Updated: Jun 1, 2021
Good question! And the answer..... 🥁.... it depends!
It really depends on which type of veggies we're talking about, what your goals are and how often you eat veggies on a regular basis...
When are veggies classed as 'free' foods
To figure out this, we first need a quick lesson on fibre. I'll try and keep it short and to the point, but basically, fibre is the roughage or bulk found in all parts of plant foods that your body can’t digest or absorb and there are one of two types of fibre - soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fibre dissolves in water and stomach fluid and turns into a gel which helps to keep you full! It slows down the rate at which food is absorbed by the body and also feeds your gut flora - so is super beneficial for your diet.
Insoluble fibre passes through our system relatively intact and works like a net catching everything that can't be digested and dragging it along with it as it makes its way out of the other end 💩 which helps to keep your insides clean and healthy.
OK, now we're clear on that, let's move on!
Now we know the role of fibre, this can help us decide which veggies we should count in our diet.
Because of the high fibre content, and because a lot of that fibre is insoluble, I generally don't count cruciferous veggies in my diet and recommend the same to my clients.
Cruciferous veggies are;
This can be especially helpful if you don't normally eat a lot of green veggies, because when you're on a fat loss diet you'll be wanting to fill up on as many free foods as poss!
And let's be honest, weighing and tracking your spinach is a total pain in the arse, and I can't really see too much spinach making you gain weight - ever. So for these reasons alone, don't feel that you have to track the above!
But broccoli has protein...
I would also like to note that it's not a good idea to count broccoli (or any green veggie) in your daily protein count (if you're unsure how much protein to have - check out this article) due to the cellulose found in these veggies - which means that the plant cell walls can't be broken down by the human gut and therefore the protein won't be digested.
Next, we have starchy veggies, which should definitely be counted as carbs! Starch is a digestible form of many glucose linked together and is digested well by the body. A good example of starchy veggies to include in your diet are;
All the rest
OK, so that leaves us with everything else such as bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, aubergine (eggplant), tomatoes and all the rest. Should you count these...?
Again - it depends!
What's your goal? Is it to lose the last 10-15lbs of fat once and for all, then you would probably be ok not logging all of your veggies, especially if you don't normally eat a large variety of them.
But, if you want to get absolutely shredded for a bodybuilding comp or something, then you would most likely benefit from weighing and measuring all veggies.
My saying is done is better than perfect - which will eventually lead to consistency. So if the thought of weighing out your veggies overwhelms you and stops you from starting to count macros in the first place, I would probably recommend you just aim to get 1 cup of free veggies and one cup of all the rest with every meal and don't stress over it!
The added fibre and micronutrients you would get from eating this way would outweigh the 'extra calories' from eating a few cups of untracked veggies every day!
And if you're looking for high-protein vegan recipes then check out my 4 eBook bundle packed with 84 super easy, tasty vegan recipes!
I hope this was useful for you - and don't forget I have a load of freebies if you haven't checked them out already!
Or, if you're ready to start taking control of your nutrition you can join the Vegan Macros Method where you can lose up to 15lbs of fat in 90 days. See you on the inside! (and don't forget there's a payment plan if you need it 💚)