Do you dislike eating vegetables as much as you hate to exercise?
It sounds like you are a long way away from the dating stage with vegetables. But, most of us have room for improvement. According to the CDC, only 1 of 10 adults eats the daily requirement of produce.
Are you ready to narrow that distance a little?
Here is what you need to know:
Vegetables can taste magical.
I’m telling the truth. Scout’s honor. You just have to dig up some veggie secrets to discover how to love eating your vegetables. (And by digging up I mean to keep reading because I’ve already done the digging.)
The first secret to how to love eating vegetables is in the preparation.
It’s not just kids, a lot of adults also turn up our noses to the beloved vegetable.
One opportunity to consider is that most of us were only taught one way to cook them from our parents (or grandparents). And, it is a likely possibility that we are overcooking our vegetables.
Yep, we are cooking the taste right out of them!
Did you know there can be at least a dozen ways to prepare each vegetable? It’s a fact, so learn to be adventurous. The road to loving vegetables is paved with the willingness to experiment and make foods in multiple ways.
But, don’t panic – you don’t need to be a fancy chef.
One of my favorite ways to try a new vegetable is to substitute it for a cracker or chip and eat it with other things I know I like (like my favorite dip).
Straightforward, but a practical first step.
Step two: eat a naked vegetable.
Not to be confused with eating a vegetable while naked of course. The simplest way to eat a veggie is to eat them raw. Use them in a salad or as crudités with dip or hummus to try unknown vegetables along with familiar flavors. As you discover which ones you like, aim to prepare at least 1/2 of the five daily servings of vegetables raw.
Carrots, peppers, radishes, kale, cauliflower, spinach and snap peas are all examples of vegetables that taste delicious raw.
Vegetables are simple to wash, cut and prepare. Some may be unfamiliar or seem more complicated, but that issue can be remedied by a quick watch of a Youtube video. You can learn quickly and conveniently in the privacy of our own home. Nope, there’s no stopping you now!
Ideas to try:
- Slice them up as crudites
- Eat them with your favorite dip, hummus or salsa instead of crackers or chips
- Toss it in a salad
- Serve them as a cold side at mealtime (total cheat-open a bag of prepared raw veggies and put them in a beautiful serving dish)
- Shred them up and mix into a salad (I never thought I’d eat Brussels sprouts, but I love them this way)
Step three: give vegetables a spa treatment.
Many vegetables taste better cooked. But do not overcook. Most of us are overcooking vegetables by 50%-75% of the time necessary.
Want to enjoy a vast improvement in the taste and texture in vegetables? Prepare them with less cooking time. Cooking also enhances the flavors and nutrient absorption in some vegetables. Use online tutorials on Pinterest or Youtube to learn how to prep, cut up and cook a new, unfamiliar plant.
The options are endless but here are some examples:
- Throw it into a pasta
- Roast in the oven
- Rice it
- Grill it
- As a stir-fry (yum, try chopped kale this way)
- Fry it in a pan or oil
- Spiral cut
- Mashed (with butter and toppings)
- Use it as a crust
- In a casserole
Step four: think outside of the vegetable to learn how to love eating vegetables!
So, sometimes it just works to do something crazy with a vegetable to bring more of it into your diet. Not everyone needs to know they are eating a vegetable. Do you know what I mean?
Ok, try this – puree fresh butternut squash, sweet potatoes, spinach or carrots and use it as a substitute of 1/2 of the fat ingredient of waffles or baked-goods. (Cooling the food masks the vegetable flavor). What a great way to use up food on hand and feed your family more vegetables-even if they think they do not like that vegetable.
Dazzling new ways to try veggies:
- Inside a baked-good (substitute for 1/2 of the fat)
- Ribbon it
- Pickle it
- Frozen (my daughter loves to eat frozen peas!)
Step five: explore even more new ways to enjoy eating vegetables.
The secret to loving to eat vegetables is to invest in at least 2-3 ways to prepare each veggie before giving up on liking that vegetable.
Here are a few interesting ideas:
- Follow a vegetable side or vegetarian entree recipe. Stop winging it! Spaghetti squash vegan bolognese is my go-to right now from Impatient Foodie: 100 Delicious Recipes for a Hectic, Time-Starved World. It is one of my family’s favorite (of everything I cook)! Consider buying a vegetarian cookbook and make the entrees as new sides to try. These recipes are loaded with flavor-vegetarians eat a lot of vegetables and want them to taste terrific.
- Invest in a good food encyclopedia or vegetarian cookbook, so you can quickly learn how to choose, buy and prepare vegetables that are unfamiliar to you.
- Look up preparations and instructions online. The best source is Pinterest. Seriously you need to be there.
- Subscribe to a cooking magazine so you can also learn which foods are in season (the time when they are the most flavorful). I’ve subscribed to Cooking Light for over 15 years. It is a treat to buy in-season vegetables. They are less expensive and more flavorful. You’ll look forward to each new season!
- Take a cooking class at your local grocery store with another adult friend who also doesn’t like vegetables:)
- Talk to your local farmer at the farmer’s market. They have lots of vegetables and know how to cook them (you eat what you have).
- Read menu descriptions to see how your favorite restaurant prepares them or talk to the chef.
- Try new vegetarian dishes or sides while you are out. A great tip-split a vegetarian entree as an appetizer.
- Watch cooking shows. You can even learn from the kid shows. Have a competition in your kitchen.
Lastly, no need to get overwhelmed.
The shortest route to love eating your vegetables is to be adventurous. But remember the point is to find a way to like eating your vegetables, not turn into a vegetarian. Vegetables contain nutrients which preserve health and prevent disease. That is your goal-to stay well by getting those disease preventing nutrients into your body.
Set a goal, be kind to yourself and take it slow.
It texture bothers you perhaps try a smoothie or putting the vegetable in another food or form (baked-goods) may work best for you.
If your issue is flavor, preparation variety will be your weapon of choice. The easiest way is to try something raw. In fact, you can find fresh vegetables ready to eat now in the grocery store.
The benefit of many vegetables being quick and easy to prepare gives everyone the opportunity to try them raw, cooked or in another type of preparation. It is definitely worth the time investment to learn several preparation techniques to find the best method to enjoy eating a particular vegetable. When cooked the right way, you may see that you love eating a vegetable you’ve disliked your entire life! Wouldn’t that be awesome?
So, what new vegetable or new preparation are you going to try first? Make a list of 3 vegetables you want to try today.
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