Amelia Freer (Victoria Beckham’s nutritionist) tells the Daily Mail that when she plans out her meals, she starts by concentrating on the vegetables and then adds in a portion of protein and some health-friendly fats.
For breakfast, she prefers a hearty combination of sautéed onions, tomatoes, and spinach along with two eggs, some avocado, and oatcakes plus coffee and fruit. For lunch, Freer usually relies on vegetable-based leftovers like ratatouille or salad, plus some protein, fruit, and soup. Depending on whether she's worked out that day, she'll add in some whole grains for carb-based fuel. As for dinner, Freer will often have a vegetable-loaded curry, soup, or stew, proving that having your produce fix can still meet your taste buds.
Freer has earned a big celebrity following thanks to her diets and methods. James Corden told the Daily Mail she helped him cut weight, and singer Sam Smith posted a glowing note about Freer on Instagram in March, posing with a copy of her book, Eat. Nourish. Glow., and writing, “Amelia Freer has helped me drop over a stone [14 pounds] in two weeks and has wholly transformed my relationship with food. It's not even about losing excess weight; it's about feeling happy in yourself.
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Alissa Rumsey, M.S., RD., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells SELF that concentrating on vegetables first is an “excellent idea,” especially since most people don’t eat enough of them. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, females aged 19 to 50 should strive to eat 2½ cups of vegetables on daily basis. But, study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2015 revealed that 87 percent of adults don’t eat sufficient amount of vegetables every day.
“By planning each meal around vegetables, you make sure that you are getting at least one serving at each meal,” Rumsey says, noting that majority of people haven’t eaten any vegetables by dinnertime, which makes the recommended 2½ cups difficult to cram in. “By spreading your vegetables throughout the day, it will be easier to cover your needs.”
Karen Ansel, M.S., R.D.N., co-author of Healthy in a Hurry: Easy, Good-For-You Recipes for Every Meal of the Day, agrees, telling SELF that “vegetables added meal plans is one of the healthiest diet moves you can make.”
Vegetables tend to be low in energy density, meaning that you can have a lot of them for very few calories, she notes. “That can help dilute the calorie count of your plate, allowing you to eat a large portion of food for fewer calories,” she tells. “That’s a big advantage if you’re trying to cut weight because it can help you cut calories and stay full at the same time, which isn’t always easy.”
Gina Keatley, a C.D.N. practicing in New York City, tells SELF that making vegetables a priority in your eating plan is "setting yourself up for success in dropping weight." "Satiety is influential to not overeating later in the day, and vegetables can help you achieve this," she explains.
Produce can be costly, but if you plan your meals ahead of time instead of ordering out, this lifestyle can in fact save you money, Samuel Accardi, R.D., L.D.N., lead dietitian for the Charge Group, tells SELF. To ease your wallet even more, he suggest buying vegetables that are on sale and working your meals around those. “Not only does this way help save money, but it also assures a variety,” he says.
While you could try Freer's lifestyle by adding one vegetable, like spinach, to every meal, Rumsey believes it’s better to have a variety of vegetables. “Diverse vegetables have different vitamins and minerals present, so the more types that you eat, the more well-rounded your nutrition intake will be,” she says. Rumsey recommends choosing as many colors as possible and experimenting with different greens: "Your plate should be good-looking. If you're looking at your plate and everything is brown or white; that means you are having issues." Ansel agrees.
Not sure where to get into? You can chop greens up to get them on your plate ASAP, throw some into a sauce, or make a huge salad. Frozen vegetables can be used too. "Just make sure there are not artificial compounds in the ingredients," Accardi suggests. Certainly, it helps if you in fact like eating veggies. You can roast them too. That helps bring out their natural sweetness, Rumsey explains.