Ask the Dietitian: How Do I Eat Healthy if I Hate Veggies?

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So you hate veggies. Let me guess: Your parents wouldn’t let you leave the dinner table until your broccoli was gone? Or maybe vegetables are too bitter, too bright and too crunchy for your liking? Or maybe, just maybe, you’ve never had a relationship with veggies because they weren’t a priority in your diet?

Whatever the reason, it’s time to put your loathsome feelings toward veggies aside. They’re a necessary part of a healthy diet! You see, vegetables are incredibly nutrient-dense foods, meaning they contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants without packing in excess calories. All of these things work together to keep our bodies functioning normally, fighting off disease, protecting against injury and achieving our weight goals.

If you’ve sworn off veggies but are trying to eat healthy, it’s time to take a new approach. After all, eating healthfully without eating veggies is pretty difficult to do.

TRY, TRY AGAIN

Have you ever watched a toddler try a new food, only to immediately spit it out? Maybe you have a similar reaction to the taste of veggies? If so, treat yourself like the child you once were, and remember that it can take 10 or more attempts at introducing a new food before finding it palatable.

Another tip to keep in mind is the way you’re preparing the veggies. Try them raw, try them steamed, try them boiled, try them roasted, try them chopped, try them minced, try them sliced, try them diced… Try them as many ways as you can until you find what works for you…. Or until you try them 10+ times!

GET SNEAKY

That’s right. Get sneaky. Maybe it’s not the flavor or the texture of veggies that turns you off but the mere sight of them. If this is the case, there are plenty of ways to sneak them into your diet. Don’t believe me? I dare you to give it a shot! Choose veggies that are close in color to the food that you’re making and don’t have an overpowering flavor. This way they’ll blend right in while your taste buds and eyes remain none the wiser.

One of the easiest ways to get sneaky is with smoothies. Next time you make a berry smoothie, try adding some spinach or kale. The rich color of the berries will mask the greens, which won’t change the flavor. Once you’ve mastered this trick of the mind, try adding carrots and onions to spaghetti sauce, diced mushrooms to ground beef or cauliflower to “mac” & cheese. The only limit to this tip is your imagination!

PLAY MATCHMAKER

Sometimes it’s all about the pairing of foods. Think about the last few parties you’ve attended. One of them likely had a bowl of dip served with crackers and veggie sticks. This is because veggies and dips are a match made in heaven. Cauliflower and hummus; celery and blue cheese dressing; carrots and spinach dip; cucumbers and ranch dressing — the combinations are endless! Introducing a rich flavor to the vegetable may make it more palatable for you. Keep in mind though that dips and dressings are often high in calories, meaning just a little goes a long, long way.

Vegetables are a nutritious and delicious part of a healthy diet, so be persistent and be creative. Eventually you’ll find what works for you.

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