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Picky eaters: how to get more veggies in diet



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CHRISSDEE
SparkPoints: (1,779)
Fitness Minutes: (165)
Posts: 18
7/3/13 3:42 P

Thank you, everyone, for your input. There were some really great suggestions!



AZULVIOLETA6
SparkPoints: (54,730)
Fitness Minutes: (65,733)
Posts: 2,667
7/2/13 9:29 P

Well, green beans are wonderful nutritionally, so that is a great place to start. Add me to the list of people who don't really like most cooked veggies. Mushy is not my thing. I eat almost all of my vegetables raw or stir-fried, with the exception of soups and marinara sauce.

Spinach and zucchini are good "secret weapon" vegetables for adding bulk and nutrition to dishes without changing the flavor all that much. A whole cup of spinach only has 7 calories and is packed with vitamins. I put spinach in soup a lot, especially tortilla soup. Here's a dish that isn't white carb-free, but it's still pretty good for you and very tasty: 2 oz penne pasta*, 1/2 C grape or cherry tomatoes, 1/2 C spinach, 4 oz. chopped roasted chicken (leftovers, breast, etc.) and 2T pesto sauce, preferably homemade.

If you grate up zucchini you can slip it into soup or just about any baked good. It also freezes well.

*use Barilla Plus pasta and that improves the nutrition a bit

Edited by: AZULVIOLETA6 at: 7/2/2013 (21:33)


RUN4FOOD
Posts: 1,417
7/2/13 9:14 P

CHRISSDEE, a little different way to answer your question.
About 1 1/2 years ago I started tracking the number of fruits and vegetables I eat each week. Over four weeks I averaged 5 per week.
I knew I had to change that.
I started with 6 fruits or vegetables each week for the next month. Each month since then I have found different ways to add fruits and vegetables. I have actually come to like almost any type of fruit and most vegetables I eat.
This month I'll eat 21 fruits or vegetable each week. It's been pretty easy to find one item I like each month.
Good luck on your journey.




IAMLOVEDBYYOU
Posts: 369
7/2/13 6:26 P

Find a dip or sauce that you like and put the veggies in that. Also, don't underestimate the value of salt with veggies.

I solved it in a "mind over matter" way. I just decided that I needed to eat any vegetables and didn't have a choice. Every dinner, I would eat two servings of vegetables- one I liked, and one I didn't like. I just ate them. Even if it meant I sat at the table until they were cold. Even if I had to hold my nose. Even if it was slimy. Even if it made me gag. I just ate it.

Eventually, I got used to it.



1JOLLYPOLLY
Posts: 58
7/2/13 6:17 P

Boil cauliflour when you do potatoes for mashed potatoes. (My kids have no idea) Puree carrots for any tomato based sauce--sweetens naturally. Puree beans and add to meat for meatloaf or meat balls. To be honest, this is the only way I eat enough veggies unless I have them raw.



RUSSELL_40
Posts: 16,826
7/2/13 5:50 P

I don't really like veggies all by themselves, so I tend to put them into stir fries. Some chicken, and olive oil, and add the veggies towards the end. With a little meat flavoring, plus the right amount of seasoning, they taste wonderful,



HEALTHYFOREVER4
SparkPoints: (20,173)
Fitness Minutes: (6,240)
Posts: 234
7/2/13 5:46 P

I don't like very many veggies either, but I have come to truly love the ones I do enjoy. I agree with the already mentioned suggestions of trying them in a variety of ways before you just give up on them. Also, don't discount fruit. I know I eat a lot more fruit than veggies, but it counts towards your overall "freggie" count too! And if you really don't like too many veggies, even after trying them multiple ways, then just try to eat a lot more of the ones you DO like! Check out different recipes and ways to make them too; that way you won't get bored eating the same old vegetables, the same ways every time. Sneaking veggies in really is another good option.



ICEDEMETER
Posts: 702
7/2/13 2:14 P

My trick to adding new foods is to take it slow and not overwhelm myself.

When I want to try something new, I buy just a little bit - literally 2 servings only. I then plan on making it as either a side-dish or appetizer, and as an "extra" to my daily nutrition plan. This way, if I hate it, it's really no big deal to toss it. I won't still be hungry, and I won't be missing any nutrition.

The first time I try a new vegetable, I generally will try it roasted (lightly spritzed with oil and then in to the oven on parchment paper for 10-13 minutes at 375) unless I've found another recipe that sounds appealing (or if it requires a different prep, like a squash). When I taste it, I make notes as to my reaction: how is the flavour, how is the texture, what spices or other foods might taste good with this. If the texture is good, but I'm not a huge fan of the flavour, then I'll try it with an "addition" (balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, cheese sauce, or whatever other sauce that I like).

About a week or so later, I'll try the veg again, but this time will lightly steam it. I'll make the same notes and try the same additions.

Another week or so later, I'll do yet one more try, but this time will do a light stir-fry with it, usually with a toasted sesame oil and some garlic and other spices (I'll have an idea of the what spices I might like with it based on my previous notes).

By this point, I'll know if this particular veg is one that I just hopelessly detest (eggplant, I'm talking to you), or if there is a way to prepare it that I'll really enjoy it. I'm not above adding a Tbsp or 2 of a strongly flavoured cheese sauce, or other sauce, in order to make the flavour palatable to me. I like to have a variety of veg every week, so end up interspersing those I love with those that are just "ok with a sauce". I'm ok with that.

