Best and Worst Vegetables for Weight Loss

Best and Worst Vegetables to Help You Lose Weight!


best & worst veggies for weight loss - asparagus.jpgHere's everything you need to know about using veggies to lose weight, from our friends at

Stick with Non-Starchy Veggies (leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, etc) as much as possible, while limiting starchy vegetables, such as potatoes and corn.

This isn't to say that any of the vegetables are bad for you, but non-starchy veggies have more beneficial nutrients per calorie, as well as more fiber which makes you feel "full" to ward off hunger.

Some common Non-Starchy vegetables which you should eat more of, include:
Asparagus, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Bell Peppers, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumber, Leafy Greens (spinach, kale, lettuce, etc), Radishes, Tomatoes, Turnips, and Zucchini.

Starchy Vegetables tend to have fewer nutrients per calorie, and less fiber. That means they're not as nutritious, and won't fill you up as well as their non-starchy cousins.

Some common starchy veggies are:
corn, potatoes, green peas, acorn squash, and butternut squash.

related article: Are Frozen Veggies Actually MORE Nutritious than the "fresh" veggies at your Supermarket?

How you Prepare Your Veggies is Extremely Important for Weight Loss

Obviously, some vegetables are fine to eat raw, but others need preparation.

Steam, boil, or microwave them. You may also lightly saute them with a zero-calorie cooking spray such as "Pam."

If you're trying to lose weight, leave off the sauces, oils, and butter/margarine, which has many more calories than the vegetables do! If you're a butter fiend, try the spray version only of the product "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter."  Five sprays on your veggie servings will give them a nice buttery taste, and all five sprays together has a total of less than 1 calorie!  However, remember to stick with the spray version, as the tub version of this product has many more calories per serving.


How do vegetables help weight loss? get-strong-with-spinach_0.jpg

Vegetables as a group tend to be low in calories, high in nutrients, and high in fiber. That means that they are both nutritious and filling, especially the non-starchy ones. Some vegetables, like cucumbers, are high in water, which provides stomach-filling volume without the calories, and helps keep you hydrated.

Remember, the more Non-Starchy vegetables you eat each day (either raw, or prepared as described above), the less hungry you will feel.

Bonus for your health: hundreds of studies show that people who eat a diet high in non-starchy veggies significantly lower their risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.

Are there any vegetables I should avoid?.

Be wary of canned veggies. Though many have words like “healthy” and “natural” on the label, many are drenched in sodium, and some with sugar as well.

As far as fresh or frozen veggies, you’re safe as long as they’re eaten “naked,” that is, not covered with fattening dressing or cooked in sauce.

Low Calorie Fat-Free Dressings are the way to go!

When using dressing, go for fat-free versions. Annie's, Bragg, Maple Grove, and others make tasty fat-free dressing. Limit yourself to 2 tablespoons per serving (salad or otherwise).

trending: How to Lose Weight Using Frozen Meals from Your Supermarket!
Too busy to prepare your own low calorie meals? This affordable dietitian-designed program will save you time and money.

What are the "best" vegetables for weight loss?

All the Non-Starchy veggies are great, but the very best vegetables to help speed up weight loss are spinach, Swiss chard, watercress, mustard greens, and cabbage. Honestly though, there really isn't a big difference between the Non-Starchy vegetables when it comes to weight loss.

All the Non-Starchies are nutrient dense, calorie light, and low on the Glycemic Index.

What is the Glycemic Index?

The Glycemic Index is a measure of how quickly and how high a particular food can raise your blood glucose (blood sugar) level. A sudden increase in blood sugar will cause your pancreas to respond with insulin and other hormones to quickly reduce the blood sugar level. The process can result in you feeling low energy, head-achy, as well as hungry. To learn more, read our article explaining The Glycemic Index.

Are there any “naked” vegetables that are bad for weight loss?

There are no “bad” vegetables, only bad ways of preparing them (frying, covering in dressing or sauces).  That said, potatoes are more calorie-dense than other varieties of vegetables and have a notably high GI ranking. As a rule, it’s best to limit starchy vegetables, as these contain more calories and carbohydrates than other vegetables.


Which vegetables are highest in fiber? snack-out-on-vegetables.jpg

High fiber vegetables can further aid weight loss because they keep you feeling fuller longer. The highest fiber vegetables per calorie include broccoli (5 grams per cup) as well as brussel sprouts, eggplant, cauliflower and asparagus.

related: Why are Frozen Veggies More Nutritious than the "Fresh" Veggies at your Supermarket?

How can I work more vegetables into my diet?

Work vegetables into meals instead of just serving them as sides on a dinner plate. Use seasonal vegetables to make stir-fries, frittatas, risotto, pilafs, sauces, soups, or pile them onto sandwiches. And check out for thousands of innovative recipes that can help make everything from asparagus to cucumber more appealing.

How do I use the glycemic index when choosing vegetables?

Selecting vegetables lower on the glycemic index can help keep blood sugar stable between meals, curbing appetite. Foods that break down quickly during digestion and release glucose rapidly into the bloodstream are considered high GI, while those that break down more slowly and release glucose more gradually into the bloodstream are considered low GI.

related article: What is the Glycemic Index?

See below for a comprehensive list of vegetable GI values.

Vegetable GI Guide

Low Glycemic Index Vegetables (under 20)

  •     Asparagus
  •     Bean sprouts
  •     Beet greens
  •     Broccoli
  •     Cabbage
  •     Cauliflower
  •     Celery
  •     Cucumber
  •     Endive lettuce
  •     Mustard greens
  •     Radishes
  •     Spinach
  •     Swiss chard
  •     Watercress

Medium Glycemic Index Vegetables (20-60)

  •     Aubergine
  •     Beets
  •     Brussles sprouts
  •     Chives
  •     Collard greens
  •     Dandelion leaves
  •     Greens
  •     Kale
  •     Kohlrabi
  •     Leeks
  •     Okra
  •     Onions
  •     Parsley
  •     Peas
  •     Peppers
  •     Pimento
  •     Pumpkin
  •     Rutabagas
  •     String beans
  •     Turnips

High Glycemic Index Vegetables (over 60)

  •     Artichokes
  •     Carrot
  •     Corn
  •     Dried beans
  •     Lima beans
  •     Oyster plant
  •     Parsnips
  •     Potato
  •     Squash
  •     Sweet potato
  •     Yam

trending article: How to Lose Weight Using Frozen Meals from Your Supermarket!
Too busy to prepare your own low calorie meals? This affordable dietitian-designed program will save you time and money. You'll eat specially-chosen frozen meals from popular brands that you'll buy in your supermarket. When you're not in the mood for a frozen entree, you'll eat salads and low calorie recipes.