|Fruit and Vegetable Heart. Source unknown; found this image on Pinterest months ago.|
1. Sneaky, Soups and Stews: When vegetables are in chili, soups, and stews, they get really soft and usually undetectable. Think about a pot of chicken noodle soup: there are loads of vegetables in this soup, yet is very loved, even among so called veggie haters. Same goes for chili; very popular, yet is full of tomatoes, onions, peppers, sometimes sweet potatoes, etc. Butternut squash soup is a very yummy (and even a bit sweet) soup that masks several veggies (squash, onions, celery, etc).
2. Availability: Make sure the veggies are on hand and available. When you're hungry and open the fridge to get a snack and all you see are baby carrots, celery sticks, left over baked root veggies, salsa and guacamole, and salad ingredients, you'll be more tempted to eat veggies for your snack!
4. Crunch, Crunch! Dehydrate or bake veggies so that they are crunchy and chip or french fry-like. Kale chips are awesome, but you also make homemade sweet potato fries, cauliflower "crack", plantain chips, and even green bean fries.
5. Sauces and Dips Galore: If you don't like the vegetables plain, consider them instead as a vehicle for awesome dips and sauces. Hummus is delish, but rather than eat it with pita or crackers, try baby carrots or red bell peppers. If salads aren't your thing, maybe you need to explore some new salad dressings to jazz up the greens. Same goes with the dinner time vegetables on your plate: before you toss your peas or asparagus, try dousing them in some awesome sauce!
6. Weekly New Veggie Challenge: Commit to one new vegetable a week. Baby steps, right? One veggie at a time might be a good way to ease yourself into a more vegetable-rich diet. Make this week cauliflower, for example, and commit to giving this vegetable a fair chance all week, aiming to eat it daily. They say that kids need to be exposed to a new food ten times before they really know if they like it or not (and most of the time after ten tries they end up liking it); maybe adults who don't like cauliflower just haven't tried it ten times yet! Well a week of cauliflower can help with that. And after cauliflower week, how about a week of eggplant?
7. Pureed Power: Kraft came out with a vegetable Kraft Dinner a few years back. It was normal KD with purred vegetables added. When a vegetable is pureed, you can easily "sneak it" into dishes you normally like. Pureed veggies obviously can be added to soups and stews, but also pasta sauces, gravies, salad dressings, casseroles, and even used in baking. Here is a recipe for a chocolate beet torte, sweet potato brownies, and of course, pumpkin pie made with fresh pumpkin is great.
8. Creative Cooking: If you claim to not like broccoli, for instance, maybe you just haven't prepared it the right way! You could try it raw, steamed, boiled, baked, roasted, stir-fried, or pureed (maybe make a Cream of Broccoli soup). Personally, I don't really like broccoli that is raw or steamed, but roasted or stir-fried broccoli is awesome! I also know people who love fresh green peas, but absolutely despise canned peas. So try prepping your hated vegetable in other ways and see how it differs in taste.
9. Up the Ante: If you really, really hate most vegetables and you've tried all of my suggestions, then focus on which vegetables you actually do like and increase your consumption of these veggies. Even if your veggie diet isn't varied, you can still benefit from having more vegetables on a regular basis.
10. Focus on Fruits: And my last suggestion, is that if you can't tolerate vegetables but love fruits, then focus on eating a wide-variety of fruits. Fruits are slightly less healthy than vegetables because of their high sugar content (even though it is 'natural' sugar, sugar is still sugar and acts similarly in the body, wrecking havoc when in excess). But, fruits are still loaded in vitamins, water, and fiber, so if you can't do a lot of vegetables, try to regularly get fruit in your diet.