By: Tayler Glenn
When you’re trying to clean up your diet, you tend to find yourself in the produce aisle staring at rows of fruits and vegetables. Even if you’re someone who cringes at the thought of piling your plate full of veggies, it’s important to remember that they are a key part of a healthy diet! We can’t turn you into a veggie lover overnight, but these tips and tricks might help bring you a little closer to it.
1. Find Your “Beginner Vegetable”
Even if you don’t like all vegetables, there’s at least one you’ve tried and could stomach. This will become your “beginner veggie”, or the veggie group that you can start to build off of. Here are the common types:
- Allium – Chives, Garlic, Leeks, Onion, Shallot
- Beans/Legumes – White Beans, Black Beans, Garbanzo Beans, Lentils.
- Gourds – Squash, Pumpkin, Zucchini, Cucumber
- Leafy Greens – Bok choy, Cabbage, Collard Greens, Kale
- Cruciferous – Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts
- Culinary – Peppers (jalapeno, bell, ect.), Eggplant, Potato, Tomato, Tomatillo
Find one vegetable you like, and slowly start experimenting with it and others in its family. The similar profiles and preparation methods will help you in building your own techniques and recipes!
2. Find Your Prep Method
The great thing about veggies is that they range from mild in their own flavor to bold and flavor-forward. This allows you to play with cooking techniques and recipes that bring out the aspect of that vegetable you actually enjoy!
Do you love the smokiness of the grill, the freshness of the oven, or the comfort of your crockpot? There are a number of ways to prepare your beginner veggie to fit your likes! Here’s a couple of different ways to prepare your new foods:
This helps to bring out the sweet flavors in veggies thanks to caramelization! It might be best to stick with crunchier veggies until you’re ready to branch out such as peppers, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower so they’re still crisp. We love this method because it’s quick and easy! Just cut them up however you want, drizzle them in a small portion of coconut oil, add salt and pepper, then put them on a foil-lined pan at 400 degrees F for 20-30 minutes.
This method is great for beginner veggie-lovers because of the smoky, charred flavors that enhance its natural taste! If you’re worried, add a few pieces of chicken to a kebab full of veggies and season before closing the lid. After a few minutes, open it up to see how your favorite spices and meats add to and complement the flavors!
Steaming your veggies is a great way to enhance the freshness of the food. Adding a small amount of butter and garlic, lemon and pepper, or your own combo combine for a crunchy, flavor-packed experience!
Add sauces, herbs, & spices:
It might seem backward to add calories in order to enjoy vegetables but think of it as a stepping stone. If a specific sauce or spice adds a few calories in exchange for a good portion of veggies, then it’s more than worth it. Try dipping carrots in hummus or spreading natural peanut butter on your celery to add a bit of creamy protein. You can also add cinnamon to a hearty root vegetable bake for a sweet twist! Play around with different flavor profiles and combinations to see which might work best in your household.
3. Hide Your Veggies:
If all else fails, there’s always a way to hide your vegetables! Here are a few ways to sneak them in so you won’t even notice:
- Add vegetable puree to your pasta sauce
- Swap your pizza crusts and mashed potatoes for cauliflower versions
- Toss spinach into your TLS Shake
- Switch yourAnguss patty for a black bean burger
- Try finding a black bean dessert recipe
It isn’t the end of the world if you aren’t a huge veggie fan, but these fiber-packed foods are important for healthy digestion, weight management, and satiety. There’s always a way to squeeze them in if you’re willing to get creative and have a little patience!
What are your favorite ways to fit veggies into your daily diet? Tell us in the comments!