Non-starchy vegetables are the real heroes of weight loss. They fill you up with fiber, nourish you with essential vitamins and minerals, and don’t weigh you down with excess calories or fats. Eat four or more daily servings of non-starchy varieties—you actually can eat as much of them as you want—and they will give you a powerful boost on your weight loss journey.
We know that many people don’t love all kinds of vegetables. However, with so many flavors and textures to choose from, you are sure to find a few you do like. Consider these 10 options that work extra hard to help you reach your ideal weight.
Pro Tip: Check out the link below to learn more about non-starchy vegetables!:
Why: Artichokes are high in a specific type of fiber called inulin, which enhances the body’s ability to absorb calcium, a mineral that helps stoke your metabolism, according to a report in the British Journal of Nutrition.1
Try: Quick-and-easy Artichoke Basil Hummus is perfect for dipping other non-starchy vegetables or Sweet Jalapeno Crisps. If you’ve never prepared artichokes, check our handy guide for simple instructions. You can also make enjoying this veggie easier with jarred or canned artichokes, which are perfect for chopping up and adding to salad and pasta.
Why: Broccoli is not only high in fiber and immune-boosting vitamin A, it has lots of sulforaphane, a compound that reduced appetite and weight gain in a laboratory study, published in the European Journal of Pharmacology.2
Try: Roasting broccoli tenderizes the crunchy stems and sweetens the flavor of the florets. Start your day with a serving of non-starchy vegetables with our favorite Broccoli and Cheddar Breakfast Muffins recipe.
Why: Carrots are a favorite of many people who are not veggie-lovers and they’re especially helpful when you’re trying to shed excess pounds. That’s because when you eat carrots with a meal they significantly increase your satiety, or the feeling of having your appetite satisfied, according to a study in the British Journal of Nutrition.3
Try: When you’re craving a crunchy snack, raw carrots are a smart choice and they’re great for dipping in salsa, a Free food when you’re losing weight with Nutrisystem. Our Honey Balsamic Glazed Carrots take their natural sweetness up a notch.
Why: Cauliflower may be plain in appearance and mild in flavor, yet it’s loaded with fiber and a serving has 100 percent of your Recommended Daily Allowance for immunity-boosting vitamin C. It’s also an especially good source of potassium, which helps your body regulate its sodium levels and is a “predictor of reduction in body mass index,” says a report in the journal Nutrients.4
Try: Cauliflower can be ground into high-fiber, low-calorie “grains” that are a healthy substitute for regular white rice. It also makes a perfectly chewy pizza crust. For a quick and satisfying snack, try our recipe for Air Fryer Cauliflower Tater Tots—they’re crispy on the outside and delightfully gooey on the inside.
Why: Eggplant’s weight loss superpowers come from the compounds that give them their bright purple color. These polyphenols help your body manage blood sugar, control your appetite and inhibit you from storing fat, according to another research report in Nutrients.5
Try: Choose small to medium size eggplant, which are more tender and less seedy than the big ones. Grill or roast thick slices of eggplant until crisp, then cover them with your favorite pizza toppings. If you love classic Italian food, try our recipe for 5-Ingredient Simple Eggplant Parmesan.
6. Hot Peppers
Why: Do you like to light up your taste buds with a little spice? Here’s good news for you: Capsaicin, the compound that causes your tongue to tingle when you eat jalapeños, cayenne and other hot peppers, has been shown to pump up your metabolism. It also may also help you activate your brown fat, which is associatiated with “protection against obesity and metabolic diseases,” says research published in the journal Bioscience Reports.6
Try: You can use fresh or dried hot peppers to heat up all kinds of dishes, from chili to spaghetti sauce to veggie omelets. For a Flex meal recipe with lots of protein, creamy cheese and a spark of spice, try our Jalapeño Cheese Stuffed Chicken.
Are you ruining your non-starchy vegetables with how you’re cooking them? Find out at the link below:
Why: Every meal gets a little heartier with the addition of the meaty texture and savory flavor of mushrooms. Even better, “regular consumption of mushrooms is effective in the treatment of metabolic syndrome, including obesity,” according to an article in the journal Molecules.7
Try: Mushrooms come in many varieties, from delicate chanterelles to thick portabellas. Keep a bag of frozen mushrooms handy to add to soups, eggs and meat dishes. Any day is like a party when you make a batch of Simple Stuffed Mushrooms.
Why: Along with their zingy flavor, onions are rich in a compound called quercetin, which reduced the percentage of body fat in overweight and obese subjects in a study, reported in Nutrition Research and Practice.8
Try: Raw, grilled, or sautéed, onions boost the flavor of just about any type of food, from salads to sandwiches to pizza and turkey burgers. You can even enjoy crispy coated onion rings with our easy Air Fryer Onion Rings recipe–they’re oh-so satisfying and grease-free!
Why: Like most leafy greens, spinach is among the most nutrient-dense foods. It’s also a good vegetable source of essential minerals such as iron and calcium that help to regulate your metabolism. An interesting study, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, found that after consuming spinach the test subjects felt less hungry and experienced no “longing for food” for more than two hours compared to the control group who didn’t have spinach.9
Try: Raw spinach can be a tender salad green. It also blends so well in smoothies, you won’t even know it’s there. Our recipe for Creamy Spinach Stuffed Chicken treats you to belly-filling protein and the goodness of melted pepper jack cheese.
Get creative with your non-starchy vegetables! Check out the link below for some tips and tricks:
Why: Eating tomatoes reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome, which includes obesity and diabetes, according to a report in Advances in Nutrition. The researchers found that lycopene, the compound that gives tomatoes their bright color, plays a key role in protecting against these conditions.10
Try: Raw and cooked tomatoes are rich in lycopene. Slices of raw tomatoes add a tangy flavor to sandwiches and wraps and keep every bite moist. The Nutrisystem menu offers so many choices that are loaded with the flavor of tomatoes, from our new Mediterranean Flatbread to the ever-popular Lasagna with Meat Sauce.