes would be stronger… and then took her to the doctor and she told him the ONLY “drug” she was taking was vitamin A for her eyes. She read every day so she made me a believer in vitamin A and carrots!! Here is a good way to get some in.
Again a simple roasting of them is sometimes all I ever do to them. But lately, I have been shredding them up and adding some pineapple chunks and my mayo-based Ranch Dressing over them for a carrot salad/slaw.
** Bonus** #13CAULIFLOWER- This SUPER veggie is often called the healthiest one. Multiple vitamins and plenty of fiber make it a good choice for weight loss. The making of cauliflower rice has been a total game-changer for me. I am able to get more veggies in just subbing it for rice in any of my recipes! Here is a really good recipe
If you are craving that Buffalo chicken wing taste. Then I suggest trying these Buffalo Cauliflower Bites with some blue cheese dressing.
You can see that the top 12 veggies on our lists don’t have to be BORING!
Now back to those collard greens.
We live in the south and collard greens are popular here. Usually, though they are doused in a thick blanket of bacon grease … not so diet-friendly. I cook them in chicken broth and water to give my “juice” some flavor.
There is a specific way to prepare the leaves to cook. While you tear most greens by hand, collards have to be cut.
I strip the big white stem out of the leaf or cut it out leaving just the green part.
The leaves are tough. I just stack 6-8 leaves on top of each other.
Then I roll them cigar style and slice them in 1/2 inch to 1-inch strands. This style of cutting is called “chiffonade”
Slender strands mean these tough greens cook faster no matter the cooking method.
Cooking collard greens
The old fashioned way of cooking them is to cover them with water. Then boil them for about an hour or until tender or in a pressure cooker for about 15 minutes.
I cook them in my Instant Pot now with a can of low sodium chicken broth to add some flavor to the “pot linker”. I still pressure them for about 15 minutes on high and then natural release.
The chicken broth has salt in it, so I wait till they get tender and taste them and adjust the seasoning.
They are often served with “pepper sauce” here. That is a jar of chili peppers with boiling vinegar poured over them and then they stand in the fridge for a few days to get give the vinegar a chance to absorb heat. Just a splash will do it!
A big plate of cornbread goes great with a hot pan of greens!
I hope this list helps you when you are trying to meal plan. Reaching for these veggies 1st may be just the thing you need to kick your weight loss mode up a notch!