I hate vegetables. Please help. :(
July 5, 2007 12:33 PM   Subscribe

Are there alternatives to eating vegetables?

My parents spoiled me and let me eat whatever I wanted. Of course I never chose vegetables, because they were gross. So naturally, I don't have a taste for anything green. They just don't taste good to me at all while all my friends and family practically go crazy for certain vegetables and simply cannot do without them when they eat. About the only vegetables I eat are corn and fried ocra, and I don't think those count really. I definitely feel I eat a lot of crap junk takeout food and would probably feel a lot better if I changed my diet.

Are there alternatives to eating healthy? Maybe tricks to make vegetables taste better or even help develop a taste for them? Maybe vegetable pills or certain vitamins? If I took a daily vitamin every day for the rest of my life, would it be just as good as eating vegetables every day? I'm open to any suggestions or alternatives. Thanks!
posted by stlboi to Health & Fitness (59 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well, not really. Vitamins can, of course, help a lot... and should be eaten. I'm the exact same way (except I had the biggest fights with my parents over what I ate.) Over the years, I've learned to eat more.. but mainly in the last few years (mid twenties.)

What I've done that has helped is the following....

-Try to mix it with stuff you can tolerate. I hate spinache, but have learned that in cheese I can deal with it - either in ravioli or quiche's.

-Try sweeter vegetables, and ones without strong flavors in new ways... I've learned to eat spaghetti squash and sweet potatoes.

-Salads - I can't do romaine much, but if I get some iceberg lettuce with some carrots, etc... and mix in romaine I've learned to eat more and more of it.

Hope this helps!
posted by Gideon at 12:40 PM on July 5, 2007


Try not cooking your vegetables. I really don't like many cooked vegetables, but damn if a raw, cold cucumber doesn't taste amazing on a hot day.
posted by Mikey-San at 12:41 PM on July 5, 2007


There's no healthy alternative to eating vegetables, and I speak as a hard-core meat-eater. The roughage in green vegetables, which cannot be replaced by a pill, will help to prevent colon cancer, for example.

Sure, you can smother that broccoli with cheese sauce, but, y'know, in the long run that isn't going to be doing any favours. And if you can't even stand to eat your greens when they are fully disguised like that (other examples might include bacon-wrapped asparagus or collard greens with pulled pork), you're just going to have to eat them anyway.

In the final analysis: suck it up and eat your greens, like them or not, unless you want to greatly increase your risk of dying young but feeling old.
posted by solid-one-love at 12:42 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Iceberg lettuce? I mean, it's flavourless. Try starting with easy stuff like that before you move on to the bitter greens, like kale and whatnot.
posted by GuyZero at 12:46 PM on July 5, 2007


I always hated veggies as a kid because we'd typically have some over-microwaved, previously freezer-burned junk from a plastic bag. (No offense mom, I know it's a lot of work to put dinner on the table every night, but yuck!) Once I was older, I found out that veggies can be really tasty if they're fresh and not overcooked. Some suggestions:

- seconding Gideon's suggestion of sweeter veggies. Raw baby carrots, corn (especially on the cob, this time of year), raw red bell pepper strips, and raw sugar snap pea pods are all very sweet.

- A lot of people seem to like veggies better with dip. Cauliflower, carrots, broccoli florets, celery, etc. are great with some ranch dip, and you can get the lowfat kind to help feel healthier.

- If you're cooking veggies, the key term is "crisp-tender". They shouldn't turn to mush!

- Frozen veggies actually can be quite good, but don't let them get freezer burned. Also avoid thawing and refreezing (when you're coming home from the grocery store, or too lazy to put them right back in the freezer when you're cooking), as this will make them gross.

As for substituting other things for vegetables, I don't think you'll get very good results. Produce is important for fiber, phytochemicals, and other good stuff that you won't get from a vitamin. It's also thought that the interactions between vitamins, minerals, and other elements in foods can be just as important as the amounts of those elements themselves. So, a pill with the same beta carotene, fiber, etc. as a carrot will still not benefit your body as much as a real carrot.
posted by vytae at 12:52 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Vitamins can help, but they really aren't a replacement for the full range of nutrients in vegetables. Plus veggies are a major source of fiber -- which, if you (and your digestive system) don't care about now, you are almost certain to start caring about sometime in the future.

