You’re not a freakin’ child! Eat your damn Veggies!

Last week, I met this woman, socially. I don’t remember how we got on to the conversation, but she said, “I don’t like vegetables. I don’t eat them. I don’t eat fruit or seafood. I like meat and potatoes.  And dessert! ”

It’s not the first time I’ve heard an adult say ‘I don’t like veggies’. And sadly, I don’t think it will be the last.

I usually don’t know how to respond to this. What I wanted to say is, “You’re freakin’ 60 years old! You’re not 5! Grow up & eat a freakin’ carrot! Pshaw!”

It drives me nuts! Because, One – There are so many awesome, delicious veggies out there & so many ways to prepare them that are fantastic! And Two – How does this happen? How does a person grow into an adult and choose not to eat vegetables?

They say that kids need exposure 10-15 times to a new food to like it. Did these adults not get that exposure to vegetables?

My. Mom. Would never have let me get away with that as a kid! I recall sitting at the table one night with a plate of spinach long after everyone had cleared the plates, and finished cleaning up. My sisters were encouraging me to do a plug & chug with my milk.

My Mom wouldn’t have it. (I don’t know what that’s about other than maybe she was envisioning me at my first business dinner refusing to eat the vegetables on my plate.)

As I was asking Gary the other day about how can people not like vegetables!?! He laughed, and said that it wasn’t too long ago that I used to have all of these ‘food rules’.

He’s right. I’m a hypocrite.

When we first met, I used to have a bunch of food rules.

  • No condiments – no ketchup, mayo, mustard, aoli, relish. As a kid, I ate my hamburgers and hotdogs plain.
  • No hot fruit – grilled pineapple, hot blueberry muffins
  • No fruit ‘in my food’ – fruit by itself was fine. But not fruit IN other foods: no fruit in salads, raisins in cookies, Apple muffins, Jell-O (well, to be honest, no Jell-O either. Jell-O is just gross. IMO)

What happened, was that I realized that these food rules created a lot of stress and limited my options as far as eating out in restaurants was concerned. And truthfully, I was a little ashamed at the limits I imposed on myself. I likened this to a child who grew up only eating chicken fingers and hamburgers. At her first business dinner, what does she order?

I started to relax my food rules. After all, it’s just one meal. Right? And you know what I found? I started to expand my palate, and even enjoy some foods that broke the rules. Grilled pineapple is delicious!

Zucchini Noodles (aka: Zoodles) are a great alternative to pasta, and a great way to get vegetables in your diet!
Zucchini Noodles (aka: Zoodles) are a great alternative to pasta, and a great way to get vegetables in your diet!

Do you not like vegetables?

If you don’t, I’d highly suggest that you reconsider that, and eat them for their health benefits. Vegetables are amazing for your health, weight management, disease prevention, and just generally feeling good. I mean, without any vegetables (fiber) in your diet, how do you get your (Ahem!) digestive tract to move along?

Okay – so I don’t have to sell you on how good veggies are for you.

But how do you start liking them? I have a few strategies.

Hide them

There’s a really good website and cookbook that shows you how to hide fruits and vegetables in your food. Examples include: adding puréed cauliflower to your mashed potatoes, blueberry purée in brownies, or shred carrots into spaghetti sauce. It’s a great strategy!

I make a really great lasagna with puréed cauliflower and tofu as the filling! No one can tell. Gary takes great pride in telling folks after the fact what they’ve eaten. I know! Now you’re never going to want to come over to my house for lasagna. Ha!

Roast them

The difference between steamed vegetables and roasted is amazing! Play around with different cooking methods: grill, or roast.  The flavor of the veggies completely changes when you alter your cooking method.

Roasted Root Vegetables! One of my faves!
Roasted Root Vegetables! One of my faves!

Try Juicing

I’m not a juicer. BUT I have had fruit and vegetable juice. (Totally not like V-8!) THe flavor of the fruits and veggies totally changes when you drink them. Now, one warning about juicing. Yes, you’re getting the vitamins & minerals that you need, however  one of the things that juicing does, is it strips the fiber out. So, you’re not getting the full benefit. BUT if that’s what is needed to get you started, go for it. I’m all for it!

Kids & Veggies

As I mention above, Experts say that children need exposure to a certain food 10-15 times before they’ll like it. And that seems to be true – even for adults. If you’re trying to get your kids to eat more healthfully, one great strategy is to get them to help you out in the kitchen. They’ll be more invested in the meal, and more likely to eat what they’ve prepared.

Today, I’m still not a fan of most condiments, and I still don’t prefer blueberry or apple muffins – but I’m okay with that since sandwiches and muffins aren’t a typical part of my diet.  Nor am I a fan of turnips or rutabagas. But I don’t make a big deal out of it. These are things that aren’t a big inconvenience in my life.  They don’t impact my health, and I don’t find myself having to make special requests of wait staff in restaurants.

And although I really like vegetables, one of the techniques that I use to make sure that I’m getting enough, is that I typically double the amount called for in recipes. In fact, most of the recipes I have on my site are very vegetable heavy.  Check it out HERE.



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