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Your lifestyle, your quirk
I know we have to eat vegetables. We need to eat lots of them. They have so many disease preventing nutrients and vitamins. I try to incorporate them as much as possible in my daily diet. But it gets difficult. I am more of a fruit gal. I don’t particularly enjoy snacking on broccoli and carrots. I eat these things, sure, but it doesn’t offer me as much satisfaction as a bowl of strawberries or pineapples does. This hesitancy toward veggies has me lacking a bit on the US Department of Agriculture's daily vegetable recommendations. I’m sure not many people actually abide by these recommendations, but I like to stay as healthy as possible, and if I’m lacking in an area that could be making me healthier, I get a little anxious.
That’s partly because I’m a hypochondriac. I freak out over every little health-related thing that happens to me. It all started when I was a kid and watched ER with my mom. One of the characters had heart problems, and I convinced myself, at age 12, that I had a heart attack. The whole thing went so far that I ended up going to a pediatric cardiologist who told me I was perfectly healthy. “Whew,” I thought, I survived this one. Ever since, I’ve had a myriad of phantom diseases that my doctor assures are nothing. Somehow, eating healthy and exercising eases my health anxiety.
I’d rather enjoy my vegetables, if possible, since eating them has now become sort of a daily dread. “Oh,” I think, “I have to eat that broccoli before it goes bad.” So I cut up some, grab a container of hummus, and drench them in it so I can’t really taste the things. I used to call them “mini trees” as a kid, and they kind of are. They taste leafy and crunchy and unpleasant. So this list of tips for “falling in love with veggies” may help lessen the dread of eating my daily servings of vegetables. And if you’re not a fan of veggies, maybe it will help you, too
Know the Vegetable Target
I certainly don’t want to eat more vegetables than I need to, so ensuring we know the correct serving sizes is vital for getting our daily recommended dose. To come up with correct sizes, all you need is a plate. For every daily meal, we should cover half of our plate with veggies and fruit. But remember to evenly split veggies and fruit.
Please Your Inner Child
Remember when you were a kid, and your parents would say you couldn’t have dessert until you finished your veggies? Maybe the reason you and I dislike veggies is because we were forced to eat them as kids. Therefore, the way we can get around that is by pretending we are kids again. Say you can’t eat dessert, or fruit in my case, until you have eaten your vegetables. Also, find vegetables that aren’t absolutely disgusting to you. If Brussels sprouts freak you out, eat carrots. Find ways to please your picky, childish self.
Rethink Taste and Texture
A lot of our favorite foods are our favorite because of their textures and tastes. Vegetables often have odd textures. But there are ways around this. Take a salad, for instance. You can balance out the texture and taste of some vegetables by adding honey, maple syrup, crushed pineapple, raisins, or Parmesan cheese. You can also start cooking your veggies to make them softer.
Rate Your Plate
Remember which vegetables you hate, which ones you can stand, and which ones you sort of like. For the ones you can stand, douse them with hummus or cook them to make them more appetizing. For the ones you like, start eating them at every meal and experimenting with different recipes. Maybe, eventually, you will start falling in love with them.