What's more, there are cumulative effects of eating badly that can't be undone by a pill. It's not that the sugars, additives, fats, etc. in highly processed foods simply don't happen to be good for you; if that's all you eat, then they are actually bad for you.

Seriously, if there was a healthy shortcut around eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc. then someone would be making a million dollars off it. At the end of the day, there really isn't.

My ex-husband was a lot like you for many years; he was allowed to avoid whatever he wanted to when he was growing up, and so as an adult pretty much the only vegetable he came within 20 feet of was the tomato sauce on pizza. He gradually introduced vegetables and fruits into his diet and now he eats a full range of foods, plus he's lost weight and is healthier than he was 10 years ago.

Check out this previous AskMe for additional tips on introducing fruits and vegetables into your diet.
posted by scody at 12:52 PM on July 5, 2007


Unfortunately, vitamins are not much of a substitute for vegetables. One of the biggest nutritional benefits you get from vegetables is fiber. Fiber are undigestable carbohydrates in fruits and vegetables that promote stool regularity, water retention, and are a big factor in preventing colon cancer. Also, it's fairly commonly accepted that vitamin supplements don't work as well as vitamins from food. As far as I understand it, nobody quite understands why, but it's probably because vitamins and nutrients interact with each other in complex ways and so when they're isolated in vitamin supplements they lose some efficacy.

Anyways, that's the bad news. What has helped me a ton has been to make eating a mental thing. I've sort of trained myself to feel bad when I eat junk food, and to feel good when I eat nutritional food. Over time, and I mean years, vegetables have actually tasted better and better as my mental reinforcement has actually changed my palate. I used to eat spinach and asparagus and cauliflower because I knew they were good for me. Now I eat them because they genuinely taste good.

You can change your taste if you work at it, you really can. I love chocolate cake, but I love a bowl of fruit equally now, because I don't feel guilty as hell after eating the latter. Eating without guilt is a really nice thing. :-)
posted by Khalad at 12:52 PM on July 5, 2007


Fruit.

Peppers.

Salsa.

Chutneys.

You need variety. Most people don't ever try a fifth of the stuff that's available in a typical supermarket.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:52 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Here's a link to a Wegman's article on 50 Ways to Eat More Produce. It's a really great article - it's supposed to be about tricking your kids into eating more fruits and veg, so some of them are kid specific, but most works great for reluctant adults as well. Here are some of my favorite tips:

7) For fast pizzas, spread English muffins or pitas with spaghetti sauce or Italian-style tomato soup. Scatter with sliced hot dogs, peppers and mushrooms.

26) Add shredded carrots or zucchini to ground beef and make into burgers.

39) Puree a package of frozen spinach and add to your favorite brownie or devil's food cake mix. No one will taste it—really!

45) Instead of using mayonnaise on a BLT, try mashed avocado.

...etc. Seriously, I've found the best thing to do is just to add vegetables to things you already like. Have a frozen pizza? Add some cut up vegetables and some extra cheese on top. Add some vegetables to a sandwich you're making. Make scrambled eggs and add some veggies. Keep things on hand that you can do this with.

Also, fruit is sweet and convenient, so I always have some on hand. I'll snack on it without thinking about it.

One thing that's important to remember to is that many of us have this idea that cooking vegetables needs to be a pristine, healthy affair. I say, if you're going to eat fat and salt in your diet, add it to your vegetables and get some use out of it. For example, try treating asparagus almost like french fries - sautee them up in some oil and salt them. Mmm. There are some great recipes out there - try roasting your carrots, for example. (Here's the Barefoot Contessa recipe.) In the same vein, eating vegetables with ranch dip is much more fun than eating a plain handful of baby carrots. You get the idea!
posted by warble at 12:56 PM on July 5, 2007 [3 favorites]


Oh, and I second eating fresh, lightly-cooked or raw plants. I hate, hate, hate steamed veggies. A big bowl of microwaved frozen corn/peas/carrots? Yuck!
posted by Khalad at 12:57 PM on July 5, 2007


Iceberg lettuce is fine for roughage and all, but it's not going to help you in the vitamin department. A good rule of thumb is the greener the lettuce, the better it is for you. I used to really hate veggies too, but I discovered once I tried different things, I found stuff I liked.

