Nutrition Articles

Learn to Love Vegetables

8 Tips to Go for the Green!

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Add some flavor. When cooking vegetables, it usually takes just a little bit of flavor to make them more appetizing. I'm not a fan of plain vegetables either. I don't think many people are. But you can add flavor (and nutrition) to raw veggies with healthy dips like hummus (great with carrots, celery, sliced peppers, cucumbers and more) or your favorite salad dressing (yep, it works for things other than salads). When cooking vegetables, most taste great with just a little salt, pepper and garlic. But I find that sautéed onions and garlic make just about anything taste good, so I often cook those first and then add some vegetables to the mix, which brings me to my next point.

Learn how to cook! I've had to teach myself how to cook as an adult. I come from a family of…whatever word exists to describe the opposite of a chef. Cooking has become quite a hobby for me and it's surprisingly fun, relaxing, entertaining and interesting. So how'd I learn to cook? Mostly by trial and error. But I can't take all the credit. I read books and magazines and would call my cooking friends to ask how to prepare a random vegetable that I bought at the store. Little by little, you'll pick up knowledge and learn how to make food taste (and look) great. Even if it doesn't come out perfectly, you'll still learn what NOT to do, and that's a step in the right direction.

Try, try again. Most of you are probably parents who have to deal with picky eaters on a regular basis. What most feeding experts will tell you is that a child has to try a food several different times before they might being to like it. What's true for kids is the same for adults. There are foods that I swear I hated my entire life that now, I really like. I just kept trying them in new ways, in different combinations, etc. I used to think I hated strawberries because I had never had a strawberry that I ever liked. But a couple years ago, I was on a mission to find that perfect strawberry, because I just knew I'd like it if I just found a good one. And what do you know--I did. And in the process I learned that, to me, organic tastes best. And so does freshly picked berries in summer (when they're at the peak of freshness and flavor), so I only eat them then. I also learned what color they should be to taste perfect. This is just one example of how you can't write off a food, especially if it's been a very long time since you last tried 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 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
  • JANETEMILY
    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
  • SUNDEVILS1
    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
  • TRACEYDT
    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
  • LSPANBAUER
    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 right...how 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
  • ETHELMERZ
    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
  • HELENQ3
    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
  • Great article. - 11/1/2013 12:28:31 AM

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