Ask the Dietitian: How Do I Eat Healthy if I Hate Veggies?

Kristina LaRue, RD, CSSD, LDN
by Kristina LaRue, RD, CSSD, LDN
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Ask the Dietitian: How Do I Eat Healthy if I Hate Veggies?

So you hate veggies. Let me guess: Your parents wouldn’t let you leave the dinner table until your broccoli was gone? Or maybe vegetables are too bitter, too bright and too crunchy for your liking? Or maybe, just maybe, you’ve never had a relationship with veggies because they weren’t a priority in your diet?

Whatever the reason, it’s time to put your loathsome feelings toward veggies aside. They’re a necessary part of a healthy diet! You see, vegetables are incredibly nutrient-dense foods, meaning they contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants without packing in excess calories. All of these things work together to keep our bodies functioning normally, fighting off disease, protecting against injury and achieving our weight goals.

If you’ve sworn off veggies but are trying to eat healthy, it’s time to take a new approach. After all, eating healthfully without eating veggies is pretty difficult to do.

TRY, TRY AGAIN

Have you ever watched a toddler try a new food, only to immediately spit it out? Maybe you have a similar reaction to the taste of veggies? If so, treat yourself like the child you once were, and remember that it can take 10 or more attempts at introducing a new food before finding it palatable.

Another tip to keep in mind is the way you’re preparing the veggies. Try them raw, try them steamed, try them boiled, try them roasted, try them chopped, try them minced, try them sliced, try them diced… Try them as many ways as you can until you find what works for you…. Or until you try them 10+ times!


READ MORE > IS IT OK TO EAT SUGARY FRUIT?


GET SNEAKY

That’s right. Get sneaky. Maybe it’s not the flavor or the texture of veggies that turns you off but the mere sight of them. If this is the case, there are plenty of ways to sneak them into your diet. Don’t believe me? I dare you to give it a shot! Choose veggies that are close in color to the food that you’re making and don’t have an overpowering flavor. This way they’ll blend right in while your taste buds and eyes remain none the wiser.

One of the easiest ways to get sneaky is with smoothies. Next time you make a berry smoothie, try adding some spinach or kale. The rich color of the berries will mask the greens, which won’t change the flavor. Once you’ve mastered this trick of the mind, try adding carrots and onions to spaghetti sauce, diced mushrooms to ground beef or cauliflower to “mac” & cheese. The only limit to this tip is your imagination!

PLAY MATCHMAKER

Sometimes it’s all about the pairing of foods. Think about the last few parties you’ve attended. One of them likely had a bowl of dip served with crackers and veggie sticks. This is because veggies and dips are a match made in heaven. Cauliflower and hummus; celery and blue cheese dressing; carrots and spinach dip; cucumbers and ranch dressing — the combinations are endless! Introducing a rich flavor to the vegetable may make it more palatable for you. Keep in mind though that dips and dressings are often high in calories, meaning just a little goes a long, long way.

Vegetables are a nutritious and delicious part of a healthy diet, so be persistent and be creative. Eventually you’ll find what works for you.

Do you have tips for veggie haters? If so, please share in the comments below.

About the Author

Kristina LaRue, RD, CSSD, LDN
Kristina LaRue, RD, CSSD, LDN

Kristina is a board certified sports dietitian located in Orlando, Florida where she specializes in intuitive and mindful eating. She is the author of the food and nutrition blog, Love & Zest where she shares {mostly} healthy recipes with simple ingredients that are meant for real life. As a new mom, she knows that eating well and living an active lifestyle isn’t always easy… but it’s always worth it!! Kristina loves spending time outdoors with her family, sweaty workouts, and a good cup of coffee. Get in touch with her for one-on-one nutrition coaching (virtually or in person), or connect with her on PinterestInstagramFacebook  and YouTube.

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7 responses to “Ask the Dietitian: How Do I Eat Healthy if I Hate Veggies?”

  1. Avatar machine works says:

    Great post, Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Split the other half between whole grains and lean protein. Stick to your calorie “budget,” because when you’re working on losing weight.

    thanks for sharing it.

  2. I personally love vegetables however not everyone in my family is a big fan. I do both. I sneak veggies in and I pair up foods. Works like a charm. 🙂

  3. Avatar Harmon Everett says:

    Charcoal grilled veggies are WONDERFUL! Stir fry various vegetables – spinach, broccoli, asparagus and so on with BACON. Spinach dip for potato chips is about the only way I will eat spinach, but I love it that way. Add some chopped up carrots and broccoli and cauliflower to cole slaw and it really doesn’t change the flavor, and adds crunchiness. Deep fried (OK, I know that isnt really all that healthy) yellow squash chips are a delicacy that I have to limit myself to only once a month or so. Make them like home made potato chips. Hummus, for some reason leaves a bitter taste in my mouth (maybe it is one of those genetic marker things like some chemicals?), but bean dip for potato chips is again something I have to ration, or I would eat a tin of that every day. Essentially the same stuff.
    Cook them YOURSELF, your way. I like my vegetables a little more cooked than my SO, she likes them almost raw. If I had to eat them the way she likes them, I would pass. Then again, my mother liked them dead, dead, dead, so that the green beans, the peas, the corn, the asparagus, and the squash all tasted the same.
    Oh, and raw fresh peas NEVER made it from the garden to the kitchen, us kids ate them like candy before they got to the kitchen . If you can find some, or raise some, they are worth trying.

  4. Avatar opattie1 says:

    Lemon butter is the trick with my children!

  5. Avatar Gina Guglielmi Ebner says:

    Whenever I make spaghetti sauce or chili I always puree a can of kale (or you could use fresh) and add it to the pot. You can’t tell at all. I add chopped fresh spinach to everything…sprinkled on whole wheat pizza crusts before adding sauce and toppings, added to eggs for scrambled eggs, mixed in with the ricotta cheese when I make lasagna. The book by Jessica Seinfeld about “sneaking” veggies into meals gave me my stealth inspiration!

  6. Avatar Charlotte says:

    My Food Tech teacher always says “if you don’t like (ingredient/ingredients), put them in”. With some things you can cut them really thin and you don’t notice them. Sometimes you can hold you nose and chew. I got over my hatrid towards lettuce (yes, lettuce!) by eating seven leaves on a few occasions. I also ‘hate’ olives which means I’m going to try to eat seven of them every couple of days or when I can. Sometimes you just have to put up with them. I know I had to put up with it after having about 2hours (actually about 20mins) staring at the plate. I grabbed some juice and scoffed my broccoli down, holding my nose, relieving myself with my drink. I, also, now make sure I leave something really yummy on my plate and eat them with the horrible veggie or fruit. Haha

  7. Avatar Alex Fuentes says:

    joe v’s smart shop sells 7 packs or maruchan ramen noodles for a dollar, ur welcome

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