Vegetables...Learn To Like Them

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Whether the goal is weight loss, lean mass or achieving optimal health, I think everyone can agree that vegetables are a must! The amount of vitamins and minerals that veggies provide is staggering and cannot be substituted. 

So why do so few Americans consume vegetables? Clearly the answer is not lack of knowledge, unless you've been living under a rock, it's widely understood that veggies are incredibly nutritious. No, the answer to this question is much simpler - as it usually is. 

Most individuals avoid greens because they don't like the taste! Let's be honest, even a vegetarian would agree that if you're not that great in the kitchen, veggies can taste pretty bland and earthy. So, what is there to do? 

Many vegetable juices and ready made packets are combined with fructose and stripped of their fiber, taking away large nutritional components.  

Trainers at The Gym of Avon are certified Precision Nutrition Coaches and understand the important connection between body composition and proper nutrition. As your mother probably said time again, eating vegetables is nonnegotiable and because of that we've put together a helpful list to make veggies more enjoyable!

Follow these steps to train your palate and start enjoying greens...

1. CHALLENGE

Start by choosing a vegetable that you've avoided in the past. Research has shown that distaste for veggies can be reduced by exposure. It can take 3, maybe 4 times to turn the tide and start liking something you originally didn't. 

2. COMPLIMENT

It's not always necessary to eat vegetables raw and on their own. Select 1-3 complementary items to pair with your veggie from below...

Spice:

  • Crushed Red Pepper

  • Black Pepper

  • Chopped Garlic

  • Ginger

  • Cumin

  • Smoked Paprika

Sour:

  • Fresh Lemon or Lime Juice

  • Vinegar (wine, cider or rice)

  • Pickled or Fermented Veggies

  • Wine

Salty:

  • Pink Himalayan Salt

  • Dijon Mustard

  • Capers

  • Olives

  • Anchovies

  • Seaweed

  • Feta Cheese

Adding in certain "complements" can create flavor harmony and cover up certain veggie tastes you may not enjoy!

3. CUSHION 

Finally, we're going to select 1-2 "fusion" items for our veggie prep. As usual, do not be afraid of the options below, some are calorie dense and contain high amounts of fat, however; we're only using a little bit - no need for a pound of bacon (sorry)!

Sweet:

  • Maple Syrup

  • Honey

  • Cooked Onions

  • Fortified Wine

  • Berries

  • Oranges, Tangerines, Mandarins

  • Mirin

Fat:

  • Tahini

  • Chopped Walnuts

  • Olive Oil

  • Cooked Bacon

  • Avocado

  • Soft Cheeses (goat, etc.)

  • Sliced Almonds

  • Unsalted Butter

4. PICK YOUR METHOD 

You'll have a few options when it comes to cooking; raw, steam, saute or braise.

Raw:

  • No cook time, just simply cut and arrange desired veggies on the plate, topped with compliments and cushions!

  • Top options; spinach, broccoli and kale.

Steam:

  • Place veggies in a steam pot with 1 inch of water, cook over high heat for 3 minutes. Garnish with compliments and cushions.

  • Top options; spinach, asparagus, broccoli.

Saute:

  • Place veggies in a saute pan with a drizzle of cooking oil. Cook on medium high for around 10 minutes.

  • Midway through cooking add salty, sweet or spice.

  • Garnish with sour and/or fat!

  • Top options; kale, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, Brussels sprouts.

Braise:

  • Place veggies in a large pot over medium heat, drizzled with cooking oil.

  • Add salty, spice and/or sweet, along with enough water to half submerge veggies.

  • Lower the heat, cover and cook until tender yet still firm, 15-45 minutes.

  • Garnish with sour and/or fat!

 Lastly, here are some sample combos...

  • Brussels sprouts with bacon and onions.

  • Asparagus with garlic, feta, avocado and lemon.

  • Broccoli with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

  • Kale with tahini and lemon juice.

Happy eating!