Sneak vegetables into meals! Broccoli, spinach, carrots, peas—each one of these natural foods brings a wealth of health benefits to the table. Unfortunately, even though people know vegetables can be good for them, not every person will find vegetables to have a pleasing taste or texture.
Children are especially particular about munching on vegetables, and recent studies on children and vegetable consumption showed that many little ones go days without eating vegetables at all. Whether you are a picky eater yourself or you are having to feed a picky eater, there are a few sneaky ways to get more vegetables into a daily nutritional plan.
1. Blend Vegetables Into Smoothies
Whole, raw vegetables tend to provide the most nutritive value, but raw vegetables don’t always taste good all on their own. Some can be blended into a smoothie along with fruits and tastier ingredients, so you actually consume the veggie without really tasting it at all.
A few good examples of vegetables that blend well into smoothies include:
• Kale, spinach, and other leafy greens
• Zucchini and squash
• Carrots (juiced)
• Sweet potatoes
Slipping some of these veggies into a smoothie is an easy way to mask their flavor. For example, if you pair raw carrot juice and kale with apples in a smoothie, you will really only taste the sweetness of the apples.
2. Compile Cooked Veggies Into Yummy Mashed Concoctions
Think about mashed potatoes for a moment. This is a prized dish that many people enjoy, even though the main ingredient is a vegetable. Potatoes are not the only veggie that can be cooked and mashed. You can also mash sweet potatoes, cauliflower, most root vegetables, and some types of squash, for example.
This recipe for Garlic Mashed Cauliflower is the perfect example of a mashed veggie dish that is savory and delicious, not really tasting like the base vegetable at all.
3. Boil Vegetables That Have an Intense Flavor
Some veggies get left in the dark because they have an overly intense flavor that is not desirable for picky eaters. Broccoli is an excellent example of a vegetable that has an intense flavor. Boiling veggies that are intense in flavor help to break down those flavonoids and create a lighter taste that is much more enjoyable.
A few other vegetables that are tasty after they are boiled include:
• Peppers, onions, and garlic
• Leafy greens, like kale and Swiss chard
Even though boiling veggies can eliminate some of their nutritive value, it is better to eat a boiled veggie than no veggie at all. Plus, boiled vegetables go well in dishes like soups so there are numerous recipe possibilities you can play with to find something you like.
4. Get Creative with Seasoning
Sometimes, all it takes to mask the flavor of a vegetable enough to make it taste delicious is a little seasoning. Salt, of course, is the first seasoning that probably comes to mind that pairs well with many different veggies. For instance, a potato on its own tastes pretty bland and unappetizing, but a dash of salt gives the potato a whole new flavor profile that is enjoyable.
Other types of savory seasonings work well on veggies like the traditional salt and pepper. Pair garlic and rosemary with sautéed sugar snap peas and it completely changes how they taste. Slip some oregano and onion powder on baked asparagus, and this veggie comes to life as something entirely different. Before you discount a vegetable as something you don’t like, experiment with a few different spices to give it a second chance.
5. Sneak Minced Vegetables Into Breakfast
If you chop some vegetables fine enough, you will barely know they are present at all, and some minced veggies work really well blended into breakfast foods. Therefore, getting your daily serving of some vegetables could be as simple as slipping some into your typical morning routine.
For example, you can:
• Add finely chopped broccoli florets to scrambled eggs
• Add minced or shredded carrots to your oatmeal
• Add minced peppers, spinach, and onions to an omelet with cheese
Even if you or your picky eater don’t like a vegetable, it does not necessarily mean you can’t sneak it into a nutritional plan with a little ingenuity and creativity. The Food and Drug Administration recommends between three and five servings of vegetables every day for a well-balanced diet. If you can’t manage to get your daily recommended vegetable servings by eating them, it is best to consider adding a nutritional supplement or daily vitamin to your diet.
So what are you waiting for? Sneak vegetables into meals