Dietary guidelines recommend that we get at least five servings of vegetables every day. Veggies are low in calories, packed with nutrients and help you feel full when dieting. But for so many of us, veggies are a chore to eat. Try one of these tricks to make vegetables taste better.
Break old habits and try new varieties. If your experience with veggies is limited to your mother's intolerable Brussels sprouts casserole, then it is time to branch out. Head to your local farmer's market and investigate new flavors.
Search out vegetable varieties that you've never tried before. Speak to local growers and find out which vegetables are in season. You'll get the best flavor from foods that are grown recently and close to home.
If there is no farmer's market in your area, talk to the produce manager at your local grocery store. Vegetables are their profession, and in most cases, they are happy to share buying tips and preparation ideas. Many grocery stores also provide recipe cards with new ideas for cooking.
Quick and easy recipe: Have you tried Swiss chard? Chard can be prepared with just a few ingredients and very little added fat. Its savory taste is a perfect accompaniment for broiled fish or chicken.
Sautéed Swiss Chard
- 1 bunch chard
- 1 onion
- 1 tbs. olive oil
- chicken stock
- salt and pepper
Use herbs and spices to enhance or disguise the flavor. If vegetables are not your favorite food, then think about the foods you do enjoy. What seasonings are used to prepare them?
Do you crave tacos and nachos? Try sprinkling cumin, cayenne or Tabasco on sliced zucchini or yellow squash, then roast for a Mexican-style side dish. Do you favor French food? Chop fresh herbs such as tarragon and toss with a teaspoon of olive oil. Brush lightly on asparagus and roast. If you prefer Indian food, sprinkle curry on eggplant or another soft vegetable and grill or roast.
Quick and easy recipe: Try this basic technique for roasted asparagus. The same technique can be used with other veggies as well. Try one of the seasoning blends above or experiment with flavors from another food region.
Hide veggies in your favorite foods. If all else fails and you simply can't tolerate the taste of vegetables, try hiding them. It's one of my favorite ways to make vegetables taste better. For example, you can chop steamed broccoli into a small pieces and add them to low-fat turkey meatloaf. The blended seasonings in the loaf will cover up the taste of the broccoli, and you'll get one or two servings worth of vegetables inside a hearty lean meal.
Steamed cauliflower cubes can be added to a low-fat Southwestern omelet. Use egg whites or egg substitute, red peppers and a small amount of low-fat pepper Jack cheese in a non-stick pan to prepare the omelet. The mild cauliflower flavor will be undetectable when eaten with stronger spicy ingredients.
Quick and easy recipe: Carrot juice is a great way to get a serving of vegetables. Its sweet flavor blends well with fresh fruits and berries. Try this quick smoothie recipe for a healthy low-fat breakfast.
- 1 1/2 cups carrot juice
- 1 cup apple juice
- 6 ounces low fat vanilla yogurt
- ½ cup fresh strawberries
Food Groups - Vegetables. ChooseMyPlate.gov. USDA. Accessed: November 25, 2011. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/foodgroups/vegetables.html
5 A Day. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed: November 25, 2011. http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/5aday/