Let’s talk about a semi-controversial topic: vegetables.
Okay, so it’s not really controversial, but obviously you know as well as I do that people are very picky about this food group compared to say… dairy or carbohydrates. I’m no saint when it comes to veggies. I used to ONLY eat corn, peas, green beans and potatoes as a kid. Fast forward to my teenage years and I graduated to tomatoes, onions and lettuce (helllllllo salads!). Over the past few years I’ve made it a point to try (and re-try) new vegetables or ones that I had decided I didn’t like previously.
Did you know that it can take your taste buds 8-10 different tries before they actually will start to enjoy the taste of a new food? Moral of the story – keep trying!
Veggies are PACKED with nutrients. “Nutrient Dense” is a term that is used to describe foods that have a lot of nutrition in a small number of calories. The body actually uses most of the calories that vegetables have to digest them. This means you can basically eat as much as you want – the fiber they provide make you feel fuller faster which in turn makes it essentially impossible to over-eat.
Broccoli, for example, has a day’s supply of Vitamin C. It also contains lots of fiber, protein, calcium and other vitamins all packed into a one-cup serving. Vegetables have complex carbohydrates, which are the ‘good carbs’ that provide your body with energy. Eat more veggies – feel more energized! Win-win.
Over the years I’ve learned that I may like a certain vegetable when it’s cooked one way versus another. Example: brussel sprouts. I hate them boiled. I think they’re slimy and gross and just not enjoyable. On the other hand, if you want to chop them up and bake them with some garlic, I’ll eat an entire container.
Basically, my advice for you if you don’t like vegetables is to train yourself to like them. Keep trying different veggies, cook them ways that you normally wouldn’t and all-in-all just give them a chance. Here are a few tips you can follow to add more veggies to your diet:
- Find a new dip to put your veggies in. A healthy salad dressing, hummus, or a nut butter are all good alternatives
- Grate it and hide it. You can easily mask the taste of a vegetable by dicing it into bits and pieces or grating it and mixing it in with items such as rice or pasta (whole wheat, of course :))
- Add it to your pizza. Yes, I just told you to eat pizza. Instead of ordering a pepperoni pizza, order a pepperoni + green pepper. Or mushrooms. Or onions. Start with one veggie so you can get used to it and you never know – maybe eventually you’ll order the Veggie Supreme by choice
- Make soup or chili. If you’re a soup/chili person, you can easily chop up some peppers, onions or beans to add to the mix. Try adding some black beans to your next batch of chili
- Eggs. I make my egg muffins every week and I can barely taste the onions that are in there. Every little bit counts
- Add cheese. Maybe it’s just because I’m from Wisconsin, but cheese makes everything taste good in my opinion
- Cook it differently. Do you know you hate raw spinach? Throw it in your smoothie – I bet you can’t taste it. Hate cauliflower? Try boiling it and mashing it up into “potato” form (this is delicious by the way)
- Try squash. Do you even know how many different types of squash there are? Zucchini, yellow squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, butternut – there’s a ton! Check out Pinterest and test a new squash recipe, I dare ya
Just remember that it takes time. All good things take time. Your body can benefit so much from vegetables. Find at least a handful that you enjoy and eat up!