I’ll admit it. When I was younger I never ate vegetables. And by never, I mean never.
Knowing what I know now however, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.
Vegetables are just one of those things that most kids don’t like eating. I didn’t like eating them, and my kids don’t like eating them. Then again, it may just be karma.
However, they are among the healthiest foods on the face of the earth. They are so healthy that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends us to eat between 2 to 3 cups of vegetables every day.
Why Eat Veggies?
- Vegetables are loaded with vitamins and minerals that are necessary to help keep our bodies healthy.
- The are low in calories and often don’t contain any fat. They are also low in sodium.
- Vegetables are among the best sources of fiber, which is something almost everyone doesn’t get enough of.
- Veggies have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, along with fighting off certain types of cancers.
Tips to Start Eating Vegetables (for You or Your Kids)
One of the first methods I tried was forcing myself to eat vegetables. This was partially successful in that it got me eating them, but not successful enough to make me eat them regularly.
I think part of the reason why it worked to a point was I was already more mature by the time I started forcing myself to vegetables.
This meant I understood their health benefits and the potential risks to my health not eating them would do. Without this type of a mindset I doubt that this method would work even a slight bit since forcing something often ends up in avoidance.
This never worked with my kids so it takes a bit of maturity to work.
Find Vegetables You Like
This is a better technique than forcing yourself.
As much as you or your kids say that you don’t like to eat vegetables, there’s bound to be at least a few of them (out of the multitudes) that you’ll like.
You may like it for its crunch, its taste or something else but I guarantee if you try enough of them, you’ll find at least a few that you or your kids will like.
Figure Out How to Cook Them
In addition to choosing the right veggies, cooking method matters too.
Have you ever noticed how kids will eat certain foods or ingredients at restaurants but not when cooked at home?
I learned this early on when I saw my youngest eating salad at the restaurant but never touched any salad made at home.
Sometimes it’s just copying the flavor profile, other times it’s the presentation. But changing the cooking method or preparation can make you like certain foods better. Veggies included.
I’ve found the serving them raw in salads is often harder to sell to kids as opposed to grilled or baked.
Hide Vegetables in Foods You Enjoy Eating
This is my favorite sneaky trick.
The kids don’t like vegetables when they’re just prepared as is. But hide them in other foods then they get their daily serving.
It does take a bit more creativity to pull things off. And if you don’t hide it well enough or grind them down enough you may notice the vegetables get picked away and left on the plate.
I speak from experience.
Some great ways to include veggies in food include mixing them with the meatballs, burgers or meatloaf.
You can also add them as topping to pizza or include them (in smaller pieces) in stews or soups. If you workout then mixing them into your protein shake or making a smoothie drink is another easy way to get some vegetables into your diet.
Often slicing them up, mashing or grinding them is your best bet for easily incorporating them into other dishes.
Add Flavor to Them
The one knack with healthy food is that they don’t taste as good as less healthy and junk food. It’s probably the biggest reason why people continue eating more unhealthy food and shy away from the healthy stuff.
Most vegetables don’t have much of a taste. While a few do, majority are bland or don’t taste good at all. Adding flavor through the use of herbs and spices are great ways adding flavor to veggies.
It makes it easier to enjoy food that tastes good.