15 Best Vegetables To Eat Daily (No, You Don’t Have to Give Up Meat)
Learning the best vegetables to eat daily made a big difference in my daily habit of eating more plants. Have you ever wondered how many servings of vegetables you should eat a day?
If you’re anything like I used to be, there are only a few vegetables that you even like to eat. And thinking about eating seven salads a day makes you want to poke your eyeballs out. Adding plants to your diet is so important for your physical health.
And trust me, after you have set an intention to eat more plants, you will notice it in your body. You’ll notice it in your energy level and your concentration and focus. You will notice how much better you feel, but none of that is going to happen if you feel like, you’d rather drop a bowling ball on your foot than eat salad or kale.
So it’s really important to be aware of how many servings of vegetables you should eat in a day. That way you can prioritize and eat the ones that are healthier and not get burnt out on salads all the time.
How much is one serving of vegetables?
Do you know the recommended daily servings of vegetables? Did you know that only one in four people does?
Knowing how much is in a serving of vegetables is really important information because when you’re setting an intention and trying to add more plants to your diet, meal planning can be your best friend.
If you don’t know which vegetables to eat, which are the best vegetables to eat daily, and how much is a serving, then it’s hard to plan your meals and to make eating more vegetables a smooth process.
So how much is in a serving of, vegetables?
The answer is it depends.
And I know that’s a frustrating answer, but stay with me.
It depends on what your calorie needs are for the day.
To understand that, you have to know what your resting metabolic rate is. In other words, how many calories do you need a day simply to survive? Not to do any strength training, running, yoga or any other kind of exercise, but simply to exist.
How many calories does your body need?
The answer has a lot to do with what kind of job you have. What you do on a daily basis. Do you sit at a desk all day? Or, do you work in a preschool where you’re lifting and picking up kids? Maybe you work for the parks department where you’re walking all through the forest all day.
Depending on what your daily activity level is, your body is going to need more or less calories than somebody with a different daily activity level.
Another option is to just use the daily recommended caloric intake, which is 2000 calories a day. At 2,000 calories a day, you should plan on eating two and a half cups of vegetables a day. So in other words, two and a half cups of vegetables are a portion of that 2000 calories.
The rule that I follow because I don’t count calories, is I section my plate into 3 different sections.
Half of my plate is the best vegetables to eat daily. One quarter of it is protein and one quarter of it is fat.
I have an allergy to gluten, so I don’t eat crackers or carbs. I get carbs from vegetables and I usually will have one banana and one Laura bar a day.
But for my three meals, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I take my plate and I split it in half. And half of it is vegetables. One quarter is protein, one quarter is fat.
So for instance, two cups of lettuce or salad greens would be considered one serving. Two cups of spinach raw or one cup cooked is a serving of vegetables. One cup of baby or sliced carrots is one serving. For green beans, one cup is one serving. One cup of sweet potato, chopped tomatoes, or cooked broccoli is one serving.
So, if you are following the plate measurements, half of your plate would be vegetables and that would be a minimum of two servings.
So breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you have two servings of vegetables at each meal, that’s six servings of vegetables per day.
It can be broccoli, green beans, a salad, or even a smoothie if it contains two servings of vegetables, something like spinach for instance. It’s no coincidence that these are some of the best vegetables to eat daily.
I personally eat broccoli, kale, and spinach every day. I don’t love making salads. If I’m out at a restaurant, I will order a salad because I do enjoy eating salads. I just don’t love making them, so I stick to greens.
I like leafy greens, spinach, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts occasionally. And I eat anywhere from two to four cups per meal. I don’t count calories. I just make sure to fill one half of my plate with vegetables at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Can you eat too many vegetables?
As far as calories, vegetables are extremely low in calories, so it’s very difficult to overeat vegetables. Roughly one cup of vegetables is about 40 calories, so it’s going to be really hard to eat too many. It is a good idea to limit starchy vegetables like potatoes or sweet potatoes, corn, and peas.
Instead, you should eat more of the green leafy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, kale, collards, brussels sprouts. So if you’re having breakfast, lunch, and dinner, maybe you put corn and peas on your salad for lunch or dinner, but you don’t eat two cups of corn for breakfast.
Maybe you eat yams mixed in with some spinach and a side of eggs, but you don’t eat a whole yam for breakfast.
If you notice that your skin or the whites of your eyes are starting to turn colors or if you’re having some digestive problems, then you might be eating too many vegetables.
But, a more likely reason for those symptoms is that you’re not drinking enough water. So, you definitely want to make sure that you’re drinking water properly and that you are drinking water for health benefits and to help the vegetables move through your system.
What happens to your body when you start eating more vegetables?
