How to eat more vegetables even when you’re not really a fan

-Sep 20, Jenny Paul , Nutrition -

Ideally we need to get our ten-a-day rather than just five, but for some people it can be hard to figure out how to do so without getting bored. That’s because we often fall into the trap of buying the same veggies every week. The more variety of fresh produce you can consume the better range of nutrients you will consume too. So expand your range of vegetables and excite your palate once more with these easy to implement tips.

Sign up to a veggie box scheme

There are so many both local and national fresh produce box schemes now you should be able to find one for you. Most suggest a size to fit your family and many now have an option to omit certain fruits or vegetables. Rather than take lots out, see what arrives and try some of the veggies you didn’t like in the past using the below tips. You are likely to receive vegetables you haven’t seen in the supermarket and a lot of the boxes come with recipe cards or cooking suggestions for the more unusual suspects. Soon you will feel more confident working with vegetables you don’t know and try things you would have never seen in most supermarkets in the first place!

Try something you think you don’t like 

There are some foods we have tried in the past and hated. This could be because they were cooked badly, it could be because they were new to you and so the texture, flavour or smell raised alarm bells in your brain as a self-preservation technique.

But we are constantly growing and changing and that includes our tastes as well. Over time, our taste buds change as when we are children we are ‘programmed’ to avoid bitter plant matter as these foods were potentially harmful. So vegetables with a bitter tang, like brussels sprouts, broccoli or olives, triggered natural protective responses. We build up a taste for things through gradual exposure and ‘learn’ to like them. So eating them when you aren’t keen will turn into eating them because you enjoy the flavour. 

Also try adding something you like to something you don’t like. So perhaps put peppers on your pizza, or add spinach to your pineapple smoothie. By combining foods you are more likely to accept them and grow to like them in their own right.

Read on: Make vegetables the star with these vegetarian recipes

Buy one vegetable you have never seen before every week

We are pretty sure if you saw a new cocktail on your favorite bar menu or a new class at your gym you would try it at least once? It might be something you love or else it can be put down to experience. Transferring that attitude to your vegetable shop will make a big difference. Check out the ethnic section for veg you may have seen on holiday or eaten in restaurants but never cooked at home. In many supermarkets where is some information on the sign about the vegetables origins and cooking tips. You can also have a Google and find simple recipes. If it means you use yu choi instead of more common pak choi in your stir fry or plantain instead of sweet potato in your curry, you will no doubt enjoy the change.

Related: Hide some veggies you aren’t keen on in a delicious smoothie

Shop seasonally 

When vegetables are in season they not only taste their very best but have a better nutritional content – just think of a rich sun-ripened home grown summer tomato compared to its imported counterpart in the middle of winter. You might find you like the flavour of something you were not so fond of when you tried it out of season is suddenly more appealing.  As seasons are contained too the more seasonally you eat the more variety you will have because you will need to seek out something other than the usual suspects.

Change up your cooking techniques

It may be you feel your choice of vegetables is restricted as there are so many you dislike. But it could be that when you tried them the first time they were not prepared in a way which tasted good for you. For example, you may hate steamed kale, but feel differently about a seasoned kale chip. While soggy, boiled cauliflower is not for you, when it’s roasted you may feel it’s a whole different vegetable. Even just eating something raw rather than cooked can make a massive difference to the flavour and texture. There are so many ways of cooking and seasoning vegetables it’s worth trying some out with the veggies you currently have on the ‘do not touch’ list.

Make sure your salad is packed with flavour and variety with this guide to building a nutritious salad. And find out why a healthy diet is better for your skin than injectables.

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