As a child, I hated salads. My parents would have to drench veggies in cheese and dressing to get me to eat them. Now, 14 years later, I LOVE vegetables and actually crave them. Here's a few of my tips on how to eat a little bit healthier.
1. Hide Them In Your Desserts
You don’t honestly think carrot cake was invented because someone just LOVED carrots so much that he wanted them in his cakes do you? Take inspiration from this wartime staple and add some shredded or puréed veggies, to those cupcakes you make for your niece's bake sale so that you can feel a little less guilty about eating half the batter.
2. Cook Them Properly
If you think you don’t like veggies, chances are you’ve only ever had them boiled to death and unseasoned. Instead of sad, quilted vegetables, try grilled corn with cayenne and parmesan, roasted Brussels Sprouts with maple glaze or carrots shredded onto a Banh mi sandwich.
3. Mix Them With Foods You Do Like
Next time you order a burrito at Chipotle, try adding the corn salsa or fajita veggies. You’re more likely to eat vegetables if they’re in foods you already love than if you have to shell out $50 on a bunch of exotic ingredients at Whole Foods to make raw vegan portobello ravioli.
4. Try Meatless Mondays
This might be a bit of a jump for most self-proclaimed vegetable haters, but making even one meal a week that's plant based can help you find new ways to work vegetables into your diet. Try a veggie burger with all the regular fixings. Minus bacon, and, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even ditch the cheese and mayo. Make sure to choose a burger made from vegetables, not textured vegetable protein. I like Doctor Prager's.
5. Cook Your Salads
This might sound weird to some, but when I first went vegan, I couldn’t stomach the majority of leafy greens. Kale and spinach seemed to taunt me from the corners of the farmers market, touting health benefits that I would never receive. Then, I tried roasting and sautéing mixes of kale, onion, peppers, mushroom and vegan sausages. Serve that over a baked sweet potato and you have one of my favorite meals. I literally ate this exact meal for lunch for a solid week after discovering it.
6. If you Don’t Like One Veggie, Find Another
My boyfriend wouldn’t eat beets if I paid him because he hates the texture, but he loves grilled onions and mushrooms as well as coleslaw. If you don’t like mushrooms, try something less gummy, like bell pepper. If you don’t like the taste of pepper, try carrots. It might take you a bit, but I can almost guarantee you’ll find a few vegetables you like.
7. Learn To Take What You Can Get
Take it from a girl who’s had quite a few huge dietary changes in the past five years, training your taste buds to like something you aren’t accustomed to can take months or even years. Maybe right now the only vegetables you can stomach are tomato sauce and guacamole, and that’s fine. Learning to eat healthy is a process and a slow one at that. If you find yourself gagging at the idea of broccoli anywhere near your pizza, don’t sweat it. Revisit new ideas in the future, maybe you’ll like them better. What’s important is that you’re happy and healthy.