When it comes to vegetables, the golden rule says: “Eat dark and leafy.” But just because a vegetable isn’t a powerhouse “green” doesn’t mean it can’t bring a lot to the table. “There’s a misconception that if something isn’t dark green, then it’s not good for you,” says Jackie Keller, author, nutritionist and founding director of NutriFit. But are so-called “filler foods”—low-calorie vegetables that fill us up but aren’t known for their nutritional benefits—worth the stomach real estate? Turns out, yes. “Most ‘filler foods’ have a high water volume and make you feel full, and people who eat high water volume diets are more likely to be at a healthy body weight,” explains Keri Glassman, R.D., author of “The New You and Improved Diet,” and founder of Nutritious Life, a nutrition practice based in New York City.
What’s more, these eats can help keep you hydrated. “By eating high water volume veggies, you add more water to your diet, and by ‘eating’ your water you get additional nutrients,” says Keller.
These low-calorie vegetables may not get top billing, but they offer a surprising nutritional bang for your buck.