For salads, I'm not a big fan of romaine either (I hate the bitter rib parts) but butter lettuce or baby greens taste great. Raw spinach is on a different planet from cooked spinach and tastes great as well. Also, find a salad dressing you like--you'd be surprised at how far that goes. I had a friend who thought she hated salads, but she never gave herself permission to put enough salad dressing on them. Add nuts like pecans or walnuts or sunflower seeds. Add fruit like apples, pears, or mandarin oranges. Add cheese or sundried tomatoes or croutons. You get the idea.

For other veggies, I've found that there aren't many veggies that don't taste great cooked in some olive oil and garlic. Remember to use salt and pepper too (cooked veggies without salt taste awful) and don't cook them until they're mushy--just until they loose a little bit of the raw crisp. For an oriental twist, you can use soy or tamari sauce instead of salt and throw in a splash of toasted sesame oil with the garlic. If you don't like to cook, just toss everything into a casserole dish and roast the veggies at about 350 (f) for 30-45 minutes.

As with all food, one great way of trying different veggies to see if you like them is to go to a good restaurant and order some. I've overcome a lot of food aversions by tasting things prepared by good chefs :)
posted by Kimberly at 1:02 PM on July 5, 2007


My tips:

Give yourself time. I can't remember the adage about how many times kids need to try a food to like it, but surely the same thing applies to adults. You have years of counter-training against you, so prepare it differently the next time, but don't stop with one try of a veg.

Try your vegs fresh and prepared WELL. Look up proper cooking times for corn or green beans if you have to or try them at a restaurant you trust. Improperly cooked vegetables or old vegetables will sour you on the idea of vegetables...and canned vegetables are, sadly, usually blech.

Do some googling for tips and recipes on cooking vegs for kids. In between fried okra and plain vegs are relatively healthy recipes that still give some comfort from cheese, noodles, or what-have-you.

Eat a veg you do like (potatoes may be high in starch, but they still have their share of vitamins) in the same meal with one you're attempting to like.

Take advantage of it being summer and there being lots of good produce in season. Maybe even hit a farmer's market and sample the produce to see what you like when it's just been picked.

Add a vegetable to what you're already making. There's no rule you have to eat it alone and the taste will be more subtle. Easy and flexible to do is adding practically anything to your pasta & sauce combo, or soup. Shred it up like mentioned above if you have to.

Seconding using avocados: the creamy, fatty taste is good fat!
posted by artifarce at 1:05 PM on July 5, 2007


From everything I have read, vitamins are not a substitute for a healthy diet. It may be better to try to concentrate on how to get more veggies in your diet in as painless a way as possible.

I never liked vegetables either. However, I forced myself to start eating them as I wanted to be healthy and I knew I couldn't do that by eating only cereal for the rest of my life.

Some of my tricks:

-Steamed veggies are best as they retain their vitamins (when they are boiled, vitamins are lost in the water). I will steam broccoli and then take them out and add garlic salt or soy sauce or even cheese sauce. Steamed carrots are good with butter or olive oil. I have even steamed zucchini and added garlic salt.

-I learned that stir frys acn be good as well. I will use eggplant, broccoli, onions, peppers, mushrooms or whatever else I have. Use loads of oyster sauce, soy sauce or teriyaki sauce to make it more palatable. You can also buy ready made stir fry sauces at the supermarket. Stir frying is also a good way to retain maximum vitamins from veg.

- I hate salads, but I love them with dressing.

-Vegetable Soup - boil a pot of water and add whatever veg you want, put in a bit of tomato sauce if you like a tomato based soup and a few stock cubes (and basil or oregano or whatever seasonings you like). Boil for a few hours and then either mix it in a food processer or keep it chunky. So, so healthy and really tasty too.

