How to Get Your Adults to Love Eating Vegetables

By Lisa Kimrey | Body

If the mere thought of eating vegetables makes your adult grimace, shudder and instantly dig in their heals at mealtime, then this post is for you as the chef!

But if the thought of eating vegetables brings a disgusting image of bland, mushy, waterlogged, or tasteless food ‘only seen on a senior buffet’ to YOUR mind, yep, this post is especially for you as the diner.

Vegetables can taste wonderful. I’m telling the truth! The secret to getting any adult to love eating vegetables is in how they are prepared.

A lot of us grown ups tend to turn up our noses to the beloved vegetable. But, if you think about it a second, many of us were only taught one way to cook them by our parents (and most of us are actually overcooking them).

Did you know there can be at least a dozen ways to prepare each vegetable? It’s true.

So be adventurous! The road to loving vegetables is paved with the willingness to experiment and eat food prepared differently.

Decide you are along for the ride? Then get ready to enjoy eating vegetables.

One of my favorite ways to try a new vegetable is to substitute it for a cracker or chip with my favorite dip with other things I know I like. Straightforward, but an effective first step.

Eating Vegetables Raw

The simplest way to eat a vegetable is to just eat them raw. Using them in a salad or as crudites with dip or hummus gives you or your adult the opportunity to try new vegetables along with familiar flavors. I try to prepare at least 1/2 of the 5 daily servings of vegetables raw for my family. Carrots, peppers, radishes, kale, cauliflower, spinach and snap peas are all examples of vegetables I think taste better raw.

Many vegetables are pretty easy to wash, cut and prepare. Some may be unfamiliar or seem more complicated but that can easily be remedied by a quick watch of a Youtube video. We can learn quickly and conveniently in the privacy of our own home. Hey, there’s no stopping us!

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

Eating Vegetables Cooked

Many vegetables taste better cooked in some way, but be careful not to ruin the flavor by overcooking it. I was shocked to learn I was overcooking most of the vegetables I prepared by 50%-75% (of time necessary). Hopefully, you will notice a difference in the taste and texture when vegetables are prepared correctly. I use online tutorials on Pinterest or Youtube to learn how to prep, cut up and cook a new, unfamiliar vegetable. The options to try are endless really…

  • Throw it into a pasta
  • Roast in the oven
  • Rice it
  • Grill it
  • As a stir fry
  • Fry it in a pan or in oil
  • Spiral cut
  • Mashed (with butter and toppings)
  • Use it as a crust
  • In a casserole

Eating Vegetables Other Ways

Sometimes it just works to do something totally different with a vegetable. I like to puree extra butternut squash, sweet potatoes spinach or carrots and use it for 1/2 of the fat ingredient of waffles or baked-goods.  (Cooling the food masks the vegetable flavor). This is 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.

  • Inside a baked-good (substitute for 1/2 of the fat)
  • Ribbon it
  • Pickle it
  • Frozen (my daughter loves to eat frozen peas!)

After listening to thousands of adult patients during my career tell me why they do not eat vegetables, I’ve learned it is not always about the cost or access to vegetable. It is because they don’t like the taste or texture of certain vegetables, but they tend to only prepare them the ONE way they have been taught by their parents, and they do not try new ways to cook them.

The right vegetable preparation can highlight its best features.

The secret to loving to eat vegetables is to explore at least 2-3 ways to prepare them before giving up on liking that vegetable.

But, if you are not a self-proclaimed chef, how do you decide what method to use for that new vegetable you’d like to try? Here are a few ideas:

    1. Follow a good vegetable recipe. Stop winging it! I am loving this recipe book right now: The spaghetti squash vegan bolognese is one of my family’s favorite (of everything I cook)!
    2. Invest in a good food encyclopedia-like the one below so youcan easily learn how to choose, buy and prepare vegetables that are unfamiliar to you.
    3. Look up preparation instructions online.
    4. 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. I love it!
    5. Take a cooking class at your local grocery store with another adult friend who also doesn’t like vegetables:)
    6. Talk to your local farmer at the farmer’s market.
    7. Read menu descriptions to see how your favorite restaurant prepares them or talk to the chef.
    8. Watch cooking shows.

Be Brave and Try New Vegetables Frequently

So remember, the way the vegetable is prepared can make a huge difference in the taste and texture, thus whether or not your adult enjoys and loves eating vegetables. 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, your adult may find they also love eating a vegetable they’ve disliked their entire life! Wouldn’t that be awesome?

So, what new vegetable are you going to serve yourself or your adult today? Send me an email and let me know how you prepared it and everyone’s response! I want to try it!

 

About the Author

Lisa has been an RN for 25 years and has a passion for helping people make healthy choices & build healthy habits related to self-care. Check out Lisa's free tip sheet "10 Ways to Save Money on Healthcare"!