Whether you love them or hate them, vegetables are an important food that shouldn’t be overlooked or under-consumed. But most people get less than the ideal amount of veggies daily, and that can be harmful to health. Besides being a rich source of vitamins and minerals, vegetables help reduce inflammation, increase intestinal health, and keep the mind sharp. So how can you boost your appeal for veggies and make them a part of your daily eating plan? These six tips can help:
Pick Your Favourites
Nobody likes every veggie out there, but most people have at least a few they tolerate. Pick those you like best and start by incorporating them into your daily meals. Then get courageous and try experimenting with vegetables found in the same botanical family as your favourites. For example, if you like potatoes and tomatoes, plants from the nightshade family, you might enjoy eating eggplants, tomatillos, and bell peppers as well.
While they may not be as easy to find at the grocery store, exotic veggies can be a tasty option that’s worth your effort to seek out. Many are highly nutritious, colourful, and interesting to eat. Try kohlrabi, a cabbage-like vegetable popular in India that can be chopped and added to stir-fries or eaten raw in salads. Another possibility is calabaza, also called West Indian pumpkin, which is known for its sweet flavour and hefty doses of fibre.
Sneak Them In
According to USDA guidelines, adults should aim for three cups of veggies daily. But if you can’t stomach the thought of eating cupsful of peas or broccoli by themselves, there is another way. You can sneak diced veggies into main dishes, including casseroles, meatloaf, spaghetti, egg bakes, soups, and stews. Or, puree them in a smoothie with other ingredients that please your palate. Get creative and eat your veggies without even noticing.
Experiment with Cooking Methods
Don’t care for raw vegetables but don’t like them mushy either? Try steaming veggies for a few minutes. You’ll get a nice crunch that’s easy on the teeth and delicious to the bite. Cooking methods can change how you experience eating vegetables. If steaming isn’t your thing, try roasting, grilling, or pan-searing instead. Each method offers a unique taste experience; just be careful not to overcook to the point of losing nutrients.
Vegetables can be bland and boring on their own, but add some herbs and spices, and you’ll take your taste buds to a whole new level. Some of the best seasonings to give veggies a kick include garlic, ginger, mint, basil, and dill. You might also drizzle flavoured oils or lemon on your veggies for some extra zest. An added perk? Many seasonings contain powerful antioxidants that make vegetables even more health-friendly.
Don’t Limit Yourself to Fresh
Some people skimp on fresh veggies because they’re too expensive, not in season, or look blemished and mouldy. Don’t let that keep you from consuming them. There are plenty of vegetables that come frozen or in a can, and they’re still chockfull of nutrients and flavour. Plus, frozen and canned varieties can be the most convenient way to consume vegetables: cooking instructions come on the labels, and they store longer.
Consuming vegetables on a daily basis is key to good health. Embrace these powerhouse foods with the above tips and see how fun and easy eating your veggies can be.