-Spaghetti or any other cooked tomato based sauces are one of the bets sources of lycopene, which may protect against prostate cancer. If you like the taste of this, you can also grate in some carrot or zucchini or mince any other veggie and mix it in, you won't know it's there!

- Fruit and veggie juices. Try to get smoothies or ones made with whole fruits/veggies so you get the benefits of the fiber.

- I usually hate raw veggies, but I have started to have carrots and cut up peppers for lunch and I am finding that I really like it because I am dipping them in low fat hummus (and I love hummus), which almost blocks out the taste.

- Squashes and sweet potatoes are sweet and delicious, they're almost like candy but also a strong source of beta-carotene. I sometimes put a little bit of olive oil or butter on mine.

Basically, as Gideon said, cover veggies in anything you like (cheese, soy sauce, butter, whatever) to make them more palatable and you may find yourself developing a taste for them. I know it may not be ideal to smother salads in fatty dressings or stirfrys in salty sauces but I had to do it to get myself to eat veg. Now I find I don't necessarily need these things to enjoy them. And I was in otherwise good health and physically active, so this caused no detrimental effects to my health. Obviously, this may be different for you.

There are quite a lot of people who don't eat vegetables because they like them, but because they know it's good for them. You CAN develop a taste for them, if my experience is anything to go by.
posted by triggerfinger at 1:05 PM on July 5, 2007


26) Add shredded carrots or zucchini to ground beef and make into burgers

Picking up on this idea, it's much easier than you think to "sneak" veggies into foods you're already eating. Get yourself a small food processor and add carrots, zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, spinach, etc, Whatever you have on hand. Now, grind em up. Make the pieces pretty small, though not liquified. Strain them of excess water and add them to whatever you're making for dinner. Ground meat for burgers. Tomato sauce for spaghetti. Soups and Stews. A thin layer under the cheese of your pizza.

Of course, ideally, you'll phase whole veggies into your diet eventually. But I think this is a good non-shocking start. Some veggies are better than no veggies. And as others have said, you certainly can develop a taste for things you don't like. If you cut the fast food out cold turkey and ate only healthy, well balanced, produce laden meals for a month, your tastes and cravings for food would actually change. Seriously. It's happened to me and others I know. You may not be up for full throttle yet, but keep it in mind.
posted by theantikitty at 1:13 PM on July 5, 2007


I was a picky eater as a child in much the same way, but have gotten over it, more or less. There are still plenty of vegetables that I won't eat (the smell of broccoli forces me to leave the room).

The advice about eating raw or lightly-cooked vegetables is good. Grilled vegetables are good too—I can even tolerate beets when I make them on the BBQ. Also, if you don't already eat Indian food, try it. You (well, I) can have a varied, delicious vegetarian meal with a bunch of flavors unrelated to the underlying vegetables. Navratan khorma and samosas are your friends. Don't even think about what's in it, just eat it.

The other thing I'd recommend is simply to experiment. You don't make it clear how much you're doing that, but I found at some point in my 20s that a lot of vegetables that I refused to eat before (perhaps because I actually didn't like them, perhaps because I childishly judged them as "icky") started tasting good. I wouldn't have discovered that if I didn't start to experiment.
posted by adamrice at 1:17 PM on July 5, 2007


You just have to cultivate an appreciation, like you should have been doing all along as a child. Unfortunately now you have this "adult" self-actualized brain going "MRAWR! I'M BIG AND I'LL EAT WHAT I WANT TO, MRAWR!! NO ONE TELLS ME WHAT TO EAT!!" But see, that's actually just your kid brain all puffed up. An actual adult brain evaluates all factors, including health, culture, and taste and makes enlightened decisions based on the moment at hand instead of broad, inflamed childish generalizations.

