I hate vegetables.
At least that’s what I believed for the first 20 years of my life.
I’d eat a bit of corn, maybe some potatoes (if they were drowning in ketchup), and I could choke down the occasional carrot.
But anything green? No thank you.
Then, as I started studying nutrition during my university years, I learned about how crucial vegetables are for our health, fitness, weight, mental wellness, and so much more (duh!).
The question became…
How can you eat more veggies when you don’t really like them that much?
Why All the Fuss About Veggies?
Veggies are healthy. I mean, REALLY healthy. I know you already know this so I’ll spare you a rant about all the benefits they offer.
But, I do want to make one distinction: Eating fruit is not the same as eating vegetables.
That might sound obvious, but think about how many times you’ve been told to, “Eat your fruits and vegetables.” It’s as if they are interchangeable. Eat an apple or eat some spinach and you’ll be healthy.
Now, I’m not fruit-bashing here — I love fruit — but if you’re serious about optimizing your health, veggies are where it’s at.
I wrote an entire article on this topic, but let me share just a couple charts to show you what I’m talking about. What do you notice about each of these?
What do you see?
YES! Veggies win out each time.
In general, vegetables are more nutritionally dense and come with less sugar and fewer calories than fruit.
Conclusion: You need to eat more veggies.
How to Easily Eat More Veggies
You’ve likely heard people tell you to eat veggies from all colors of the rainbow. That’s a great idea, but it’s not so helpful if you don’t like any of the colors to begin with.
Instead, I like to take this 4-step approach that makes it super easy to double down on veggies without even realizing it:
Step #1. Pick Just One
Take a look at the following list and find just one veggie that you actually like.
- bok choy
- collard greens
- romaine lettuce
- brussels sprouts
- green peppers
- acorn squash
- butternut squash
- red peppers
For me, I actually have always tolerated carrots, and as an adult even grew to like them. That’s my starting spot. What’s yours?
Now you can simply start eating this veggie more often. It doesn’t have to be raw — you can steam it, fry it, bake it, mash it, or do anything else you like to give some variety, but commit to eating at least a bit of it each day.
Step #2. Be Smooth
Many people think that veggies are for salads or side dishes at dinner, but they are ideal as part of your morning smoothie.
Maybe you’ve tried smoothies in the past without any luck. If that’s the case, I’d say you just didn’t find the right recipes.
Here are three awesome smoothies that include veggies:
Don’t like those? Well, there are like a bazillion other smoothie options that you can try.
You can even start by toning down the amount of veggies you add — a few spinach leaves won’t kill you, but WILL help you work toward becoming a morning veggie person!
Commit to finding one breakfast smoothie recipe (containing veggies) that you really like.
Step #3. Get Saucy
It’s SO easy to add more veggies to your diet when you take a few minutes to prep your own sauce, dressing, dip, or salsa.
Again, these might not be the ones you stick with, but you can see how easy it can be to squeeze more veggies into your meals when you think about it.
Can you find one sauce, dressing, dip, or salsa recipe that enjoy?
Step #4. Try the 1-1-1-1 Veggie Challenge
Hopefully you’ve begun to see how easy it can be to double up your veggie intake without too much effort. But, just doing this for a couple of days or even weeks isn’t the goal. We want to make eating more veggies a habit.
Enter the 1-1-1-1 Veggie Challenge!
This is something I’ve done myself and with clients who struggle to eat their veggies each day.
Once the week is done, you may want to switch things up — try a new sauce recipe or add something new to your smoothie. Or, if things are going well, keep doing what you’re doing.
Practice this challenge for a few weeks and you’ll be shocked at how many more vegetables you’re eating each day … without even realizing it!
Which veggie will you start with? —Dave