Last Friday night in between episodes of ’24’, my husband turned to me and asked me this question:
“Thinking about vegetables, what would you recommend for a person who would really like to start eating them, but has never really been a veggie-liking sort of person? As in, this person is more of a meat and potatoes person wanting to expand, but not sure where to start.”
I think the first words that came out of my mouth were something like “Wow! What a great question!” I immediately started rambling off ideas, but then decided that I would take a few days to really thinkg about the question and compile my response into a blog post. I figured, why not share this with all of my readers because maybe these suggestions could help someone else?
So without further ado, here are a few of my recommendations on easy ways to include more vegetables into your diet.
I don’t think I’ve really met too many people who aren’t fans of chili. And what better way to slam in practically every vegetable under the sun then throw it into a chili! I’ve made quite a few chilis in my time and have found that as long as you get the right seasonings in there, it will mask the additional flavour of any veggies you might toss in there. 😉 Meaning, this is perfect for a non-veggie eater. Common veggies that I would throw in a chili include, onion, mushrooms, zucchini, carrots, celery, peppers and tomato. And if you’re a meat lover, you can include your favourite lean ground meat (extra lean sirloin, lean pork, lean turkey, lean chicken..) to make a well balanced, vitamin packed meal in a pot!
I can pretty much promise that if you took a vegetable, tossed it in a tiny bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and then roasted it in the oven at about 425 degrees for about 25 minutes, you’d have a bit of crispy perfection. For someone just starting out on their veggie-eating journey, I wouldn’t recommend broccoli as that veggie is still an acquired taste (however I did get Chris to finally start eating broccoli by roasting it!), but one of the following are definite must trys:
- green beans
- butternut squash (peeled, and cut into cubes)
- sweet potato (sliced into cubes, or wedges)
- potatoe (not entirely a ‘veggie’ but using this method makes THE BEST homemade fries)
I know, I know.. you’re probably thinking “can’t this girl get any more creative than a salad?” But just hear me out. Salads really are a beautiful thing. They key to get someone to eat a salad who is not prone to eat veggies is all in the dressing. I’m not talking about stocking up on the lovely calorie-laden fattening store-bought bottled dressings though. A salad dressing is something you can get really creative with in the kitchen. My go-to favourite is as simple as a little squeeze of dijon mustard, my vinegar of choice and olive oil. I truely believe that if you find a healthy salad dressing that you like, you would be more apt to eat your veggies! (if you like garlic, you should defintiely try my garlic dressing) As for what you put in your salad, start simple with romaine lettuce. Add some cucumbers as they have a very mild flavour and then slowly start to branch out with more additions. How about some shredded carrots? A tomato?
Veggies With Dip.
Again, this one isn’t very creative, but it works. Find a nutritious dip that you like and dig in!! Common veggies such as carrots, cucumbers and peppers work well with dips. Personally, I’m not a pepper fan, so I tend to stick with carrots and cucumbers. 😉
At first glance, I bet you wouldn’t guess that there is a sweet potato mixed into that chocolate cake!! Am I right? 😉 I love sweet potatoes on their own, but it was really fun trying it out in a chocolate cake and having it work! Check out my sweets recipes. There are quite a few in there which I have included veggies into. Another easy way to sneak veggies into your food is to make a meat loaf, mini meat ‘muffins!‘ or burgers and toss in some shredded carrots, zucchini and/or spinach to the mix! I can guarantee they won’t be detected when you eat them. It’s all about taking chances and thinking outside of the box.
These are obviously just a few methods of incorporating vegetables into a diet. There are MANY more veggies out there and many more ways to eat them, but for someone somewhat ‘new’ to the veggie scene, I’d say start with the simple ones and once you’re loving them, branch out from there!