Also, just keep trying things. Instead of thinking, "Yuck, I don't like green beans," start thinking, "Hmm, I wonder how THESE green beans taste..." Because really the differences between recipes and varieties and seasons can make a big difference. And if you wind up liking it, then you now know terms under which you'll eat a veggie. Or if you don't like it, but think, "I might like this if it was served with hot sauce instead" or something. You're educating yourself, slowly, but in order to do so you have to reach out beyond yourself and begin to let the world in, one yucky veggie at a time.
posted by hermitosis at 1:21 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


PS, I thought I hated veggies for years, turns out that my mom just hated cooking and didn't really bother to do much with them. Once I got out there and started sampling things with, say, fresh ingredients, or *gasp* SEASONINGS in them, I discovered a new world of tasty food.
posted by hermitosis at 1:23 PM on July 5, 2007


Learn how to make some raw veggie "soups". I know, it sounds icky, but if you experiment a bit until you hit on something you like, you'll forget all about the fact that you're eating veggies. Myself, I generally hate salads and various vegetables by themselves -- but when the right veggies are blended together with the right seasonings, the results can be spectacular.

You could start, e.g., with gazpacho, a cold Spanish tomato-based soup. How you season it makes all the difference -- if you need lots of salt, lemons, vinegar, garlic, pepper, whatever, go for it.
posted by treepour at 1:24 PM on July 5, 2007


I have to object to the "you need the fiber" argument from various commenters. Saying that one should eat vegetables because they contain fiber ignores that there are plenty of other sources of fiber, including whole grains, nuts, legumes, and suppliments. Fiber has lots of health benefits, but it has been shown to have little effect on colon cancer. Romaine lettuce is not a great source of fiber -- 1 cup shredded contains 1 gram of fiber.

The Harvard School of Public Health has a good rundown of the proven reasons to eat more vegetables, and it's a pretty convincing case.

My advice on eating more vegetables is to use dressings and sauces to get on the eating-vegetables wagon. Yes, heavy salad dressings and cheese sauces are not the best long-term choices, but, if they get you trying stuff and perhaps finding things you could eat with lighter sauces or alone, that's a win. Also, the blandness of frozen veggies can be a blessing -- it doesn't take much flavor to overpower a frozen string bean.
posted by backupjesus at 1:26 PM on July 5, 2007


I've been wondering about Spirulina as a solution to this same issue.
posted by Phred182 at 1:26 PM on July 5, 2007


Go to an excellent vegetarian restaurant. Once you have them properly done, it opens up a whole different world of food.
posted by GaelFC at 1:28 PM on July 5, 2007


When I was a kid, vegetables were frozen or canned or boiled into slimy flavorless globs and I hated them. When I started to cook for myself, I learned to buy fresh and to steam and sauté and they became delicious. (I stopped eating meat, and I had to learn to make something besides spaghetti every night.)

Some basic recipes:

Steam broccoli, cauliflower, and asparagus with a little salt and pepper. Take them off well before they go completely soft--you still want the crunch. Add a little grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Sauté some diced onions and pressed garlic in olive oil with a little oregano or basil, salt and pepper. Add sliced zucchini and yellow squash. I like cooking this until it's very soft but you can take it off sooner.

Lemon garlic roasted beets. Beets are full of sugar which caramelizes when you roast them. Yum!

Humans are very adaptable. The more you explore cooking and nutrition, the more you'll appreciate veggies.
posted by hydrophonic at 1:29 PM on July 5, 2007


Maybe it's un-doing the positives that come from eating veggies, but salt and butter can do miracles. Maybe use Smart Balance or another butter substitute. I am not big into veggies either, but I found that I could wean off the butter and salt quite a bit over the years.

Also: cheese dip, ranch (or whatever) dressing as a dip.

Also: vegetable soup. A good broth, and about 30 minutes of simmering can make some really yummy veggie soup. Add broccolli, cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, whatever you can tolerate. The taste of the broth will become the dominant taste over the individual veggies. (E-mail if you want my simple recipe. Even my daughter's teenage friends, who usually want pizza, ask for seconds!)

