Taste-flavor learning: 15 Ways to eat more veggies and improve your eating habits
08/24/2021 / By Joanne Washburn / Comments
Taste-flavor learning: 15 Ways to eat more veggies and improve your eating habits

Time and again, experts have stressed the importance of eating vegetables to maintain optimal health and well-being. In fact, you should aim to eat at least 2.5 cups of vegetables per day if you’re on a 2,000-calorie diet. Unfortunately, the average American falls far short of that, eating only 1.4 cups of vegetables per day.

If you’re not particularly fond of vegetables, don’t fret. There are ways to incorporate more vegetables into your daily eating plan without it feeling like a chore. Here are some of them: (h/t to FoodRevolution.org)

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  1. Eat veggies you already like. If you already like some vegetables, eat more of those. Carrots, peas and cauliflower are all rather mild-tasting vegetables that are tolerable at worst. Don’t force yourself to eat pungent, strong-tasting vegetables like Brussels sprouts and arugula if you really don’t enjoy them.
  2. Cut them into appetizing shapes. Experts have found that kids and adults alike respond more positively to foods that are cut into fun shapes. So go ahead and cut your vegetables into hearts and stars.
  3. Cook them creatively. Boiled broccoli and raw lettuce can get tiring real fast. Make eating vegetables a fun activity by cooking them in a variety of ways. Try grilling asparagus stalks with lemon or stuffing hollowed-out squash with rice. Serve omelets in tomato “cups” or make rice out of cauliflower.
  4. Make veggie soup. Soup is a great way to eat more veggies because you’d need to puree large quantities of vegetables just to fill your soup pot. Plus, soup has the added benefit of making you feel full for longer than whole vegetables, thereby staving off hunger pangs. Puree steamed veggies with herbs and spices.
  5. Add them to dishes you already enjoy. The best strategy to eating more vegetables is to just keep eating them. This means adding them whenever you can. To make the process more enjoyable, add vegetables to dishes you already enjoy. Add veggies to pasta sauce, homemade pizza or cooked brown rice and quinoa.
  6. Use them in main dishes. Vegetables are often served as accompaniments for hearty pasta dishes and meat mains, which is why it’s easy to ignore or forget about them. Instead of serving veggies as side dishes, use them as ingredients in your main dishes. Make noodles out of squash, swap meat for beans or roast cauliflower “steaks.” It’d be hard not to eat your veggies when they’re part of the main dish.
  7. Grow vegetables. Studies have shown that when kids and adults grow vegetables, they’re more likely to eat more vegetables. Try it for yourself. There are lots of fast-growing vegetables you can easily grow, such as radish, beans and tomatoes. If you don’t have ample outdoor space, you can grow them in pots or planter boxes by your kitchen windowsill.
  8. Dehydrate them. Make your own healthy veggie snacks by dehydrating leafy greens and stalky veggies. Health enthusiasts especially love kale chips, which you can easily make by dehydrating kale leaves for several hours at your oven’s lowest setting.
  9. Make a slaw. Shred tough winter veggies like cabbage into a slaw for a quick, light and easy side dish. Add some kick to it with your favorite dressing and toss in some dried fruits for extra flavor.
  10. Marinate them before cooking. Make your veggies extra flavorful by marinating them before cooking. Marinating also helps soften veggies that have a bite to them, such as mushrooms, string beans, broccoli and asparagus.
  11. Use them as a wrap or as a filling for wraps. Ever heard of spring rolls? These East and Southeast Asian appetizers are made by wrapping up veggies in a raw lettuce leaf or steamed cabbage leaf. The more tender the veggies you use, the lighter your spring rolls will be.
  12. Slice and dip. Snacking on veggies can help you reach your daily vegetable quota. But snacking on veggies is easier to do if they’re already in a snackable form. For healthy snacking, slice carrots, rhubarb, celery and other stalky veggies into strips. Dip them in yogurt, hummus or your favorite nut butter.
  13. Steam them. One of the easiest ways to eat your fill of vegetables is to steam a pot of them. Dress them with your favorite sauce or serve them with a simple dip.
  14. Spice them up. Make your vegetables extra palatable by seasoning them with flavorful herbs and spices, such as ginger, cumin and turmeric. Start with the spices you know to avoid getting overwhelmed.
  15. Try a new vegetable with a friend or family member. Challenge a friend or family member to eat a new vegetable with you every day for a week. This is also a great way to get around your dislike of certain vegetables. Plus, fun activities like this could help re-ignite your motivation if you’re struggling to hit your daily vegetable quota.

Adding more vegetables to your diet opens you up to a variety of health benefits, such as weight loss and better protection against diseases. Try these easy ways to sneak more colorful, nutritious and delicious vegetables into your snacks and meals.

Sources:

ERS.USDA.gov

FoodRevolution.org

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