In the world of healthy living blogs, I feel like I am about to commit a major faux pas. I am going to publicly confess that I simply do not like most vegetables. This is not to say that I don’t eat them. I do, usually multiple servings a day. And I’ve learned to tolerate them, occasionally even mustering a small amount of gusto when they are prepared in a way I can say I enjoy. But the people who eat salads every day for lunch, who happily munch away on kale, squash, cabbage, and beets? Those people astound me. I want to like be like them; I tried for a long time to be like them. But I’m just not.
So what do you do when you know very well how important vegetables are for you but you don’t like them? I’ve got a few suggestions.
1) You don’t know if you like it until you try it. Turns out that the same advice I give my kids at almost every meal applies to me too. No, I didn’t necessarily think I’d like rutabaga, but when it was grilled and seasoned and served with bites of sweet potato? Very acceptable. It turns out that most of the time we decide what we like before we bother to really try it, and this prejudice clouds our perception of what we actually taste when we eat.
2) If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Again, I tell my kids this at least once a week, but sometimes you have to try something several times before you begin to like it. My older daughter told me at least ten times that she didn’t like the taste of broccoli, but on the eleventh time, she suddenly stopped complaining. I won’t pretend she asks to eat broccoli now, but she stopped telling me it tastes disgusting. I count that a win!
3) If you don’t like it hot, you might like it cold. I really despise cooked carrots, but I eat them raw with hummus almost every day. Enough said.
4) Hide them! I love findings ways to sneak in vegetables where you don’t expect or taste them. Cauliflower mac and cheeese? Yes please! Sweet potato pancakes? Bring ’em on! And my personal favorite – the smoothie. You can hide TONS of greens in a smoothie and they are always overpowered by the fruits and yogurt base. Love that! The task of hiding vegetables to make sure I eat enough is almost like a game to me. Ha!
5) Use your brain. There are all sorts of statistics and studies about how good vegetables are for you, how much they will help you run faster, lose weight, get sick less, give you valuable nutrients and vitamins, etc. And here’s one from the most recent issue of Runner’s World: “Each daily serving of produce (up to five) reduces your risk of early death by about five percent”. If that doesn’t motivate you to eat your veggies, I don’t know what will! I make sure to keep reading and re-reading these things, and I’m much more likely to keep trying to eat my veggies if I remind myself just how valuable they really are!
And now for some exciting news: after completing my CPR and First Aid training, I am an officially certified running coach now!
I even have my first unofficial client. Sure, she’s paying me with a few hours of free babysitting instead of cold hard cash, but given how infrequently my husband and I go on dates, this might be even better. Here’s to new running and coaching adventures!