So, You Don't Like Vegetables

Honestly, I didn’t like vegetables either.  I was the epitome of a picky eater.  Like, I would eat a hamburger patty with mayo and nothing else.  I liked bread.  I liked mustard.  I really liked ketchup.  But I didn’t like them together.  And I certainly didn’t like vegetables.

I take that back…I would eat canned peas and white potatoes.  That was it.  But things have changed, drastically.  I love veg!  There’s still a few I don’t really care for but I like most of them.

You’re either nodding along with me or you’re shaking your head in wonderment about how someone couldn’t like veg.  It’s pretty common.  Many don’t consume veg because they just don’t like them.

In this blog, we’re going to talk about ways to learn to love veg.  Stick with me…you can love them too.  I promise!

Changing your palate

Growing up, I dabbled in some veg.  It wouldn’t taste good to me.  None of them really did but some I could stomach.  I really dove into the veg world when I hit my 30s.  I discovered my palate was jacked up.  If you’re wondering, “jacked up” is a technical term 😛

I survived up to that point on TV dinners, fast food, and boxed foods that I could toss together quickly.  My palate was not refined in any way. I realized everything I ate was heavily seasoned with salt and sugar…way to much of them both.

As I slowly changed my diet from refined, processed foods to more whole foods, the foods I liked changed.  I’m sure you’ve heard this from others as well.  “Stop eating sugar and you’ll stop craving it” or “The less salt you take in the less you’ll want it.”  It’s so true!  My high sodium days are over!  I can tell right away when someone has taken too many liberties with the salt shaker while cooking.

If you really want to LOVE vegetables, start with cleaning up your diet overall.  Find one or two that you like and just rotate those.  Or just stick with fruits for now until you’re eating more home cooked meals and less boxed or packaged meals.  Over time, your palate will thank you by wanting more veg!

Learning to cook them

Another thing that comes up, aside from not liking them, is not knowing how to cook them.  For some, this seems trivial.  How could you NOT know how to cook veg?  I didn’t.  I grew up eating boxed foods and continued that practice as an early adult.

Sure, I could heat up canned veg and add some salt.  I could bake a potato in the microwave like no body’s business!  But I didn’t know how to steam broccoli.  I didn’t know what you I supposed to do with yellow squash (I’m not even sure I knew what one was).  And what the hell was spaghetti squash?!  I once tried making a pasta sauce that called for 3 cloves of garlic.  I didn’t know that an entire bulb wasn’t a clove.  Let’s just say that sauce was VERY garlicky 🙂

But I learned.  It took some time but I did it.  I would scour the interwebs looking for new fun but easy recipes that had new veg in it.  I started with steaming.  I found that with some garlic and a splash of olive oil, steamed broccoli was amazing!  After I mastered steaming, I moved on to roasting.  This was fun because the seasonings you can use are endless.  And then, it was on to a stir-fry.  This one is still a work in progress.  Timing is everything so they don’t turn out too mushy.

It took time, but it happened.

Don’t trust others with this process

It’s important that you embark on this journey.  That you do the work.  Don’t rely on others to cook them for you.  The more invested in the process you are, the more you’re going to like them.  This is especially the case when “healthy” foods are in play.

Check out this study.  It shows the more involved in the preparation process you are, the more likely you are going to like it.

This is especially true for me when it comes to Brussel sprouts.  I tell people they are my favorite veg.  And they are…but only if I cook them.  I don’t really like them if my husband cooks them for me.  I don’t know if he’s cooking them too long or not long enough.  But for some reason, they just don’t taste as good.  So, if I want to eat them…I’m cooking them.

If you’re nervous about trying veg, select one.  Just one veg.  Research the heck out of it and find a few ways to cook it.  Here are a few easy but tasty recipes to get you started.  These are my fallbacks and ones that I provide to my clients.

Try them multiple times

Now, trying them isn’t enough.  You can’t just try a veg once and decide you don’t like it.  Our palate needs time to adjust.

Have you ever tried drinking Diet Coke?  Man…I was a HUGE DC addict at one point.  But when I made the shift from regular Coke to DC, I thought DC tasted gross.  I stuck with it though.  After a few days of only drinking DC, it no longer tasted gross.  It actually tasted great!

I’m not proposing you drink soda or diet soda…this was just an example.  I no longer have this habit.  I’ve since moved on the coffee 🙂

Another example would be stevia.  Many dislike stevia, myself included.  But I bet if you consumed enough of it over a period of days, you’d like it!  The same goes for vegetables.  You cannot try broccoli one time and determine you don’t like it.  Try it again.  And then try it again.  And then again!

The average adult needs to try a new vegetable AT LEAST 4 times before they can say they don’t like it.  Kids….it’s about 17 times!  So, if you’ve sworn off a veg after one try.  Get back into the kitchen and try again…and again…and again!

What’s next?

I’m challenging you to pick a veg to try.  This veg should be one you’ve either tried and didn’t like or haven’t tried at all.  Find 4 fun recipes that look appealing to the eye and are easy.  And then try them!  Try these recipes with your selected veg over the next week.

And then let me know how you did.

Post a comment below letting me know the veg you selected and what recipes you tried.  You can even post the veg you’re going to try so I can check back in with you and see how you did!

Happy eating!!

Sunny Brigham, MS, CNS

I'm Sunny! I'm a board-certified clinical nutritionist with an MS in Clinical Nutrition. I help individuals reduce fatigue, eliminate bloat, and lose weight by healing the digestive tract and balancing hormones. I provide individual and group nutrition consultations nationwide. Grab my metabolism boosting guide!

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