I’d be lying if I said that I was an immunity powerhouse in 2016. I got sick last month and it was seriously the shittiest week of my L-I-F-E. Oh yeah, and we were prepping for AP exams at school. My brain was practically shriveled up like a pumpkin seed by the time I got home every day that particular time. 😦 This called for basically shoveling as many cups of kale in my face for two weeks straight, which resulted in my breath smelling just like leaves.
Rarely do I ever meet someone who inherently loved vegetables. When I was born, I don’t remember what my first words were but they were for sure NOT “broccoli” and “cabbage”. If there was anything I inherently DID enjoy, it was most likely cheese and vanilla ice cream, both of which I know now do not agree with my system because I am lactose intolerant. I was probably French or Italian in my previous life.
Fast forward eighteen years later, and I can smash in vegetables like a caveman smashes in charred bison. Okay, that’s a bit of an overstatement, but really, I love vegetables and the thought of cooking them and eating them excites me! Now I know that a lot of you may know someone who is the total opposite of me—in fact, you could be the opposite of me yourself—and you want to find a way to start loving veggies die-hard style.
- Don’t be forceful. Seeing my little sister try to eat a piece of broccoli is literally the most painful thing to do on the face of the Earth. Frankly, if you don’t like a certain vegetable but you know that it’s super healthy for you, stay the heck away from it. If you try to force yourself to eat something that you don’t like and you’re dreading every minute you consume it, then you’re just setting yourself up for failure. Start off with what you find is the most enjoyable, and you can work your way from there.
- Substitute wisely. We all know that the statement “spaghetti squash tastes just like pasta” is total BS. I’m sorry, spaghetti squash, but it’s true. That’s why I like to enjoy vegetables as vegetables, not as a substitution for a naughty food. If you think that cauliflower rice tastes just like real sushi rice, then you’ll just be disappointing yourself. But, there are plenty of really incredible recipes that actually make the vegetables so amazingly palatable that you won’t even notice a thing. Cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes? Check. Zucchinis instead of butter in a brownie? Got you covered. Eggplant instead of lasagna noodles? Mission accomplished!
- Become inspired. I got one word for you: Pinterest. You have no idea how many times I made uber boooooooring salads because at the time, I didn’t really know how creative you could get with them. Thanks to all of the social media outlets and the new books and blogs we can access, it’s hard not to avoid food porn. I learned that salads don’t require lettuce and that cauliflower can pretty much be used for ANYTHING after researching all of the incredible recipes online. If you take the time to look around, you’ll find a lot of cooking magicians who can make veggies into artwork in a single POOF!
- Educate yourself. People know that vegetables provide vitamins and minerals and all, but they generally don’t look past this. You should know which vegetables you need to buy organic, which ones you should have the most servings of, which ones you can moderate, which vegetables have the most vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, B vitamins, etc. Worldwide there are so many people who are deficient in optimal micronutrients because they’re not eating enough vegetables and they don’t know how to do so in the best ways possible! Anyways, if you educate yourself beyond the basics, then you’ll gain more intrinsic motivation to try eating more vegetables, which will ultimately help you stick to your goals.
- Make them and hide them. Calling all picky kids who want to get healthier: eat them but don’t taste them. You can puree your vegetables before closing them in an omelet or chop them up super finely in your entrée. You’ll be surprised as to how easily you can add leafy greens into pastas and on top of pizzas if you do it right! Slowly but surely you’ll embrace the taste of vegetables so that you can enjoy them on their own, and even if you like them best in a cheesy casserole, at least you’re getting veggies in somehow.
- Stick to what you love. To be honest, I would MUCH rather have steamed broccoli than raw broccoli. I don’t like olives either, so I don’t eat them. I am lucky to love a huge variety of vegetables, but I know that more people have a limited range, and that’s okay! If you don’t like kale, then DON’T even bother with it, despite that it’s a raging superfood. Don’t feel obligated to enjoy every vegetable you come across. It’s highly likely that you will like the taste of everything anyways.
- But try other things. I always loved cooked carrots and sweet potatoes, but never would I ever think that I’d adore boiled parsnips and radishes too! I actually have never tried eggplant or zucchini until the end of freshman year, and now they are staples! I also can’t get enough of Japanese yams and kabocha, two squashes I’ve only encountered very recently and that I love even more than the standard orange sweet potatoes! Expanding my horizon to different vegetables has made healthy eating that much more enjoyable and it will do the same for you.
- Be creative. Definitely one of the most important tips here for many, many reasons—who wants to eat raw kale and steamed broccoli all the time? I know that if I had to do that, I’d get bored fast. I’ve found that making cauliflower the base of my curry, aka my favorite dish EVER, yields the creamiest result and is a great way for me to get in tons of vitamin C and vegetable servings without even knowing it! I also can make pudding for breakfast out of kabocha and get in all of my RDA of vitamin A in one sitting along with a ton of B vitamins, iron, fiber, vitamin C, copper, potassium, vitamin K, vitamin E and folate. DESSERT FOR BREAKFAST. Who wouldn’t want that?
I hope that at least some, even only one of these tips has given you some new insight on how to incorporate more veggies into your regimen! These have aided me so much in my weight loss journey and in my blogging journey as I’ve learned to diverge my ways of cooking and eating towards greater heights! Please comment below if you want more of these types of posts and any pieces of advice that I’ve missed!
Were you always a veggie lover? What are your tips on eating more vegetables?