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Despite our best intentions to eat plenty of vegetables every day, we all have those vegetables we just don’t care for, or those days when we need an extra push to eat the ones we do like. Whether you’re trying to sneak some vegetables into your kids’ snacks or find a way to eat more yourself, this article has some practical and fun ideas about how to add more produce to your diet.
- Chop It Fine: One of the best ways to neutralize the strong taste of a vegetable is to chop or shred it into very small pieces. Put broccoli through a food processor and then mix it into ground beef or veggie burger mix. Shred carrots with other vegetables (so no one vegetable dominates); mix with egg, a little flour, and herbs; and then fry them into crispy fritters.
- Make it Smooth: For the vegetable-wary, purees are your friend. Pureeing vegetables allows you to incorporate them into a wide variety of dishes. Slip some cauliflower into a white sauce, peas into guacamole, or pumpkin into smoothies. I’ll bet no one notices!
- Make It Sweet: If you include both fruits and vegetables in a smoothie, the sweet taste of the fruits will overpower the vegetable. Make a banana-spinach smoothie and you will most likely taste more of the bananas than spinach. Another option is to add a little cocoa powder to make it more of an indulgence. For an unusual, nutritious treat next summer, try making tomato-basil sorbet or celery-lime sorbet!
- Make It Crunchy: Kale chips are a crunchy, savory answer to anyone who thinks they don’t like kale. Plus, they’re easy to make, too! Just shred kale into bite-sized pieces; add a little olive oil, salt, and your favorite seasonings; and bake at 300 degrees for 35 minutes. The same process can be used to make roasted broccoli, except I turn the oven up to 425 degrees and cook for 25-30 minutes. My four-year-old daughter, who typically shuns vegetables, will eat as many kale chips and as much roasted broccoli as her little belly can handle. As long as it’s crunchy, she’ll gobble it down.
- Swap it for Carbs: Grate parsnip or cauliflower to make a rice substitute, or try mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes. You can also use a spiralizer to turn butternut squash or zucchini into noodle substitutes, and then top with a nice, thick tomato or a zesty pesto sauce. Yay for vegetables on vegetables! I’m gluten-free, so I use lettuce leaves instead of burger buns and quickly steamed collard greens (as in, one minute!) for wraps instead of tortillas. My partner also makes a mean cauliflower-cheese crust for pizza.
What are your favorite tricks for sneaking vegetables into your family’s diet? Share in the comments!