Whenever I educate people on eating healthy, the topic of vegetables is always the first thing that comes up. Vegetables are filled with nutrients and they’re low in calories. They help prevent many of the more common diseases and they keep us full. They’re voluminous; they nourish our bodies. They are, truly, the very basic source of optimum health.
In spite of all those things…
In spite of hearing it over and over and over again…
Whenever I encourage a client to fill half of their 9″ dinner plate with vegetables, I am met with a look that falls nothing short of a grimace.
Perhaps this is because while I’m picturing roasted brussels sprouts and parsnip fries and carrot soup and sauteed kale with garlic ‘n’ soy sauce, they’re picturing celery sticks and limp lettuce leaves.
Perhaps I need to revamp my plan.
Perhaps I need to remind the tastebuds of what vegetables should really taste like.
Perhaps it’s time to see what we could very well be missing out on.
8 Ways To Fall In Love With Vegetables
1. Roast ’em up.
The roasting technique will quickly become your new best friend (if it isn’t already.) Roasting will turn your onion into candy and your butternut squash into caramel. I recommend making large batches of roasted vegetables and eating them throughout the week.
How-To: Heat oven to 425. Toss chopped vegetables of any kind (favorites: butternut squash, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, red onions, zucchini, sweet bell peppers) with 1 Tbsp. oil per pound of vegetable. Place on cookie sheet and cook for 20-30 minutes, flipping every 10 minutes to prevent scorching. They’re done when they’re golden brown and soft.
2. Fancy Up Your Salad.
Forget the standard iceberg salads with tasteless winter tomatoes.
Time to try some new greens. Arugula. Spinach. Kale. Collards. Romaine. Boston lettuce.
Time to try some new toppings. Beans. Sunflower seeds. Snap peas. Grated carrot. Pea Shoots. Black olives. Jicama!
Have fun and try a new topping and/or a new green each week! Pay more for a few select “fancy” items (medjool dates?)
3. Eat More Of Your Favorites.
Nobody ever said you have to have celery with peanut butter.
If you don’t like celery, forgo it in favor of sweet bell peppers or carrot strips.
Or add more of your favorite vegetables to your current favorite meals.
4. Make A Basic Soup.
If you can’t imagine eating one more raw carrot stick in your life, heat up some onions and garlic in a little bit of olive oil, add 2-3 pounds of diced carrots and cook until softened. Add a bit of vegetable broth, a little salt and pepper, add to your blender and whirl it up into a nice hot soup to go along with your sandwich.
This works just as well for zucchini and beets.
5. Try One New Vegetable A Week.
Many people say that vegetables are boring.
I beg to differ.
Have you taken a walk through your local farmers market lately? Just browsing through the grocery store, you’ll notice new items appearing all the time. Buy one new vegetable a week and then google it for some cooking options. Understanding where the vegetable is from and how it is prepared can be exciting, and you’ll broaden your tastebuds by discovering new cuisines and tastes!
6. Turn your vegetable into the meal’s centerpiece.
If you spend a good 30-60 minutes preparing the main meat entree and barely have enough time to throw the frozen broccoli in the microwave to be served as a side, it’s no wonder everyone turns up their nose at the veggie.
Time to reconsider!
Spend just a few more moments to steam up some fresh broccoli and add some soy sauce, garlic, ginger and sesame seeds. Grill some bell peppers or asparagus. Roast some beets. Turn parsnips into fries.
Make the vegetable truly shine and you’ll be going back for seconds!
7. Take advantage of dips and spreads.
Carrots are just carrots.
Add some cherry tomatoes, some snap peas and your favorite hummus, and you now have yourself a fun snack to munch on this afternoon!
Vegetables are only as fun or boring or tasty or bland as we decide for them to be.
Dress them up.
Prepare them for the party.
It won’t be long before you learn how to fall in love with vegetables.