Eat Your Vegetables
Think you hate veggies? These tips could change your mind
We know they're good for us. Just like it was yesterday, we can hear
our mothers urging, "Eat your vegetables!" as we sat at the family
dinner table. But growing up doesn't automatically turn us into vegetable
lovers. To many of us, it still seems next to impossible to eat several
servings of vegetables a day.
Still, there's no denying we need vegetables. They're rich in fiber,
vitamins, minerals, and important phytochemicals, and they're generally low in
calories. So what's a vegetable hater to do?
Here are some tips to get you on the road to enjoying vegetables. Just
choose those you think will work for you:
Add veggies you almost like to dishes you already
love. Layer zucchini slices into lasagna. Stir broccoli florets into
macaroni and cheese. Toss tomatoes into an omelet. Slide peppers into a cheese
quesadilla. You get the picture.
Try them in soup. Embellish your favorite soups
with added veggies. Many commercial soups already contain a nice serving of
vegetables. I love adding carrots to chicken noodle or fresh green beans to
minestrone. Just add raw or frozen vegetables while you're heating or cooking
Tuck them into salads. Load your salads with as
many raw veggies as you can: cucumber, grated carrots, zucchini, green beans,
onions, radishes, jicama, tomato, etc. Or try spinach leaves instead of
Serve them raw. Raw can bring out the best in
vegetables that have a strong taste when cooked, such as cauliflower, broccoli,
cabbage, or spinach. And when you have some delicious low-fat dip in front of
you, a platter of raw veggies seems to disappear. Use bottled light ranch or
Italian dressing, or make your own.
Sneak them into spaghetti. Add finely chopped
zucchini, mushroom, onions, eggplant, or yellow squash to spaghetti sauce. The
smaller you chop them, the less likely you are to notice they're there.
Have fun! Certain vegetables are just more fun to
eat than others. Try corn-on-the-cob wheels (slice cooked corn into 1-inch
thick disks), fill celery sticks with peanut butter or light cream cheese, or
enjoy a zucchini or bell pepper with a savory filling.
Drink up. Try V-8 or carrot juice. Or blend some
carrot juice with a fruit juice you enjoy, such as orange or tangerine.
Pizza pizzazz. Top your pizza with any
combination: tomato, onion, bell pepper, mushroom, zucchini, and artichoke
More Veggie Tips
Grill them. After the meat or fish is taken off
the grill, why waste the hot coals? You might be surprised how great grilled
veggies taste. You can probably use the same marinade you're using for your
meat. (Just marinate the veggies separately, using marinade that hasn't touched
the meat.) Make a kabob with chunks of vegetables (eggplant, carrot, bell
pepper, mushrooms, zucchini, and other squash). Soft vegetables won't need
precooking, but firm ones such as sweet potatoes will benefit from steaming or
microwaving before they hit the grill.
Fast food vegetables. You can even get your
vegetables at a fast-food chain -- as long as you like salads. Wendy's, for
example, offers a Caesar side salad (with 70 calories and 4 g fat, not
including dressing) or a side salad (35 calories, 0 g fat). Ask for the
fat-free French, low-fat honey-mustard, or reduced-fat creamy ranch dressing.
Use half the packet and you'll add about 50 calories and from 0 to 4 grams of
When all else fails, there's always cheese sauce.
Drizzle it over broccoli or cauliflower, and suddenly it's a whole different
ball game. Here's a recipe for a lower-fat version.