DON'T force yourself to eat a specific veggie if you really really don't like it. It will reinforce your veggie-hatred.
posted by The Deej at 1:36 PM on July 5, 2007


I'll second the juices. Out here in Seattle there's something called Kagome which has mixed fruit and veggie juices. They're quite good. I have no idea how far from the west coast they're available, but there are other options too.

Also, I will note that according to Seth Roberts, the guy who discovered the Shangri-La Diet, it's possible to gain an appreciation for vegetables. Simply have them with something that has a lot of calories. For example, slather them liberally with butter, peanut butter, cheese, etc. You'll have to force it down at first, probably, but after a few meals your brain will begin to subconsciously associate the flavor of the veggies with the calories you added, and you will start liking the taste. Then you can eat it without the extra calories.
posted by kindall at 1:38 PM on July 5, 2007


Seconding Kagome juices. Their "Purple Roots and Fruits" juice is my favorite juice of all damn time, bar none.

Ditto on salt, butter, dips, and cheese. In the short run, they're not really healthy, but they will help you get acclimated to the actual taste of the veggies. Over time you'll find yourself using less and less of them. Then one day, maybe none.
posted by hermitosis at 1:45 PM on July 5, 2007


Do you like garlic? Adding garlic and some olive oil to any veggies make them delicious.

Try roasting squash, mushrooms, and potatos: cut up some zucchini, yellow summer squash, red potatos, and mushrooms. Toss them all into a baking dish and add a few cloves of garlic and some olive oil; sprinkle with additional spices (i like pepper) to add more flavor. Stick in the oven for a while while you're making other delicious meat things. Eat. Yummy.

Bake a sweet potato: stab some holes in it with a fork and put it in the microwave for six or so minutes on each side (depends on strength of microwave and size of potato). Add some butter and a bit of brown sugar.

My boyfriend makes a salad of romaine lettuce, avocado, and oranges, with balsamic vinaigrette. Very good on warm days.

Green peppers + low fat ranch dip.

Make pasta. Add a bunch of olive oil, capers, garlic, roasted red pepper, spinach, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese (white wine as well, if you choose). Stir over heat until the spinach cooks down. Good way to sneak things into here -- you can do sundried tomatos, too, if you prefer those to pepper.
posted by olinerd at 1:45 PM on July 5, 2007


Ke-Babs on the grill are a great way to get veggified. Especially if you snuggle them up with something tasty, like bacon. Skewer the end of a strip of bacon, add a hunk of veggie, fold the bacon over the tip and skewer again. The idea is to have the bacon strip weaving back and forth between the veggies. Pop it on the grill. The veggie chunks will soak up some of that tasty bacon lovin along with grill smoke flavoring. Hard to beat.
posted by gregor-e at 2:06 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Don't buy the lousy ones in the average supermarket. Goddam cardboard tomatoes, rubbery lettuce, pre-bagged garbage... Even the strawberries suck these days. I don't like that stuff, and I'm a life-long vegetarian who does like her greens.

Find a good greengrocer. Don't go in with a list; go in and buy what smells good.

If you see a friendly clerk, ask what's good there at the moment. It is a small dream of mine to find a produce supplier who's a fussbudget who just wouldn't carry something, no matter how popular, if all the available supply was sub-par.

I partially concur with "Go to an excellent vegetarian restaurant. Once you have them properly done, it opens up a whole different world of food." Go to a good restaurant, not necessarily a vegetarian one. I like getting big plates of veg and a big thing of Hollandaise at posh steakhouses more than I like getting a plate of lukewarm over-salted fennel at a vegetarian restaurant. Seek out a place that's advertising locally grown organic produce and an ever-changing menu; they're the ones least likely to make vegetable errors. But spending time in restaurants ordering things with vegetables in them won't be time wasted -- go get some vegetable curry, Oriental dishes, etc. Veg in tempura is still veg.

Finally: get a juicer. Be fussy with your juice as well as your veg. OJ from a can in the freezer isn't the same beverage as fresh-squeezed. You can sneak vegetable juices into fruit juice quite nicely with a juicer, too.
posted by kmennie at 2:11 PM on July 5, 2007


You absolutely have to star eating vegetables for your health and for living a full life!!! I know, that's a pretty big statement, but these are the foods of nature we're talking about. There is arguably more pleasure to be had from eating a beautiful fresh stir fry than any processed food ever invented. Oh I'm so upset that you don't like veggies. So.

