Nutrition Articles

Learn to Love Vegetables

8 Tips to Go for the Green!

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When I became a vegetarian, I could have probably counted the number of fruits and vegetables that had crossed my lips the previous 18 years on two hands.

But things are different these days, and veggies are the highlight of my lunches and dinners. But it wasn't always that way. Like most people, I hated all things green and healthy.

I get questions about this a lot--people calling themselves picky eaters, saying they don't like a single vegetable out there. Take it from a person who was just like you. You CAN learn to like vegetables. And beyond that, you CAN meet your daily quota in a variety of tasty ways.

Here are 8 techniques and tips I used to like vegetables. Try them yourself--you just might be surprised.

Say no to plain vegetables. One of the main reasons people don't like vegetables is because they try to eat them plain. If you're new to eating healthy, this is one of the worst things you can do! Most people don't have the taste buds for a plate of steamed broccoli or spinach. And why should you have to suffer through that for the sake of your health? The thing I did most when I started eating healthier was put vegetables into things I already ate: broccoli mixed in with macaroni and cheese, chopped carrots mixed in with seasoned rice mixes, and frozen spinach added to a can of soup are just a few examples. This is a great way to introduce veggies into your diet, where the flavors of the other foods you eat them with help them taste better and less noticeable. Start by adding small amounts of veggies to your standard meals, and as your taste buds adapt, you can add more and more.

Mix your food. If you're one of those people who neatly puts your food into distinct piles on a plate, never mixing them up, then you might hate this idea. I'm not one of those non-food-mixers myself. Most of my meals get mixed up into one big jumble, and while it doesn't look pretty, it sure tastes good. This is similar to the tip above, incorporating veggies into dishes you already eat. But sometimes you can't just add a helping of peas to, say, a turkey burger. But served as a side, you can mix bits of veggies on your plate with the other main dishes--to add flavor and mask the taste if you don't like it.
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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, Nicole loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Nicole was formerly SparkPeople's fitness expert and editor-in-chief, known on the site as "Coach Nicole." Make sure to explore more of her articles and blog posts.

Member Comments

  • I love a good stir fry with lots of veggies. - 4/10/2016 9:28:15 PM
  • I like the idea of adding frozen spinach to canned soup...I never would have thought of that but it sounds delicious! - 1/19/2016 1:35:33 PM
  • NANCY12101964
    Recently I have rediscovered young brussel sprouts. I like them wrapped in bacon and baked, but any other suggestions ? - 1/14/2016 2:47:25 PM
    Growing up in the 60's, I don't remember many Moms cooking "fresh" vegetables, and don't remember them using the herbs and spices we use now, so things were VERY bland. Love the idea of hiding vegetables in other foods--me Mom used to make us eat at least some vegetables, and my brothers and especially didn't like black-eye peas. We would smother them with ketchup and bury them in our mashed potatoes! I love many vegetables now - but still can't eat those peas! - 1/14/2016 6:52:57 AM
  • It would be a LOT easier right now if the prices weren't skyrocketing right now with the low dollar. - 1/13/2016 9:24:52 PM
    I've added vegetables to things I already eat too. I always have frozen broccoli on hand and I add it to mac & cheese and even to ramen. It makes the dish more hearty so I feel fuller after I eat. - 1/13/2016 10:59:36 AM
    I'm a RDN and I love to cook - but I struggle with eating enough vegetables. These are some great tips! Also, research shows that you may have to introduce a new food up to 28 times before a child (or in our case an adult) may accept it!! Most of us give up way too soon. Good article. - 1/13/2016 9:36:17 AM
    Locally grown and freshly picked vegetables are the BEST!!! A store-bought tomato is nothing like a home grown one.Their flavors are so much better than commercially grown produce. Grow your own if possible, or buy from farmer's markets. - 1/13/2016 9:21:55 AM
  • My vegetable intake as a kid was limited to NONE. I hated them all. As an adult, I have come to like corn, spinach, peas and diced carrots in rice, and butternut squash. Nicole is it's prepared is half the battle.

    I'm in search of finding more veggies that I can learn to like! - 1/13/2016 8:24:31 AM
  • As a child I hated cauliflower. I don't remember when I suddenly liked it, but it happened. I love vegetables starting with their variety of lovely colors. I like putting them altogether in a big container when I come from the market, just to enjoy the colors before putting them away. And I love the "plain" kind. A little salt--very little--and fresh ground black pepper, hot or cold, with fingers or fork and enjoying taste and texture makes mealtime pleasant. I am sometimes lazy about preparing them fresh so I keep frozen vegetables in the freezer. My goal is at least 1 vegetable each meal, starting with breakfast. I like and eat meat, too. - 1/13/2016 3:51:05 AM
    We still don't love vegetables, no matter what you say!! Mix them, kiss them, add them to this and that, they are still no better than going into the yard, cutting pieces off of bushes and forcing them down the family's throat. I serve each of us a regular serving , and it's eaten, but not with pleasure. Only a few are enjoyed.... Kale ruined a lot of palates, watercress has more vitamins than kale, but kale farmers bought an ad agency off to promote it, worst stuff, ever!! - 1/13/2016 3:21:11 AM
  • I now add leafy greens - a big handful - to my breakfast shake. I also will sometimes add broccoli. With fruit also in the shake (strawbs or blubes or bananas), I get 2-3 veggie/fruit servings in one meal. (BTW, I also include milk, yogurt, flax seeds, almonds or walnuts, Stevia, and ice. I used to add protein powder, but it's pretty expensive and can have lots of carbs & sugar.) I'm a type 2 diabetic. - 1/18/2015 8:02:23 PM
  • What happened to the parents who raised their children to love vegetables?
    My parents raised us this way and I raised my 3 to do the same.
    We all love vegetables and I miss the old-time restaurants who used to serve an inexpensive vegetable plate. - 1/13/2015 7:39:28 PM
  • I'm a vegetarian and already eat lots of vegetables, but your article was still useful to me because I always eat my vegetables plain. I don't even put salt in the water when I cook them.

    Whilst I DO like the taste of plain veggies (steamed broccoli is one of my favourites, in fact!), I often think my meals are very boring. - 1/13/2015 11:01:00 AM
    I love Kale greens and most other veggies. I am learning to experiment with different spices to make them taste better. - 12/17/2013 11:09:05 PM

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