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Eat Your Vegetables

Think you hate veggies? These tips could change your mind
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WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Expert Column

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 the soup.
  • 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 lettuce.
  • 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 hearts.

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