Everyone knows we should be eating more vegetables. No matter what diet you are following, what your gym tells you, or what your grandma taught you. You know and I know that we should be eating vegetables way more often than we do. So what if you don’t really like them?
Try new ways to cook them, try ones you haven’t had in 15 years, make a promise to yourself that you’ll just do it because you know you should, kinda like brushing your teeth. Or read these 5 easy ways to add vegetables to your diet, even when you hate them! And you may be wondering if this is even possible. Yes – it is. I’m married to a veggie hating husband. Or at least he used to be. But guess what? He’s a veggie lover (to a degree) now. You can, in fact, be changed.
5 Easy Ways to Add Vegetables (Even when you hate them!)
First of all, it’s not easy. If you hate something, you hate it. I hate onions. And mayonnaise. In fact, mayo is at the top of my list of foods I hate the most. But. The good news for me is that mayo pretty much sucks nutritionally speaking. No one needs mayo. And it’s loaded with fat. So good for me that I don’t have to learn to like it. Because it ain’t happening. Ever.
But. Unfortunately for those that don’t like veggies, they don’t fall into the nutritional suckfest like mayo. I don’t know many veggies (or any for that matter) that can go in this category. The health benefits of veggies are ridiculous. Vitamins, minerals, fiber – you name it. Veggies have it. Some are better than others, but if you pick a veggie over a cracker, you’ve won already.
So how do you keep winning? Small steps. Don’t all of a sudden declare that you are a vegetarian if you know you hate vegetables. You’ll be running for the nearest fast food joint in three hours sinking your teeth into the biggest, juiciest burger loaded with mayo in no time. So here you go. Get your peelers and cutting boards ready. I promise if you just try, there is some way you can find at least a few veggies you like.
- Start with the water packed veggies like cucumbers. Now cucumbers aren’t the most nutritious veggie. But, they pack a punch with water. Eat cukes for a snack = get full quicker. Find a low cal dressing you love and dip them. They’re crunchy, which if you pretend super hard, you can get that feeling of eating a cracker or a chip. Crunch is good. And they’re cheap! Really cheap. You can buy a weeks worth of cucumber snacks for less than 2 days of cracker snacks. A win for your bod, win for your wallet.
- Try a new way to cook them. Example: I never liked asparagus growing up. In fact, we never had it I think? My grandma had a massive garden and when she outgrew that one, she planted two more. Huge gardens. Enormous. But, I don’t remember her ever planting asparagus. Maybe it was right up there with mayo for her, who knows? I didn’t start eating asparagus until my late 20s. And I found the perfect recipe for cooking it. I don’t measure precisely or follow a specific recipe but you can find the best zesty asparagus recipe here! And guess what? I love it and so does my veggie hating husband. The key to this trick is flavor and lots of it. And if I didn’t cook it this certain way, it just wouldn’t be the same. Try it.
- Add flavorings. Here’s a trick I learned from my days of watching 30 Minute Meals from Racheal Ray. She made spinach with prosciutto. What??? I can add a little hint of bacon to my veggies?? Yes please. So I tried it. And we devoured it. Spinach is a nutritional powerhouse. And if it’s cooked down and wilted, I promise it’s different than crunching on spinach in your salad. Grab a bag of spinach from the store, add a tiny bit of olive oil to a skillet and start throwing in handfuls of spinach. When it starts to wilt, add some prosciutto for flavor. (I get the packaged prosciutto from the deli section of the store and cut it into little slices). Add salt and pepper or your favorite seasoning and it’s an amazing side dish of veggies that your heart will love. Literally. Spinach contains magnesium which is essential to heart health. Check out this article for more details on this superfood. Another easy way to add some of this superfood is to throw a few handfuls into your cooked pasta. It’ll wilt down, you’ll barely know it’s there, and you get some veggies!
- Start small. You don’t need to all of a sudden become a vegetarian to get the benefits of veggies. Commit to one small change at a time. If you eat virtually no veggies, start with adding at least one cup to your diet every day. You’ll be surprised how little that really is. Cut up a red pepper into strips, mix up some olive oil and balsamic vinegar and dip away. One cup of pepper strips is not that much.
- Add another ingredient you love. Example: I don’t love yellow squash. But I do love cheese. So, in order to get a pretty large side dish of veggies on my plate, I slice up yellow squash pretty thin, spritz a baking sheet with cooking spray, use a tiny amount of spray butter on the squash, add some Trader Joe’s seasoning, and bake it in the oven at 375 for about 20 minutes. When it’s almost done, I add a small amount of shredded parmesan cheese, throw it back in the oven for just a few minutes and done! Now I have a hefty serving of squash that I love. If it were by itself, not so much. Add a few hints of flavor with the seasoning and the cheese and it’s amazing. This works wonders with zucchini too!
Hit up a local farmer’s market (fresh veggies are crazy good) and just pick a few new things you’ve never tried. Ask the growers for ideas on cooking. Pinterest is full of amazing veggie recipes also. You aren’t limited to one kind. Just commit to small changes and soon you’ll be adding vegetables to your diet, even if you hate them now!
For more healthy eating tips:
And here’s a few of my favorite veggie recipes just to get started – give one a try!
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