The best vegetables for dieting, those with low calories and tastes you like.

The very best vegetables for dieting are the ones you're willing to eat, and the ones that contain the least amount of calories or kilojoules!

Every vegetable has different nutrients that help to keep us healthy, so the greater the variety and the quantity of vegetables we include in our daily eating habits the better.

Taste though is an issue. The way to maximise your vegetable intake is to start with the ones you already like (minus fatty sauces and butter coatings...) and increase how much of these you eat, while also decreasing the higher calorie options (like deep fried chicken, mashed potatoes with half a tub of butter and salt) that are on your plate.

The best vegetables for dieting...those with lower calories and starch

Basically, vegetables come in two categories. Those that are high in sugar, or starch, and those that aren't. Now, the high starch ones are good for you too, but you need to watch how many you eat.

These high starchy ones are things like potatoes (see, they can make you fat), corn, peas and squash.

The other group of vegetables are very low in calories, but are high in fibre, nutrients and water. Eat these as much as you like, and as often as you like! Really, try them, things like cabbage; gently steamed with pepper and vinegar...yummy. Or, raw with a lime juice and coriander dressing...pretty good too.

The high water vegies, for example, zucchini, cabbage, lettuce, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts (not my favorite I must say, but some like them), you can eat as much as you like; including tomatoes (all varieties).

The best vegetables for dieting...taste will win out

I'm not a fan of all vegetables, no matter how healthy or low fat they are, and what I'll eat also depends on how they're prepared.

Because you are now on a path for keeping the weight off for life, remember that what you like the taste of matters! You won't be able to maintain a diet that includes a whole group of tastes that don't appeal to you.

Be open to new flavours though. Try a new vegetable each week, or fortnight. Try an old vegie a new way. Just because you're reducing your waistline and getting healthy doesn't mean that you can only do steamed vegies in plain water. Mix it up.

Start with vegetables that you already like, then try them with different flavors. For example, I love vinegary foods, always have. I can do just about anything if you flavour it with vinegar. (Brussell sprouts is the exception...I have yet to find a way to prepare them that would mean I'd be willing to put them on my weekly shopping list.)

So, sometimes I do the vegies I already enjoy with a dash of vinegar while they're steaming; and when I try a new vegetable, I tend to do them with vinegar first, because I'm already half way there with the taste thing.

The best vegetables for you know what you like?

Start a list. What vegetables do you like, and how do you like them prepared? Keep the list on the fridge, and add to it. Keep the preferences for the other members of your household on the same list. What is there that everyone likes?

These will become your mainstays. The things you know you can prepare on a moments notice and you won't have to worry about whether everyone will eat them or not.

In my house everyone will eat carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, baby spinach, lettuce, zucchini and pumpkin, and the only way we won't eat them is overcooked.

There is always a supply of these in the fridge, frozen or fresh. Why? Because worst case and I can't be bothered thinking about what to do with the lean steak, I'll grab three of these, steam them, add a little pepper and serve them up.

This makes it thought (I'm often brain dead by dinner time, and while I'd like to be organised enough to be prepared in advance...the limit of my preparation is making sure these vegies are on the shopping list and in the fridge!)

If I've got time I'll do six or seven different vegies, and load up people with their favorites. The good thing about this is that a couple of times a year I get everyone to try something they haven't tried for a while.

Our tastes change often, and sometimes we find that something we didn't like last month, is good this month. Don't assume that just because you didn't like it when you were a kid, that you won't like it now...try it...try it different ways...see if you're tastes have changed. (With the exception of brussel sprouts - tried 15 different ways, hated as a kid, hate them now. Oh well, give them a go next year - not holding out much hope though).

The best vegetables for many as you can, as often as you can

Take those high water vegetables that you like and stock up! Whenever you're peckish or hungry, try some of them before you eat anything else. If you don't have time to very prettily julienne a carrot, peel it and eat it whole. Rip a piece of celery off the stalk, rinse and eat. Grab a punnet of cherry tomatoes and eat them when the 'snackies' hit in the afternoon.

Look, usually we're shown plates of beautifully cut and prepared vegetables ready to eat or cook. Now, I like my food visually pretty, but most of the time I'm just hungry, and the thought of having to take out a selection of vegies, and make them pretty before I eat them, just makes reaching for an easy open packet of chips that much more inviting.

You can eat them as they are. Rip a broccoli head off and eat it (I'm not so fond of this one, that's a lie...I don't like it raw at all, but my youngest son thinks it's fabulous like this, go figure).

Make it easy on yourself. The great thing about vegies is that most of them can be eaten as they are. No preparation and no cooking. Not having time to cut and dice is no reason to not eat them. Goodness, they're even environmentally friendly, no plastic bag like the chippies, most of their wrappers are grown on them and edible, and those you can't eat will break down and feed the ground! See, good all round.

The best vegetables for dieting...some specifics you might like to try.

Some of the best vegetables for dieting are broccoli, cabbage and kale. These have low kilojoules, are very high in fibre and there is some research to suggest that they may reduce the risk of developing a range of cancers.

You might like to try them cooked or raw, in vinegar, with lemon, lime and pepper, lightly steamed and cooled and with a low fat tzatziki dip...with tomato sauce (the oldest son suggested this...although watch the sugar levels of tomato sauce), with a dash of balsamic vinegar, or steamed with a clove of garlic.

Another one in the best vegetables for dieting category is pumpkin. It gives us vitamin C which some research suggests actually promotes weight loss.

What about chilli...not something I'd recommend by the cup full, unless of course you have a cast iron stomach. But some scientists have shown that chilli can boost your metabolism and inhibit your body's fat cell growth. Maybe a little chilli in with the cabbage, or the stir fry.

The best vegetables for dieting...the more the merrier

Our bodies need a little of everything. The beauty is that many of the nutrients that our bodies thrive on are actually found in foods that are good for us, low fat and that we can eat and eat and eat! The humble vegetable.

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