Many people who try to eat healthier, find a hindrance early on in their efforts. They often tell me that they don't like vegetables.
Eating vegetables is crucially important to overall health and weight loss. The nutrients found in vegetables are essential to proper body function and immune support.
So to not eat them as a whole is counter productive at best. However, the reality is, unless you are truly hardcore, you won't eat veggies unless they taste good.
So here are a few ways to help you eat your vegetables and actually enjoy them.
Expand your options. Most people only eat a small selection of vegetables. This usually include green beans, corn, carrots, peas, maybe some broccoli, lima beans and a few small salads.
Your local grocery store has a huge variety of vegetables available just waiting to be eaten. Try to add a new vegetable into your rotation once a week. Don't be afraid to experiment a bit. Chances are, when you try new vegetables, you'll try other new foods as well. Which can't be a bad thing.
Cook differently. If you don't like vegetables, and you always prepare them the same way, that might be part of the problem.
Try different cooking techniques like sauteing, roasting, grilling, broiling, etc. Steamed brussels sprouts taste completely different than roasted brussels sprouts. Boiled spinach tastes much different than sauteed spinach. Raise your cooking IQ, and you might find a new friend in an old nemesis.
Hide the evidence. I don't mean hide the veggies like you did when you were a kid. What I mean is mix your vegetables with the stuff you like.
A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that adding pureed cauliflower, squash or carrots to bread, casserole and pasta recipes (at least 25 percent of the total volume) resulted in fiber increases and calorie deficits without changes in taste or texture. Mix it up, and you won't even notice.
Go on a sweet fast. Since childhood, we've inadvertently (or otherwise) been programmed to favor sweet food. fruit juice and juice drinks, sugary snacks, pastries.
Give up all of those sweet foods for three weeks, eat more vegetables, and you'll begin to retrain your brain and your palate, which will reduce your aversion to the unique taste of the green stuff.
Take one or all of these strategies — and get those veggies in. The low-caloric nature and belly-filling fiber in most vegetables is a great weapon in the fight against hunger, the enemy of weight loss.
Plus all of the nutrients that are unique to vegetables, known and undiscovered, help strengthen a multitude of bodily functions.
So no more excuses. Get your vegetables in using the above strategies, and you'll be healthier, and you will have opened your nutrition up to a whole new world of culinary options.
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Chad Smith is a Hagerstown personal trainer, and co-owner of Home Team Fitness Training. Visit http://www.hometeamfitness.net for more information, or find him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/hometeamfitness.