Eating more vegetables is good for your body is so many ways other than just weight loss. Since our metabolism slows down after 40 and it’s so much harder to lose weight, we tend to think of lifestyle changes only in terms of weight loss.
But, eating more vegetables will have a positive impact on your body and your next 40 years in ways that are far more meaningful than just dropping the “forty 15”.
Your digestive system starts to work more efficiently.
Some of the best vegetables to eat daily are very high in fiber and so your digestive system is going to work better and be more regular when you have a higher level of these vegetables in your diet.
Again, just make sure that you are drinking enough water so that you don’t end up getting constipated from all of the extra fiber.
Your chances of living longer increase
There was a study at Imperial College in London and the study found that your risk of a heart attack could be reduced by eating five or more servings of vegetables each day. Also, stroke, cancer, and early death were reduced.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in America and the number one cause of heart disease is an unhealthy diet. If everyone were eating 10 servings of vegetables each day, heart disease could be reduced by 7.8 million cases per year.
Your skin will look better
Your skin is the largest organ in your body. It’s an organ just like your heart and kidneys and liver and lungs, but it’s not treated as an organ. Your skin tells a story about the level of homeostasis inside of your body.
So if your body is out of balance and out of homeostasis, it’s going to show up on your skin. You’re going to have acne, premature aging and wrinkling, maybe even psoriasis or eczema. When you eat more vegetables, you’re getting more vitamin C, more phytonutrients.
You’re drinking more water to help process the extra fiber.
All of this acts as a scrub for the inside of your body, for your digestive system, for your liver, for your kidneys, all of your filtering organs and your blood.
So from head to toe, you are becoming healthier. You are giving your body nutrient-dense food that it can use as fuel and that’s going to show on your skin. Your skin is going to be clear, more smooth and even if you have trouble with acne or rashes, those will clear up.
Your immune system gets stronger
Vegetables like spinach, lettuce, watermelon, tomatoes, carrots are all high in vitamin A. Vitamin A has been found by the USDA to protect your body from infections. Also, vitamin C is found in a lot of vegetables, which is important for keeping your gums healthy and believe it or not, keeping your gums healthy will have a positive effect on your overall health.
You will feel less stressed
Vegetables are full of vitamin B, vitamin C, magnesium and Omega-three fats. All of these are important for reducing anxiety, depression, and helping your body to process stress. Magnesium and vitamin B are very calming and supportive and nutritive to your nervous system and help to balance your hormones
15 best veggies to eat daily
Spinach is full of vitamins, calcium, antioxidants, and iron. It contains your full daily requirement of vitamin K. it also has high amounts of vitamin a, vitamin C and magnesium
Kale has high amounts of vitamin a, vitamin K and vitamin C. It also helps to lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. It can reduce blood pressure, blood sugar, and overall blood cholesterol.
Broccoli gives you the full daily requirement for vitamin K and two times as much of daily requirement for vitamin C. Also, broccoli is considered a cruciferous vegetable and may reduce the risk of cancer because it contains Sulforaphane. Which has been found to reduce the size and number of cancer cells and tumor growth.
Peas are high in fiber and protein and they also contain a lot of vitamins A, K, C and some of the B vitamins. If you’re trying a vegetarian diet, peas are a good source of plant protein. They are high in good bacteria and antioxidants.
Beets are high in potassium and folate. They have also been found to greatly benefit heart health because they contain nitrates. A double-blind randomized placebo-controlled crossover study of 15 women and 15 men found that drinking 500 grams of beetroot juice dramatically lowered blood pressure beats contain and the antioxidant called alpha-lipoic acid, which has been found to be helpful for people with diabetes and who suffer from diabetic neuropathy.
Vegetables that have been pickled or fermented contain prebiotics, which are beneficial bacteria to help improve gut health. Some vegetables that might taste good fermented include cabbage, which makes sauerkraut, cucumbers make pickles, carrots, cauliflower, and kimchi.
Garlic is a wonderful example of using food as medicine. Also, garlic is a natural antibiotic. There’s a compound in garlic called diallyl sulfide, which might be even more effective than prescription antibiotics for fighting Campylobacter according to a lab-based study that was done in 2012.
Cauliflower is high in fiber, which boosts a person’s gut health and heart health. Two things that helped prevent digestive issues and reduce obesity. Cauliflower is also a cruciferous vegetable, just like broccoli and contains an antioxidant called I3C, which might reduce breast and ovarian cancer. Cauliflower also contains sulforaphane.
Adding more plants to your diet is very important for your overall health, not just for weight loss. Our diets are leaving us malnourished and adding more plants to our everyday menu will help to provide the minerals, nutrients, and vitamins that we need in these next 40 years.
Our hormones are going to change more so than they have since we started puberty and making sure to prioritize the best vegetables to eat daily can help to make that transition smoother and less traumatic.
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