Learning to Enjoy Veggies Isn’t As Hard As You Think

Learning to Enjoy Veggies Isn’t As Hard As You Think

I remember the first time I lived all by myself: I was 20 years old, had just finished my junior year of college, and was moving off campus for my senior year.

Every Sunday morning I’d head to the little IGA nearby, picking up pretty much the same things every week: Spaghetti, marinara, cereal and some fruit.

In other words: I was seriously lacking variety and I was seriously lacking vegetables! I didn’t really know how to cook, most vegetables were pretty foreign to me, and my previous experiences with vegetables certainly did not make me want to try new ones!

Recently, I felt like I was living on my own again: my husband was out of town, and the menu and shopping were, once again, entirely up to me. On the menu this time? Things like broccoli potato patties, kale salad, green beans and tofu with peanut sauce, and saag paneer (an Indian dish with boatloads of spinach with a type of soft Indian cheese).

Tips & tricks to eat more vegetables

Here’s how I made the shift from eating a couple of servings of veggies a week to at least a few every single day.

  • I embraced different types of cuisines. This is what really kicked me into veggie eating mode, for sure. Growing up I didn’t have a lot of exposure to things like Mexican, Indian, or other Asian-inspired foods, and the way veggies are prepared in these types of cuisines turned out to be the kinds I liked best.
  • I made veggies as palatable as possible. When I first realized I could deal with eating lots of veggies, it was when someone made and served fajitas. I’d never had them before, and when I wrapped things like bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes in a tortilla and put some cheese and sour cream on them, bam, it helped me start eating them. These days I still make fajitas, but now I use whole grain or sprouted tortillas and often use plain Greek yogurt or guacamole and salsa instead of a bunch of cheese—but that was what I needed to get me started.
  • I started experimenting with different ways of preparing vegetables. Roasting vegetables was a game changer in our family, for instance. Broccoli and cauliflower taste amazing when they’ve been roasted (and this is coming from someone who thought broccoli was the absolute most terrible thing on earth). My husband didn’t want anything to do with kale until I roasted it and made it into kale chips, and now he asks for them almost weekly.
  • I eat only the veggies I like. I’m not crazy about certain vegetables (summer squash and mushrooms, I’m looking at you), so I don’t buy them, and I don’t feel bad about it. You don’t have to love every single vegetable in order to get more of them in your diet. Find what you do like and keep eating it!
  • I make it as easy as possible. There were some nights when my husband was gone that I most definitely did not feel like cooking or preparing much, so some nights I relied on frozen veggies, some nights I heated up the aforementioned saag paneer meal, and I did my best to prep stuff when I did have the energy, because that meant a container of roasted veggies or baked sweet potatoes were already waiting for me in the fridge.

I grew up thinking I did not like vegetables at all, and now I eat them every single day. If I can do it, you can do it, it just takes a little experimenting and practice.

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