Many people will tell you the basics of how to diet: eat less and exercise more. But, there is a reason that 30 percent of Americans are on a diet at any given time this simple “how to diet” formula doesn’t work for keeping weight off.

When you think about how to diet, think in terms of abundance. Rather than think about what you have to cut out of your life, think about what you can add.

Specifically, think about adding more vegetables to your diet. Try to “sneak in” five servings of vegetables a day. (Try to get two to three servings of fruit as well, but make sure you get all five servings of vegetables.)

Vegetables are wonderful foods. They are high in vitamins and minerals needed to keep your body healthy. They have tons of fiber which keeps you full. But, perhaps for weight management purposes, their best attribute is that they are water dense which means that they have very few calories for the amount of food you can eat.

In order to make room for vegetables in your daily menu, you have to get creative about how you serve your meals. For instance, many people think of dinner as a slab of meat, a hunk of potato, and a garnishment of vegetables that may or may not be eaten. This is not how to diet.

Instead, use meat to accent and flavor your meals and make the vegetables a prime ingredient. A chicken stir fry with lots of onions, carrots, broccoli, green peppers, and red peppers has far more vegetables than a spoonful of peas or corn on the side of your plate.

Think about serving soups and stews that have a large vegetable component. How to diet when you are going to have a heavy meat meal is to start with a vegetable rich broth based soup. This way, you will start to fill up long before you get to the calorie dense meat portion of the meal.

You can also try to “sneak” vegetables into meals. There have been several recipe books lately that show moms how to slip veggies into their kids’ favorite recipes, but you can do this for yourself if you want to. For instance, make mashed potatoes with half cauliflower instead of potatoes. Or, puree broccoli and add it to spaghetti sauce. The varieties of how to diet by sneaking vegetables into food are endless.

How to diet with vegetables isn’t limited to dinner either. Think about how you can incorporate more vegetables into breakfast and lunch too. For instance, instead of a bologna sandwich with a limp piece of lettuce, add tomatoes, sprouts, and spinach to beef it up. For breakfast, instead of a bagel, have a healthy carrot raison bran muffin.

And, you can even get your vegetables in when it comes to desert. A piece of pumpkin pie has a full serving of vegetables. You can cut the calories by not eating the crust.

When people as you how to diet, you can now tell them that you fill up on vegetables and don’t need to worry about cutting out other things.

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