Do you eat vegetables at each meal? If not, you are not alone. According to the Center for Disease Control and Preventions’ Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report dated March 26, 2007 in 2005, only 27.2% of the adult population ate vegetables three of more times per day. Dr. Connie Guttersen, a dietitian and author of The Sonoma Diet said “I’ve actually had someone tell me they can’t eat vegetables because they make them gag.
Begin to increase vegetable intake by hiding them in strong flavored, sweet or spicy food. Ways to do this include shredding cooked or canned carrots and mixing them in sausage meatballs, cooking spinach and mixing it in a blender with green curry sauce, mixing pumpkin into butterscotch pudding, and adding cooked spinach to your lasagna. This will help your mind adapt to the idea of eating vegetables.
Next try different textures, while still masking the flavor and much of the appearance. Experiment adding the fresh, frozen, canned, and steamed versions of a vegetable into some of your dishes such as pot pies, pasta salads, and potato salads. This will enable you to isolate specific textures that you enjoy, with minimal distraction due to flavor and sight.
Eat vegetables in more visible manners, while still masking the flavor. This is the next baby step to learning to not just eat, but enjoy vegetables and overcome any negative visual associations with vegetables. Pick vegetables with textures you previously determined that you enjoy. Add these to a spicy pizza, open face sandwich, pot pie, and other flavorful dishes.
Now that you are accustomed to the idea of different vegetables, determined your preferred textures, and are accustomed to seeing vegetables on your plate, test out different flavors of the vegetables with the texture you enjoy. Purchase baby versions of these. These tend to have a sweeter taste that the adult versions of the vegetables. Eat vegetables from the farmer’s market. These tend to be fresher and have a milder taste than the ones purchased from the store. If you like softer textures try roasting vegetables. This caramelizes the sugar and brings a smoky and sweet taste out. Determine which flavors you prefer and incorporate vegetables with these flavors in all your meals.
After eating these for 2 meals a day for 6 months try expanding to other textures and flavor profiles. Your taste buds may have changed.
“Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report”; Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among Adults — United States, 2005; Center for Disease Control and Prevention; March 26, 2007.