One of life’s epic struggles is eating vegetables. Having once had a limited list of vegetables I would eat, I now can’t imagine not having my refrigerator stocked with colorful produce. Whether it’s yourself or your kids, you simply have to start making yourself try different vegetables. Luckily, there are a variety of cooking and serving methods that can ease you in to eating more.
The thing is, like them or not, you can’t cut them out of your diet if you plan on eating healthily and/or losing weight. They are the most nutritious foods on Earth, and provide generous amounts of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals. That’s why you want to eat a variety of vegetable colors in about 3-5 servings per day. A portion size of vegetables is about the size of a baseball.
This list from WebMD introduces 15 tips and tricks that will certainly convert veggie haters to veggie lovers.
- Hide veggies you kind of like in dishes you love. For example, add peppers or mushrooms to an omelet or layer fresh spinach leaves in lasagna.
- Add to soup. When making homemade soup, fill with your favorite veggies. Or, bolster the veggie content of reduced-sodium soups by adding more carrots, green beans or edamame.
- Fill a salad. Use spinach leaves and baby greens instead of lettuce, and fill with every vegetable you like.
- Serve raw. Some people prefer the fresh crunch, texture and flavor of uncooked vegetables.
- Dip them. Dip vegetables in a low-cal dip like hummus, salsa or a light dressing.
- Go Italian. Pizza and pasta are great places to hide veggies like mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, zucchini, bell peppers, fresh basil leaves, or artichokes.
- Drink them. Make your own veggie juice at home, or try quality brands like V8. For a sweeter alternative, try V8 Splash.
- Make it fun. Grilled vegetable kabobs, corn on the cob, stuffed mushrooms or peppers are all fun finger foods that kids and adults will rave about.
- Grill. The flavor of grilled vegetables cannot be beat. Lightly brush with olive oil and asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms, peppers and eggplant perfectly complement any meal.
- Learn to cook them properly. The stronger flavored or more bitter tasting vegetables, like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and eggplant, need special attention when cooking. Try saute or stir-fry, or add special flavors like balsamic vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice.
- Surprise yourself. Put roasted red peppers on a sandwich, include fresh basil in a wrap or stuff a pita with shredded cabbage. Unexpected flavor in familiar places will change your thinking.
- Choose fresh. If all you’ve ever had are canned vegetables, you don’t like them for a reason! Steamed, grilled and roasted fresh vegetables have a completely different flavor and texture.
- Fast-food veggies count. Get salads, carrot and celery sticks or a baked potato. Just be mindful of the calories in dressings, sauces and dips.
- No prizes. Don’t reward yourself or the kids for positive vegetable behavior. You’ll learn to like the treat, and forget to learn to like the veggies.
- Be cheesy! Bake veggies topped with low-fat or skim milk cheese for a gooey treat.
You can find more sneaky vegetable tips in Jessica Seinfeld’s wildly popular book, Deceptively Delicious.
February 3rd, 2009