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Eat Your Vegetables: 15 Tips for Veggie Haters

Try these easy ways to get more vegetables into your diet.

Eat More Vegetables Tip No. 9: Grill, baby, grill!

After you take your meat off the grill, why waste the hot coals? You'll be amazed at how great grilled veggies taste. Before grilling, just brush veggies lightly with canola or olive oil, light Italian dressing, or the same marinade you're using for your meat (make sure to use marinade that hasn't touched the raw meat). Large pieces can go straight onto the grill (portobello mushrooms, zucchini halves, large pieces of eggplant, asparagus spears). String smaller pieces onto a skewer for a veggie kabob.

Eat More Vegetables Tip No. 10: Know how to cook the stronger flavored veggies.

The strongest tasting (and smelling) vegetables are those in the cruciferous family, along with some greens, and raw eggplant. Keep in mind that generally, the longer you cook these veggies, the stronger their odor and flavor will be. The exception is eggplant, which becomes milder with cooking.

Cruciferous vegetables include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. Some research has found that people who dislike cruciferous vegetables tend to have a sensitivity for tasting a substance known as PROP (a bitter tasting component).

To cut the bitterness of these veggies, there a few tricks you can have up your sleeve. Add a little olive oil (or other fat) when stir-frying or sauteing; add something salty or sour (like a drizzle of light soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, lemon, or shredded Parmesan); or glaze the vegetables with something sweet (a small spoonful of honey or orange marmalade).

Eat More Vegetables Tip No. 11: Try them where you least expect them.

You might be surprised at how well vegetables can complement the featured ingredients in many of your favorite foods. Roasted red pepper, roasted or sun-dried tomato, and/or grilled eggplant all work well in hot or cold sandwiches. Raw tomato, spinach leaves, fresh basil, grated carrots, sprouts, sliced or grated zucchini, shredded cabbage (green or purple) go well in sandwiches, wraps, and pitas. Add grated or finely chopped vegetables to meat loaf, pasta fillings (such as manicotti), and fillings for Mexican entree fillings like tacos, enchiladas, and flautas.

Eat More Vegetables Tip No. 12: Be sensitive to textural turn-offs.

If your experience is mostly with canned or overcooked vegetables, give them a "fresh" start. You might be more willing to eat vegetables prepared in more texturally pleasing ways (lightly cooked stir-fry veggies, raw veggies, or veggies lightly cooked in a steamer or microwave, just to the point where they're slightly tender but still have a nice crunch. Minimal cooking also keeps the color is bright and appealing. Consider a bright green asparagus spear, cooked just until crisp-tender. Then think about overcooked or canned asparagus, which is beyond soft in texture and has an olive green color.

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