For me, I have a number of veg that I will eat any possible way, including raw: spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, onions, mushrooms, cucumbers, tomatoes, parsnips, and asparagus. There are others that I only enjoy if part of something else (a stir-fry, an omelet, or a casserole): zucchini, corn, peas, beans, snap peas, kale, and bok choy. There are still others that I enjoy, but always have a strongly flavoured sauce with: brussels sprouts, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. I can tell you quite honestly that most of these did not used to be on the menu!

If you approach it as a fun experiment, that really is only worth a few giggles if it doesn't work out, then you may find it much easier to add new things to your diet. If you take the "should eat this" and other pressures off, then it's so much simpler to really taste and experience new foods to see what is worth adding to your menus in future.

Happy experimenting!





LEC358
SparkPoints: (9,040)
Fitness Minutes: (6,540)
Posts: 2,043
7/2/13 2:11 P

This isn't the healthiest trick but it worked pretty well on me when I was a kid"

I *hated* vegetables growing up. Would not eat anything but tomatoes. But I loved cheese, so my mom started giving me different vegetables smothered in cheese and as I ate more each time, she lessened the amount of cheese in the dish and in about 3 years I was no longer considered a picky eater.

tl;dr: Hide vegetables in something you do like and lessen the ingredient 'hiding' them each time.



JAMIRBLAZE
Posts: 808
7/2/13 2:11 P

You've gotten some good suggestions, but I'd add that a squeeze of lemon juice (or lime) can really perk up green veggies. A bit of greek yogurt and some herbs can make a nice dressing/dip. Herbes de Provence are my favorite to use when roasting veggies (it can be a bit pricey, but a little goes a long way).

Shreding zucchini (carrots are good too) into things is easy and will bulk up your veggie intake. I do this will scrambled egg whites, pasta sauce, etc. A tip is to squeeze some of the moisture out with a clean kitchen towel to avoid making things soggy. I use this trick even though I like zucchini just fine.



DIETITIANBECKY
Posts: 26,530
7/2/13 2:08 P

My all-time, favorite cookbook for veggies and fruits is available on amazon, check it out:
Simple In Season

Becky
SP Registered Dietitian



MEGAPEEJ
Posts: 732
7/2/13 1:44 P

I totally second WADINGMOOSE that too many of us grew up with overcooked, poorly prepared veggies and that's a big reason we didn't want to eat them! Veggies shouldn't be boiled to death and brown and soggy, nor should they be super processed and stuck in a can for a year (again, becoming soggy).

Many veggies can be tossed in a pan with just a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper or some other herb/seasoning, and cooked for just a few minutes. I also like to "sneak" veggies in - I'll cut up up veggies and add them to pasta (I can still see them, not very sneaky), or I'll grate them and add them to meatloaf or taco meat (this is pretty hidden) - now I'm eating less pasta/meat and more veggies! Ask at your produce department what's in season, and how to best cook it. Summer squash is especially great, and if you like fruit you have a lot of options there as well.



CHRISSDEE
SparkPoints: (1,779)
Fitness Minutes: (165)
Posts: 18
7/2/13 1:41 P

Thank you for the suggestions, WADINGMOOSE! I really appreciate it. The roasted veggies do sound really good.



WADINGMOOSE
Posts: 1,044
7/2/13 1:23 P

The sticking point for me was overcooked vegetables. Who wants to eat a soggy piece of green food with no texture and even less flavor? Plus, I finally made myself grow up and act like an adult. I don't LOVE all the food I eat, but I do tend to like it. :)

Try roasted vegetables (cauliflower, beets, onions, potatoes, carrots - any root vegetable, really, asparagus) toss them with a bit of olive oil and some herbs/garlic/spices, sprinkle lightly with salt and roast until done. Length of time depends on vegetable and size of pieces.

Try frittatas with greens, onion, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and then topped with salsa.

For green beans and asparagus, I like to cook them for a short period of time in a pan with a little bit of olive oil and garlic. They're still pretty crisp when I'm done cooking them, I then toss them with balsamic vinegar or a vinaigrette dressing.

Raw veggies - carrots, peas, spinach, romaine, peppers, asparagus, kale, cucumbers - alone or mixed into a salad with a light dressing are fantastic.

Eggplant and zucchini can be made into a fantastic ratatouille sauce for pasta.

I add celery, peppers and onions to tuna salad and put a slice of tomato on top or have a toasted tomato & cheese sandwich for breakfast instead of toast with jam/peanut butter. I find tomatoes slightly bland, so I salt and pepper the tomato.



CHRISSDEE
SparkPoints: (1,779)
Fitness Minutes: (165)
Posts: 18
7/2/13 12:59 P

One of my biggest problems when it comes to eating healthy is that I am a super picky eater. I admittedly have the pallet of a a 5 year old, and I'm not proud of it. I could practically live off the carb- and starch-filled things like bread, pasta, and potatoes, while the only veggie I like is green beans. I know, it's terrible, and I am trying to make the necessary changes in my life. Does anyone have any suggestions or yummy recipes that could help me to incorporate veggies into my diet?



 
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