I never enjoyed vegetables growing up, but as I grew older, I found ways to sneak them into my diet. And even better, I started to enjoy them. Since one of the reasons to eat vegetables is for our health, we should try to eat the ones that help us the most.
The More Colorful, The Better
As I mentioned before, there’s a lot of benefits of having vegetables including fiber and vitamins. Another important factor is color.
When I was young, my mom at dinner used to always tell me I needed a lot of colors on my plate. I used to think it was just another mom-ism that I didn’t need to follow. I knew all of those nutrients weren’t worth all the bad flavor. What I didn’t realize then, and maybe what she didn’t realize either, but she was on to a very good thing.
Those colors represent vitamins, but they also tell us the level of anti-oxidants. Have you ever wondered why nutritionists always want you to eat spinach instead of lettuce? It’s because the darker the leaf, the more antioxidants are packaged into that food. This is true with all vegetables—the more color they have, the more beneficial. Good examples are blueberries, tomatoes and broccoli. Also, try to eat different colors like orange carrots and red tomatoes. Antioxidants have been proven to be the biggest fighter against free radicals. These are the chemicals in your body that damage body cells and makes you age faster.
Sneak in your Vegetables!
I tried to eat spinach salad, but I came to the conclusion that I really don’t enjoy it. There are benefits of eating it and I try to find creative ways of getting it into my diet. An easy way to eat spinach is mixing it in my salad with other greens like arugula. This way, I’m still receiving the nutrition of spinach, but it still tastes like arugula.
I never really enjoyed iceberg lettuce in my sandwich because I always thought it added little flavor, became soggy quickly, and made all of my toppings slide off. What I’ve done recently is request spinach instead. It provides a better crunch when biting into it, and more importantly, there’s a ton more health benefits from it. After finishing my sandwich, never once do I feel like I just had spinach in my sandwich.
Another way to sneak in vegetables is to nibble on them when you get home from work. Typically, this is the time when you’re craving something to much on. Instead of reaching for chips or something that you’ll regret later, reach for some precut carrots, pea pods or cauliflower. You’re so desperate for food that it makes the vegetables taste even better. The best part is that you don’t have to worry about eating or preparing a vegetable for dinner because you just had your vegetables! If you want to add a different flavor to your veggies, bring out some hummus for dipping. Hummus consists of mostly garbanzo beans/chick peas, which is one of the healthiest and perfect foods on earth! It has vitamins, tons of fiber, and protein! I use it as a sandwich spread to replace mayonnaise. I also put it in my salad so I don’t have to use dressing!
A better alternative than boiling vegetables is steaming. It keeps the flavor intact and doesn’t make your vegetables soggy. I’ve actually started to acquire a taste for asparagus in recent years. Steaming is the best way to bring out the flavor but don’t cook them too long since it will make them soggy. Another great way to enjoy asparagus is by wrapping prosciutto around it and baking it in the oven for a short amount of time.
Edamame is another great vegetable that I love since it tastes similar to peas. If slightly steamed, it stays firm and much of the flavor stays intact. They’re also naturally low in calories and a rich source of iron, fiber and protein.