You’ve heard it before and you’ll probably hear it again; EAT YOUR VEGGIES!! But why? How? We know that they are good for us and that we are supposed to eat them, right? But it turns out that we aren’t. In 2014, Statistics Canada found that less than 40% of Canadians over the age of 12 were reported meeting the daily recommended intakes of 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day. That’s less than half!! Some clients have told me that it’s how they grew up, some it was due to a texture or pickiness issue and others simply didn’t know how to cook them right (i.e. usually over cooked them).
I will offer you some simple solutions to those problems. Our tastes for certain foods do in fact change as we age, this means that you may have hated something when you were a kid but may love it now and vice-versa. Also, the way we cook, what oils/fats or even herbs/spices we use will all change the way a food will taste. So what I say to those that never liked Brussel sprouts as a child: cook them differently. Chop them, slice them, roast them, stir fry them. Add garlic infused oil or even bacon to it! Simply change the way you cook them. Vegetables are not meant to be cooked until they are mush, ideally they are to be cooked until al dente, or with a little crunch is left. This will help preserve some of the flavour and allow for some texture too.
There are ways to sneak vegetables in without actually eating them. How so you ask? One simple trick I like to do for myself is grating carrots into any salad type sandwich. Whether it’s chicken, egg, tuna or salmon, chop some celery, cucumbers and maybe even peppers into the mix, but also grate in a carrot!
Don’t have time to cook veggies with the supper? Serve some sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and celery with your favourite dip! A recipe only calls for 1 stalk of celery? Add 2. Or 3! I always talk about how recipes are meant to be changed, so change them! Don’t like kale? No problem! Use spinach. Or Swiss Chard. Or even green collards instead! Having pizza? Add more veggies to the toppings! Or have a side salad while you wait until it gets delivered! No time to cook and having a frozen dinner? Add some frozen veggies to it while it cooks!
After I graduated from university, I started a practice of once a month buying one fruit or vegetable that I had never eaten or used before. Would research it and find a recipe that I wanted to try. Sometimes I liked the item and others maybe not so much. But this was definitely a good way to introduce myself to the many different and wonderful selection of produce we have!
Now I’m curious…what are some of the ways that you like to incorporate veggies into your meals/snacks?
I work as a Dietitian and definitely walk the talk. I love to cook and help people get back to being healthy again.