I have never been one to like vegetables, especially when I was growing up. And my mom was always great about making some sort of vegetable with dinner.
Unfortunately for me (or so I thought at the time), mom and dad were also great about not letting me leave the table until I ate a pre-determined amount of the particular veggies served at dinner that day.
I distinctly remember one time sitting at the table for what felt like 3 hours after everyone else had finished their food because I did not want to eat the potatoes and carrots in the stew mom had made. But as they should have… my parents won that battle, and I ate the veggies.
On that occasion and on several others too…lol
For years, the only vegetables I really liked were corn – but not on the cob cause it got stuck in my teeth/braces – and sautéed peppers and onions. If you want to count it as a vegetable, I liked Prego tomato sauce a lot too.
And FYI, Prego is soooo much better than Ragu!! But I digress…
There were only a few veggies I liked and were willing to eat. The list of veggies I didn’t like was even longer.
One veggie in particular that I hated with a passion was cooked broccoli. I could do raw broccoli if dipped in Ranch dressing, but steamed was awful. Still is. I share Newman’s feelings on the subject (you know, the postman from Seinfeld)…
Hahaha! ”Vile weed!” SO true!
So yeah, vegetables and I don’t have the greatest history, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve been able to recognize their health benefits. Also, the fact that they help keep me feeling full between meals, keep my HEC (Hunger, Energy, and Cravings) in check, and that I can eat large quantities without consuming tons of calories have encouraged me to eat them more often.
So because I love ya and want you to live a long healthy life, I’m gonna share with you what this vegetable hating gal has done to increase her vegetable consumption.
1. Don’t assume that what you hated as a kid you will still hate now.
I hated sweet potatoes growing up. It was only 3 years ago at Thanksgiving that I finally tried them again and WHOA!! Delicious!! My favorite way to cook them now is to peel, cut into wedges, season with cumin and plenty of chili powder and bake till crispy. Mmm mmm! Earthy, spicy, sweet potato-y, french fry goodness!
2. Be willing to try new veggies.
I tried brussel sprouts for the first time ever last fall at this restaurant in downtown Detroit called Roast. Word on the street was they had these KILLER brussel sprouts that even haters would love. So I had to try em and ended up loving them! Moral of the story? Restaurants use tasty recipes that may open you up to other veggies you might not like otherwise. You can recreate them at home and modify if they aren’t quite fat loss friendly.
3. Eat vegetables at every meal – including breakfast!
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. And while most people wouldn’t think it, breakfast is also a great time to get in some veggies. I find that when I incorporate plenty of vegetables into my first meal, I stay fuller longer than when I don’t.
There are a few ways to get them into breakfast. You can make up a veggie egg white omelet – stuff it full of onions, mushrooms, peppers, and spinach.
Another idea is to blend up 1-2 handfuls of spinach or chard into your protein pancake batter or your protein shake. I PROMISE you – the greens only change the color, not the taste. Honestly, this is one of the best ways to get more veggies in cause you don’t taste them and you don’t have to chew them either. <– Yes, I have a lazy jaw sometimes, lol :P
4. Ease your way into eating fat loss friendly versions of veggies.
So you’re a huge fan of peas slathered with butter and salt but you can’t do just plain peas yet? That’s ok. Each time you make them, slowly decrease the amount of butter and salt you use. Also, invest in Mrs. Dash seasonings. They’re fantastically delicious and salt free.
5. Substitute veggies for other refined carbs in your diet.
This can help you not only get more veggies but decrease your refined carb intake. One of my FAVORITE substitutions is to use spaghetti squash in place of regular spaghetti noodles. Also, I love my snacks and dips, so I slice cucumbers nice and thick and use them as “crackers”.
6. Use them as convenient, on-the-go snacks.
Chop a bunch of raw veggies for the week or buy containers of pre-chopped vegetables and bring a bag with you to work each day. Some great options are celery, carrots, baby tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers and thick sliced mushrooms.
7. Try paleo versions of foods you love since they often substitute vegetables for grains.
The internet is FULL of great ideas for paleo-izing your favorite recipes, so take advantage of it! A couple of things I’ve tried?
Using zucchini slices as “noodles” in a lasagna (I also used an almond mozzarella cheese so it really was paleo and it was SO good).
My favorite paleo-ized recipe I’ve tried so far though was a cauliflower hummus, and it was the perfect dip for all my raw veggies! You can get the tasty recipe from Paleo Plan here, and this is what it looked like when I made it… YUM!
8. Make pureed vegetable soups.
This is a great way to mix it up a little. Last time I did this, cauliflower was my vegetable of choice but lots of other veggies can work. Get creative!
Start out by seasoning and roasting some chopped cauliflower (a tiny bit of salt, pepper and cumin). When it’s about done, saute some onion in olive oil until translucent, add no sodium chicken stock and the cauliflower. Blend the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth. Season with s&p to taste and cook over medium until heated through. Easy peasy.
9. Keep fresh and frozen vegetables in your house.
When you have plenty of options in your fridge and freezer, it makes it much more likely that you’ll actually cook them. If you have everything else for a meal except the veg, then you’re probably not going to run to the grocery store to pick some up. I know I sure wouldn’t!!
10. If at first you hate it, try try again.
Translation: try a vegetable more than once.
Just because you don’t like a vegetable raw doesn’t mean you won’t like it cooked. Plus, it helps if you cook them different ways and give other recipes a chance to win you over.
Steamed broccoli is still a “vile weed” to me. But if I coat broccoli in a little olive oil, sprinkle with fresh cracked pepper, just a smidge of parmesan cheese then roast in a 400 degree oven for about 15 min? Oh it becomes divine…
So there you have them! Ten ways this veggie hater learned to eat, like, and eventually love [certain] vegetables!
Let me know in the comments below what veggies you love to eat!
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