With more and more people going vegan (or plant based), we’ve been getting questions from people who like the idea but who are picky eaters, or who don’t particularly like certain fruits and vegetables, and are worried that this way of eating will be unsustainable for them as a result.
To be completely honest, I find it hard to believe when people just claim they don’t like ANY vegetables - there are just SO MANY, with different tastes, colours and textures – but I appreciate that it’s hard for some of you. Maybe you don’t have access to a wide variety of veggies, or you have a limited budget so can’t go exploring.
For others of you, getting enough veggies into your diet is more of a time issue – what do you do if you are only able to grab a quick smoothie in the morning, or only have 5 minutes for lunch? Still more people just feel stuck – you know you should be including more veggies in your diet but are at a loss as to how to do that. Maybe it’s your children who are picky, or you don’t feel comfortable in the kitchen and don’t know where to start.
Whatever the reason, I’ve set out below some top tips on how to get more veggies into your diet!
1. Drink them
This one can take a bit of getting used to, but once you’ve got the hang (and sometimes acquired taste) of it, it’s SUCH an easy way to get that extra boost of veggies into your diet. Blending up a few fruits and veg into a smoothie doesn’t take long to make or drink. It’s great for you if you’re pressed for time. The added bonus is that you can play around with ingredients until you find something you like! For example, when my dad was in the hospital after his stroke, he was losing a lot of weight so I‘d make him smoothies with avocados in for added healthy fats. It’s super easy to add in dark green leafy veg to smoothies (spinach, kale, mint leaves), plus cucumber, ginger, berries, apples, mango, lemon… the list goes on and on! Check out our Health Promoting Smoothie here.
2. Sprinkle them
Sometimes you don’t have to factor veggies into the recipe at all – just sprinkle them on at the end! If you need to eat something in a hurry and just want something quick and easy, you might not feel like planning out a recipe, chopping veggies etc… but you could add veggies on once you’ve made your food! The easiest ways to do this are with dark green leafy vegetables – rocket (or arugula for our American readers) is a good one for this – or with bean sprouts. No chopping or prepping required – just wash and add to your food! Both of these foods have the added benefit of being incredibly good for you!
3. Mash them
This can of course be used by anyone, but the people who seem to find this tip particularly helpful are parents with fussy children. If your child is refusing to eat vegetables and you find yourself at your wits end, you could try boiling things like cabbage and cauliflower before mashing them up into mashed potato (assuming your child will eat mashed potato). These vegetables have quite a mild flavour and mash well, so they are easy to disguise this way. If you add some garlic and nutritional yeast to the mash, it will not only taste delicious, but should fool your stubborn children into eating their veggies!
4. Disguise them (in other ways)
Mashing is a good one, but there are other ways of disguising vegetables to make them more palatable for those of you who don’t particularly like them. Healthy, baked onion rings are a great one to feel like you’re having a treat when you’re actually having both vegetables and whole grains (recipe to follow… shop bought onion rings are NOT healthy)! How about chopping/processing cauliflower into small chunks and adding it to your whole grain rice (you can do the same with broccoli but it stands out a bit more)? Instead of using a dressing, try squeezing fresh citrus juice onto your salads (oranges, lemons and limes work well). If you’re having noodles in a stir fry, why not try adding some courgette (zucchini) noodles? There really are a lot of ways to disguise vegetables in your meals!
5. Swapping out foods for healthier versions!
Many of us have particular foods that we like or are in the habit of eating. It’s quite easy to look at some of these foods and just have a think about healthier alternatives. If you particularly like having baked potatoes, why not swap them for baked sweet potatoes? If you like mashed potatoes, try mashed swede or squash! If you enjoy creamy dressings on your salads, use avocados for the creaminess. If you find yourself craving a meaty texture, rather than eating processed vegan substitutes, why not use mushrooms (portobello and king oyster are good for texture)?
Hopefully this has given you some ideas on how to get veg up your like! There are LOTS of veggies out there so, if you’re able to, I’d recommend trying a wide variety to see what you like.