How to Learn to Love Veggies (You Know You Want To)

Okay, I’m ready to admit it: I used to hate vegetables. Not all vegetables, mind you, no, I liked canned green beans (mmmm, salt!) and potatoes in any form, preferably smothered in cheese. And that was about it. I guess I’d eat some carrots if they were steamed and had a maple glaze on them, or some lettuce if you found me some blue cheese dressing to cover it in. Spinach? Nope. Broccoli? Yuck. Tomatoes? Ew. Well, if you cooked them and put them in a can with a bunch of other stuff and called them spaghetti sauce, then let me smother that in cheese (I see a theme here…), then ok.

This wasn’t just when I was 10. This continued on through my early adulthood. I moved to Vermont to work at a ski lodge just after I turned 22, and I remember finding the idea of eating the steamed broccoli served in the dining room pretty horrifying. I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear that I did love the roasted potatoes.

As time went on, though, I learned to love vegetables, and now eat them every single day. In fact, I just got done roasting a giant bunch of broccoli to go with my lunch, and I’m sure that’s not the only green thing that will end up in my mouth today.

So how did I make the transition from veggie-loather to veggie-lover?

I learned to prepare them myself

I think the reason I didn’t like veggies growing up was partially because I was a picky eater and partially because I didn’t like the way they were prepared. That little white box containing a frozen green brick of spinach didn’t appeal to me, even after it was prepared and edible. At some point in my early twenties I decided to learn to cook, and now, over ten years later, I’m still often searching the web to find the best way to prepare veggies. Trust me, if I have found ways to prepare broccoli that make me eat an entire head in one sitting and go back for more, you can, too.

I started trying ethnic food

Because of my pickiness growing up, I didn’t really like any other kind of food besides what would be called “American.” Maybe there was some Italian food thrown in (pizza, pasta), and some Chinese food (egg rolls, fried rice), for good luck, but my palate was limited. Once I started experimenting with new flavors I found out that vegetables really could be good, especially wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla and served with refried beans in a veggie fajita, or simmered in a delicious Asian-inspired sauce.

I hid them

I admit it, I still don’t love spinach that much, but throwing a few handfuls of the raw stuff into my morning fruit smoothie? Totally doable! If I can’t taste it, you can’t taste it. I even throw in kale or sometimes frozen green beans, and I barely know they’re there.

When in doubt, hide it in cheese

I mean, really. If it worked for me as a ten-year-old, it will work for adults. Obviously, it’s better to prepare vegetables in multiple ways so that you’re not eating a pound of cheese every day, but if it helps you learn to love veggies, give it a try!

You don’t have to love every single vegetable

Seriously. Variety is important to good health, but if you find 4 or 5 veggies you love, stick with them. You can try new ones every couple of weeks or try different preparations, but don’t stress about loving mushrooms if you’re really digging asparagus.

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