Most of us can agree that eating your veggies is a good thing on the nutrition front. Still, simply knowing that vegetables are good for you isn’t enough to suddenly turn disgust into undying love for broccoli. But give veggies a proper chance with these tips and you might just learn to love ’em.
No matter how you dice them, the bitterness of some vegetables can get too much (bitter melon, I’m looking at you), so the goal is to make them more palatable and overall not suck the joy out of eating.
The folks at Precision Nutrition promote this multi-pronged approach that starts with challenging yourself to try something you find gross. Maybe it’s kale. Or carrots. Or turnips. The no-duh logic here is, you can’t learn to like something if you don’t try it, and chances are, you won’t get the hang of it the first time anyway. So choose your “challenge vegetable.” Then you want to:
- Complement: Add spice, acidity, or some salty flavoring to the vegetable as the first line of defence to balance out a vegetable’s bitterness. Spices include paprika, cumin, garlic, and black pepper. Apple cider vinegar and lemon juice make great acidic complements, while capers, olives, and even anchovies add a salty punch to the mix.
- Cushion: Here’s where you can use something sweet (such as honey, raisins, or wine) or fats (such as butter or sesame oil) to further soften any remaining bitterness. Sure, anything would be tasty if you drown it in enough butter or fatty dressings, but that’s not what we’re going for here.
You can do something like combining brussels sprouts, bacon, and onions for an extremely delicious and common example of all of this at work. Keep in mind that your method of cooking can influence how your vegetables come out, too. Sometimes raw is fine, though some nutrients from some vegetables would be better absorbed when eaten with fats or cooked, but also try steaming, sautéing, or braising.
Another thing: Although the USDA encourages everyone to eat huge portions of vegetables at every meal, it’s still progress if you went from zero vegetables to one whole serving of vegetables a day. And once you do, try to do that consistently to start. Check the infographic below from Precision Nutrition for preparation and flavour combination ideas.
[Via Precision Nutrition]