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The making of a veggie lover

Love your veggies
Love your veggies


Does it taste good? The making of a veggie lover!

What kind of question is that? Taste is subjective. What I I find absolutely delicious another person may find terrible. What I find terrible today I may find fantastic next week…..look at a toddler being introduced to new foods; new parents are always being told to try again another week when the child doesn’t like a new food.

I’ve been asked this question so often as I train that I have to laugh. Of course as a new trainee asks about how good a veggie dish is the answer is likely a resounding “NO”. When people are used to eating pizza and drinking soda it’s a real good bet that lightly wilted spinach and garlic is not going to tickle their tastebuds. But once they are seasoned veggie lovers the questions range more toward how long to wilt the spinach, how many cloves of garlic and did you put the garlic in first or last???

When a sugar logged set of tastebuds first start trying to incorporate more veggies there is often tons of resistance. “I’ve never liked veggies” is a well rehearsed mantra. I patiently explained that you get new tastebuds every 30 days or so and if they can just start eating a few veggies at first, it will get easier and like a baby, if you don’t like something this month, try again next month,

Just eat your veggies
No one said it was a cake walk

So how do I help these new trainees make the switch? My knee jerk reaction used to be to say, “suck it up” but this was not such a good approach and I often did not get such good compliance. Seems my mantra of “just eat it because it’s good for you” only works on me and a few diehards.

So I have developed a system to turn clients into veggie lovers, are you ready?

First I question what veggies are tolerable, liked or no-way Jose candidates. What form do they usually eat these veggies in….Raw, cooked from a can or frozen? Dipped or plain? When did their dislike of veggies happen…as a child they were never exposed or expected to eat them? Carrots, celery & salads are diet food? School always cooked everything to a lovely shade of army mush green?

Next, do they like stir frys? What about Soup? Chili? Meatloaf? Lasagna?

Now we build off their answers. Let’s start by adding more of what they already like. If they are soup lovers then let’s get a great vegetable soup recipe and add just 1 vegetable that they are the unfamiliar with. Love meatloaf? Then add my hubby’s special blend of chopped onion, grated carrot &/or zucchini, minced mushrooms and bacon! Lasagna…add 1 layer of thinly sliced eggplant and double up on the mushrooms.

I didn't say give up the dipping sauce yet!
I didn’t say give up the dipping sauce yet!

Carrots, celery and salads are associated with diets and deprivation, well then I don’t start there but as their like for veggies grow they get lists for build your own salads that include pick your base leaves (iceberg, spinach, spring mix, arugula), pick 4 other veggie options (basil, carrots, olives, tomatoes…..), pick a crunchy (nuts, seeds, croutons) and finally add a protein (last nights leftover chicken breast or steak, tuna, salmon).

Still no luck, well then we just have to start experimenting with veggies they find least terrible. Let’s face it, they did come to me for help, they are going to have to do something out of their comfort zone. What about switching out a regular baked potato with a sweet potato? Or heading to Amazon for some veggie cookbooks and make some fancy hors d’reveres? My new favorite is the “Thug cookbook”. It is filled with vegetarian options and seasoned very yummy for the tummy!
Now….do yummy recipes make a veggie lover? Sometimes. But often times we do get to work on mindset around veggies a little too. Here is a sample of somethings I remind people….veggies are natures whisk broom keeping our insides cleaned up and moving, giving the excess fat and toxins a helping hand out. Veggies keep your teeth and jaw strong with all that extra chewing! Veggies are not “diet” food. You can eat unlimited amounts of veggies (let’s start there, but we will need to upgrade that to GREEN veggies soon). No one said you have to give up meat or become a vegetarian to get healthier, I said you have to increase your veggies. And remember to just add a couple extra servings a day until you’ve reached recommended portions….once you are at a full load of veggies daily they do move through pretty good but if you haven’t been eating many veggies….there could be a back up (so don’t jump right from 0-15 overnight!

And poof! We have a veggie tolerator.

Roasted veggies!
Roasted veggies!

Recipe ideas

*mixed color peppers sliced and sautéed with onion, sprinkle crumbled blue cheese on top when done

*omelet with spinach wilted and the pepper mix from above and add guacamole to the top instead of cheese

* slice raw zucchini into rounds and dip in hummus

* sauté leftover zucchini in olive oil and add salt, pepper and turmeric

* grill your asparagus

* cut beets into small chunks, place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, bake at 350* for 20″ flipping half way through

* thinly slice eggplant into rounds, dip in egg then bread crumbs (or ground pecans) and bake 350* for about 20″ flipping part way through

* cut up carrots, mushrooms, celery, put in a stock pot of water add a can of tomatoes some oregano and curry powder….soup!

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