Eat Your Vegetables: 15 Tips for Veggie Haters
Try these easy ways to get more vegetables into your diet.
Vegetables are one of those foods people either love or hate. The problem
with hating vegetables is that they are arguably the most health-promoting food
group on the planet. If you aren't eating vegetables, you aren't getting all
their amazing components like fiber, antioxidants, and other powerful
So what's a veggie-hater to do? People who think they hate vegetables can
definitely learn to embrace this colorful food group. But before we talk tips,
we need to understand what causes some people to scatter when broccoli is
Are veggie haters born, or made? The answer seems to be both. Some of us
have negative veggie experiences from our childhood that come back to haunt us
as adults. Maybe you were forced to eat vegetables, or had to plow through a
stack of green beans to get to dessert. Maybe you were served overcooked, mushy
vegetables. Or perhaps some time in your life, you were on a fad diet where all you could eat
were certain vegetables.
I trace my distaste for peas to a childhood memory of having to choke down a
pile of them before I could be excused from the table. To this day you will
never see me eat a spoonful of peas. I won't pick them out of a casserole or
fried rice, mind you, but they stand, 40 years later, as my least favorite
vegetable (no offense, Green Giant).
"If veggies are only served in ways that don't match your personal
flavor preferences, they won't seem exciting," explains Karen Collins, MS,
RD, nutrition advisor for the American Institute for Cancer Research. So if you
love spicy food, you won't like veggies served plain; or if you love simple,
earthy flavors, veggies covered with rich sauce won't appeal.
But there are also innate physical reasons why some people have an aversion
to certain vegetables. According to Collins, a genetic trait has been
identified that seems to make some people have extra-sensitive receptors for
"They are sometimes dubbed 'super tasters' and they make up about 25% of
the population," says Collins.
The vegetables that tend to be the bitter offenders are cruciferous
vegetables (those from the cabbage family, including broccoli and cauliflower),
some of the leafy greens, and eggplant.
But there are ways to tame the bitter taste in these nutrition-packed
vegetables. Check out the tips below for help on this, and for more ways to get
vegetables past the lips of even confirmed veggie haters.
Eat More Vegetables Tip No. 1: Add veggies you almost like to dishes you already love.
Layer zucchini slices, chopped spinach, or cooked carrots into lasagna. Stir
broccoli florets into macaroni and cheese. Toss whatever veggies you like
(tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus) into an omelet or