Wish you were one of those people who loved eating vegetables? The ones who crave asparagus and can’t start the day without their broccoli and egg scramble? Here are four quick tips to trick yourself into liking (and even enjoying) folding healthier foods into your meals.
I was always a picky eater growing up. That meant everything from standoffs with preschool teachers who threatened to ban me from recess if I didn’t finish the green beans to my grandpa offering me $20 to take a bite of an orange slice. In high school and college, I was proudly carnivorous and abjectly opposed to the textures and flavors of most fruits and vegetables. I hated them all. But that’s all changed now. Mostly. I’m still working on it. So here’s what’s worked for me to transform my palate from painfully picky, to being willing to try new healthy foods, to actually loving some of them:
TREAT YOURSELF TO GOURMET HEALTHY
Tonight for dinner, head to the new vegan place that all of the Yelpers say is delicious. The combination of having your “meat-crutches” removed and having your veg prepared by a pro is guaranteed to open your eyes to the delicious possibilities of vegetables in your diet. Eating crispy, salty, oven-broiled Brussel sprouts drizzled with a sweet balsamic reduction at a swank Santa Monica bar once made me realize that it wasn’t Brussel sprouts I’d disliked, I just hadn’t had them prepared very many ways.
TRY OUT A NEW RECIPE
Jump on Pinterest and search for tasty new ways to consume the healthy foods you’ve been avoiding. Cooking a food yourself has a way of making you more excited to consume the final product. There’s that weird sense of ownership over your creation, plus the ability to control how it’s prepared and seasoned. Not to mention the fact that (as I mentioned above), the solution to your vegetable phobia could be as simple as a new preparation. Hate mushy broccoli? Find a recipe where it’s crisp or caramelized. Can’t stand raw kale salad? Try making kale chips or steaming it and topping it with a squeeze of lemon.
READ THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF THE VEGETABLE AS YOU EAT IT
This has been one of the most transformative eating practices I’ve adopted recently. When I’m eating a new healthy food that I’m a bit dubious of, I’ll hop online and Google “health benefits of _______________” and read as many lists of the benefits as I can, as I’m eating. When I’m doing that, a few things happen. First, I’m educating myself on why this food is so life-giving. Second, I’m feeling good about myself because I know I’m taking great care of my body in that moment. And lastly, I’m interrupting a potential train of negative thoughts about the food’s flavor or texture with positive associations about why it’s good for me – and I’ve found that that actually allows me to enjoy it more.
If you’re not sure about heaps of spinach-y spinach as the center point of your meal, throw the spinach into a fruit smoothie with Greek yogurt – you won’t even know it’s there! Or chop it up (along with some basil) and add it to your spaghetti sauce, or toss it into your red curry at the last minute. Hiding healthy foods in foods you love (with powerful flavors) is another great way to eat more veg each day.
How do you get pumped to eat more vegetables? And what’s your favorite way to prepare them? Leave a comment! Happy veg!