Minimum requirements - forgotten veggies
I've seen a lot of posts on here asking what the minimum amount of protein should be - and the max. And how much fat we should have. And the minimum and max for beans, and the minimum amount of water.
When people are asking about those ratios, I almost never see questions about the minimum amount of vegetables we should eat. I'm bringing this up because I see a lot of people post that they have 1/4 or 1/2 pound of meat, 1/2 to 1 cup of beans, and then "a handful of spinach leaves" which is almost nothing. That cooks down to what, 1 or 2 tablespoons of vegetables?
I was thinking it might be helpful if people who have been successful to post their ratios of meats to beans to vegetables, or an amount of veggies they typically eat with a meal, or even cooler, photos that show a typical plate of food.
If I'm making an omelet, about 2/3 of the bulk is vegetable matter and the egg is there to sort of bind it together. When I make a salad, I fill a large mixing bowl (like you'd set out for a family) and between dinner and the next day's breakfast (and sometimes lunch) I can finish it off.
I'd love to hear what the rest of you are doing - if some of you are having great success with the handful of fresh spinach method (in which case I should stop hassling the spinach leaf crowd!), or if the longer term people who have dropped a fair amount of weight have upped their vegetables and had more success.
editing to add photos of an omelet here. First up - just the veggies getting cooked. This is broccoli and 6 whole mushrooms laid overtop of a thick slab of bacon for grease:
Next, here's how it looks with 4 eggs added - the bulk of it is the veggies not the egg:
and it fills up an entire dinner plate:
For reference: I'm at 130lbs and maintaining for the last 3 months. This breakfast is 478 calories (bacon could be cut for 84 less calories), 17 carbs, 27g fat, 38g protein, 6g fiber.
The Best Answer
I aim for 8-10 cups of mainly cruciferous or leafy green veggies per day. Half of that would be raw. I do a huge cook-up 1-2x a week of roasted, or grilled and sautéed veggies to last me for a few days. The rest comes in the form of salads. Now that the weather is getting warmer, salads are more prevalent.
Right now my 'go to' meal is a marinated salad of roasted/grilled veggies (eg. squash, peppers, eggplant, cauliflower, turnip), raw chopped veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, snap peas, cucumbers, peppers), a can of lentils and a couple cups of shelled edamame.Veggie to legume ratio is about 4:1, so 4 cups of veggies for every cup of legumes.
I toss it all with dressing made with macadamian nut oil, balsamic vinegar, whole grain mustard, fresh herbs and a minced garlic. I have 3-4 cup serving per meal.
If I have it post-workout ( I am on Occam's Protocol), I'll add a scoop of rice or quinoa or serve it on top of a roasted sweet potato. Otherwise I have it in a bed of shredded lettuce or spinach. I top it with my protein of choice.
I also have a big pot of sautéed veggies dubbed my 'Cauldron of Green' that contains cabbage, zucchini, celery, kale, broccoli, edamame/legumes sautéed in bacon fat. It has a similar veggie to legume ratio as the salad.This serves as a great base for meals. I just reheat, add some supplementary flavouring ( curry, tamari, hot sauce, scoop of salsa, chimicurri, tapenade, various herbs and spices) and topped with protein of choice.
You're absolutely right. I was squarely in the "handful of spinach" camp and struggling mightily. One of the big changes I made was changing the veggie of choice and making a huge increase in the amount consumed. I now eat at least a cup of steamed broccoli with each meal. Interestingly, I've found that the tough stalk of the head of broccoli is a really convenient snack item, too. My wife tends to avoid the stalk, so I'll just add the stalk to the end of my lunch, and that can sometimes be as much as 3/4 cup more fiber. I eat it more or less like a carrot. Switching to a more dense vegetable and consuming much more of it has really helped.
THANK YOU, Jake! I've noticed "missing veggies" in many posts as well and have wondered what was going on. I always recommend to folks that AT LEAST half of the plate should be cooked veggies. I visualize the plate divided into 4 quadrants. One is protein, one is legume, 2 are cooked veggies. If it's raw veggies I'm having, like salad greens and such, it will be a huge bowlful, like maybe 4-6 loose cups.
There's simply no such thing as too many (non-starchy/low-sugar) veggies in my book. There are over 10,000 micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, enzymes etc) that we all need, and the green veggies are essential!!
Whether it speeds or slows my fat loss, I don't care, really -- I'm still going to have a huge amount of green veggies every day. I'm convinced that it's what is making me well -- and in turn allowing my body to drop the excess fat.
I aim for at least half the plate to be veggies. I also try to sneak extra veggies into everything - the chili I made last night included tomatoes, squash, red & yellow peppers, mushrooms, onion and spinach. My breakfast fritattas have lots of spinach, mushrooms, peppers, artichoke hearts and onions. Lunches are salads with lots of greens and veggies.
I also often make what I call crack cauliflower (roasted with curry) and eat an entire head in one seating or else roasted brussels sprouts.
Beans tend to make up the smallest portion on the plate, since people seem to drop more weight when they cut them back.
Vegies, absolutely! The biggest change I've noticed since we amended our diet is how MUCH vegies we eat now compared with what we used to! I always used to cook up some peas or broccoli to go on the side of our pasta or rice meal, but that was like a 1/2-1cup and that would be it - ALL DAY. (more often than not) Now, there's a heap of vegies on our plates. Agreed, at least half the plate ends up as vegies.
And I have discovered the JOY of balsamic vinegar on my vegies. Came about from a dish that was roasted meat along with red onions, garlic & little tomatoes; the balsamic became the sauce. WOW poured over the heads of broccoli & cauliflower on my plate and it was an instant winner
Breakfast is probably the worst vege meal for us, but half the plate is usually cooked up beans to get you going for the day. But lunch and dinner? The easiest way to go this route at work is vegies you can easily nuke in the microwave at work. Bonza!
OK. I'm probably an offender of the too little veggie club and I'll openly admit because I just don't like vegetables, me consuming any veggies is a shocker to my dad and any of my ex girlfriends
I have 2-3 handfuls of spinach wilted down at breakfast (probably 1/4-1/2 cup wilted), and somewhere in the 1/4-1/2 cup cooked broccoli range for both lunches 1 & 2. Dinner is typically a normal size bowl of salad (romaine, spinach & sometimes iceburg lettuce) or a fair amount of stir fried snow peas, celery, & broccoli. (I'm omitting my proteins because that's not the topic up for discussion).
So as a reforming vegetable hater I ask you more vegetable tolerant folks ways in which to cook my veggies so they're edible. The roasted broccoli I picked up from someone on here (gretchen? jake?) has been a HUGE help. Any other bright ideas like that? And please don't mention brussel sprouts or squash, I will literally projectile vomit through the internetz all over you.