Disclaimer: I am not a scientist or registered dietician. I am armed with little more than the common sense knowledge that you should include vegetables in your diet.
I grew up eating relatively healthy. My mom made us balanced meals for dinner, you had to eat your fruit before you could have your cookie, and we could drink one soda per weekend – usually splitting the can between Saturday and Sunday. Despite the introduction to many vegetables, I struggled to like them. I was distressed when my mom told me that corn and potatoes (my two favorites) were technically starches. Here are some ways I’ve learned to include more vegetables in my meals.
Bribe yourself. I love mac and cheese – not even the homemade stuff. I’m talking about the orange powder packet kind of mac and cheese. Now that I work from home, I face the temptation to make it for lunch on a regular basis. This is obviously not the healthiest option, so now whenever I want mac and cheese, it comes with strings attached, and those strings are broccoli. Broccoli, like most cruciferous vegetables, is not my favorite, but mixed with mac and cheese? It’s not so bad, then.
Learn new techniques. Did you know you’re supposed to massage kale? The first few times I made a kale salad, I didn’t massage it, and I thought kale being popular was a conspiracy theory. I couldn’t believe this was the superfood so many people were fawning over. Then I learned if you sprinkle some salt on kale and massage it, it actually tastes like food rather than roughage.
Mask them with stronger flavors. I got the cookbook Run Fast, Eat Slow for Christmas, and my friend Keri raved about the “Can’t Beet Me Smoothie.” Beets have an incredibly strong flavor, and I knew from smelling them that I probably wouldn’t like this smoothie. I choked down the first few batches, and then I adjusted the recipe. I added a higher ratio of blueberries and almond butter. Those increases plus the fresh ginger overpowered the beets, and now I get all of the benefits of beets without holding my nose while drinking my breakfast.
Add them in unexpected places. Another great recipe from Run Fast, Eat Slow is for the Superhero Muffins. In addition to normal ingredients like eggs and oats, these muffins have shredded carrots and zucchini as well. The shredding is a bit labor intensive, but these muffins freeze well, so it’s worth it to make a batch and defrost them as needed.
Thankfully there are vegetables that I like, so I don’t have to employ a trick or bribe every day. And if any of these stop working, the internet is full of recipes!