7 Hearty Vegetables to Squash Hunger and Keep You Full

Article posted in: Nutrisystem for Men

Why do so many weight loss programs recommend piling your plate with vegetables? They’ll fill up your stomach, while still keeping you at a calorie deficit, so that you can drop the pounds.

In a 2014 study of 120 dieters, the group that ate double the vegetables felt less hunger losing weight than those eating the same number of calories with fewer veggies.

But, if you hate the idea of endless bowls of salad, don’t worry: There are veggies that will stick to your ribs if you prepare them right.

They can even provide protein and fiber—the key to helping you feel satisfied fast and stay feeling that way longer. And, if you hate the leafy stuff, there are seven hearty vegetables to reap these awesome benefits (without feeling like a veggie-chomping critter).

Here are those seven hearty vegetables:

1. Cauliflower: Try this as mash with your steak.

cauliflower hearty vegetables

It doesn’t get more “stick to your ribs” than mashed potatoes, and you can get that same flavor and consistency, saving 78 calories per cup with cauliflower. The white stuff has four grams of protein, six grams of fiber, as well as some calcium and iron in each 100-calorie cup. It can work as rice, pizza crust and bread, but best of all, as mashed: Check out this video for a simple way to turn that big flower into a pot of your new favorite side dish.

2. Portabella: Make this mushroom into pizza.

portabella pizza hearty vegetables

Portabella mushrooms are ridiculously low in calories—just 20 calories for a three-ounce cap. However, they’re thick and juicy enough to serve as a stand-in for meat, and firm enough to become a flavor-packed pizza crust.

If you’re looking for a way to do meatless Monday and still feel like you’re actually loading up your stomach with fuel, these fungi are your best friends.

Check out this video for an easy, guilt-free portabella-and-parmesan pizza that’s ready in about 10 minutes > 

3. Edamame: Fill up on protein with these salty pods.

edamame hearty vegetables

One cup of edamame has 18.46 grams of protein—that’s more than you’ll find in three ounces of 93 percent lean ground beef!

These beans might fill you up even more, though: That cup has 8.1 grams of fiber, controlling the speed of your digestion. No wonder a study found that for every extra 10 grams of fiber you eat per day, you’ll have almost four percent less fat around your belly.

Edamame’s easy to prepare, too: You just steam the beans. Boil a few inches of water in a pot with a steamer basket. When the water boils, add the edamame to the steamer basket and allow them to cook until the pods become bright green. Remove from the heat, sprinkle on some salt and enjoy. Not interested in cooking? Many stores also sell the beans, pod-free. Just heat and eat!

Healthy hint: Count a half cup of deshelled edamame as one PowerFuel on Nutrisystem.

4. Zucchini: Get real pasta texture by turning squash into noodles.

hearty vegetables zucchini noodles

If you’ve got a peeler or a spiralizer, you can perform a magic trick: Turning green vegetables into pasta. Zucchini noodles are just as firm as spaghetti, cook in about a minute and spiral around your fork as well as any pasta. And they’re much lower in calories: A whole, large zucchini has just 55 calories! This is enough for a giant bowl of vegetable pasta. If you made that much regular spaghetti, you’d be downing at least 300 calories.

To make these “zoodles,” cut the ends off of two zucchini, place the cut end into a spiralizer and spin to make a big, heaping pile of noodles.

If you don’t have a spiralizer, or just want to try it out first, use a vegetable peeler: Start by peeling off the skin, then keep using the peeler on the flesh of the squash. This will create wider noodles, like linguini or fettucine. Once you’ve got your noodles, drop them into boiling water for less than a minute to cook. Then, just drain them and serve them up with your favorite tomato sauce. See how it’s done here >

5. Roasted beets: Savor and satisfy with sweetness.

beets hearty vegetables

Beets are a brain-boosting, cancer-fighting, blood pressure-lowering powerhouse—and they’re a sweet, satisfying, chunky side dish when you roast them.

To make them, cut off the tops and bottoms of two or three beets. Peel them and cut them into one-inch cubes or chunks. Spray a cooking sheet with nonstick spray and spread the beets on top in a single layer. Coat the chunks lightly with the cooking spray, and season them lightly with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, and enjoy.

6. Sweet potato: Fill up on French fries without the guilt.

Sweet Potato Fries hearty vegetables

Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients: A medium-sized spud has just 105 calories, but it’s got potassium, magnesium, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, calcium and more. Oh, and it’s delicious. Try this simple recipe for salty, satisfying sweet potato fries >

You’ll need:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into wedges
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Salt and pepper—or, for a different flavor, cinnamon

How to make it:

Spread the potatoes (cut like fries) evenly on a baking sheet, spray them with cooking spray and season with the salt and pepper or cinnamon. Bake these guys for 20 minutes at 450 degrees, turning occasionally.

Just keep in mind that sweet potatoes, while a Vegetable on Nutrisystem, are actually a SmartCarb: Be sure to keep portions in check!

7. Butternut squash: Mash it, roast it or have it in chili.

butternut squash hearty vegetables

Butternut squash is a chunky, sweet side if you roast it. It’s incredible mashed. And it’s just 82 calories per cup. When you think of the word “hearty,” you probably think of chili. Well, paired with turkey, onion and a whole lot of spice, butternut squash makes the heartiest bowl you’ve ever tried.

Healthy hint: One cup of cooked butternut squash counts as one SmartCarb on the Nutrisystem program.