Managing Weight with Fruits and Vegetables

Eating more fruits and vegetables is a safe and healthy way to achieve a healthier weight.

Low-Calorie Options

To lose weight, you must eat fewer calories than your body uses. It’s easy to create lower-calorie versions of some of your favorite dishes by substituting fruits and vegetables in place of higher-calorie ingredients. Here are some simple ways to cut calories for each meal:


  • Cut back on the amount of cereal in your bowl to make room for some cut-up bananas, peaches or strawberries.
  • Substitute spinach, onions and/or mushrooms for one of the eggs or half the cheese you would have in an omelet.


  • Add a cup of chopped vegetables such as carrots or zucchini in place of 2 ounces of the meat or 1 cup of noodles in your favorite broth-based soup.
  • Substitute vegetables such as spinach, green peppers, cucumbers or onions for 2 ounces of the cheese and 2 ounces of the meat in your sandwich, wrap or burrito.
  • Substitute Bibb or Butter lettuce for traditional flour wraps.


  • Take a good look at your dinner plate. Vegetables, fruits and whole grains should take up the largest portion of your plate. Remember to use a normal- or small-sized plate, and avoid larger platter-sized plates.
  • Swap 1 cup of chopped or spiraled vegetables for 1 cup of pasta or rice in your favorite dish. Spiraled zucchini or spaghetti squash make great pasta substitutes. Riced cauliflower can make a great grain substitute.


  • Try carrots and hummus or baked tortilla chips with salsa instead of chips and dip.
  • Top a cup of low-fat, plain yogurt with fresh, sliced fruit.
  • Store cleaned, cut-up vegetables in the fridge at eye level and keep a low-fat or fat-free dip on hand.

Tips for Children

Fruit and vegetable consumption is crucial for children, especially if they are overweight. It can be difficult to persuade them to eat fruits and vegetables, especially when there are so many other attractive high-calorie options Below are some ideas for encouraging healthy eating:
  • Pack a 100 percent juice box in their lunch instead of soda pop. Water is even better.
  • Make fruit kabobs with pineapple chunks, bananas, grapes and berries.
  • Decorate plates or serving dishes with fruit or vegetable slices.
  • While shopping, allow children to pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try with dinner.
  • Most importantly, set a good example by eating fruits and vegetables yourself every day.
Remember, substitution is the key. Eat fruits and vegetables instead of some other higher-calorie food, and your body will thank you!


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