I do not think the answer is to eat vegetables that "taste like candy" because to people who don't like them, they don't. And that's never gonna get you all the way to Brocooli and Green Beans. However, I do think smartly seasoning your veggies is a good move. And if that means fat and salt, so be it. If you don't want to cook, eat Thai, Chinese or Indian Food, all feature lots of veggies. Or order veggie pizzas. Go to a Salad Bar. If you do want to cook, try Green Beans cooked fast and hot with butter and salt., till they're crispy in parts. Try a wash of Olive Oil over Grilled Eggplant, Zucchini, Mushrooms and Onions. I know what I said about candy, but Candied Carrots are a favorite of mine. Try Spike seasoning, it makes everything taste (sort of the same, but) scrumptious.

Go to the store, pick something you know people love but you don't yet much care for (not kale) and buy lots of it, then ask mefi what the very best recipe for it is. It's okay if you can't eat a pound of Brussels Sprouts (I can only eat about 6 of them before it gets to be too much) but for God's sake, you're missing an absolute good in yummy green veggies.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:13 PM on July 5, 2007


"V8® V.Fusion™ is a breakthrough juice that gives you a full serving of vegetables plus a full serving of fruits* in every 8-oz. glass. The result is a nutrition-packed beverage made of 100% juice that’s also delicious and refreshing!"

"
*Each 8-oz glass of V8® V.Fusion™ juice provides a 1/2 cup of vegetables and a 1/2 cup of fruit.
The USDA MyPyramid recommends a daily intake of 2 1/2 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit for a 2,000 calorie diet."

-- straight from the V8 Website.
posted by nimsey lou at 2:14 PM on July 5, 2007


One or two of my daily vegetables is the pound of carrots I liquify in my Braun juicer, every day. Carrot juice makes me healthy (and sometimes I include the brocolli stalk with the carrots, and just steam the florets. Twenty years ago, the old me would've been amazed at how healthy I'm eating now.)
posted by Rash at 2:23 PM on July 5, 2007


If you like tomato sauce on your pasta:

Saute some onions for a bit, pour in a can of peeled tomatoes, add some fresh basil, dump in some chopped veggies of your choice (e.g., carrots, celery, whatever), simmer for 20 minutes, puree in a blender/processor, simmer for 15 more minutes, voila.
posted by phatkitten at 2:26 PM on July 5, 2007


I love V8's Fusion juice! I'm not particularly advanced in my own veggie reeducation, and in my opinion, all you taste in it is the fruits.
posted by scission at 2:42 PM on July 5, 2007


Like everyone else in the world, I hated vegetables as a kid because vegetables were these mushy things that got dumped from a can into a covered bowl and tossed in the microwave. Try vegetables that are raw, sauteed, stir-fryed, grilled, etc. Sooo much better.
posted by dagnyscott at 2:56 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Two teaspoons of Greens+ a day. It's the foulest thing on earth, although some people actually like it! To me, it tastes what I imagine turf to taste like.

http://www.greensplus.com/
posted by Hates_ at 2:58 PM on July 5, 2007


frozen peas and corn are flavorless and fun to eat
posted by iamkimiam at 2:59 PM on July 5, 2007


AV's stir-fry suggestion is excellent. Pre-cook some bonesless chicken (boil it with some chicken stock and seasonings) and cut it into bite-size pieces. Stir fry with veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, celery) in a little bit of oil; add some teriyaki or sweet and sour sauce. Serve over rice or noodles.
posted by The Deej at 3:16 PM on July 5, 2007


Not a big veggie fan here, either - I slam a six-pack of small V8 cans a week, to supplement my one or two (gagged down) salads a week. I also make sure I get fiber in other ways, such as the magnificent Trader Joes High Fiber O's!
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 3:19 PM on July 5, 2007


-- Eat anything 10 times, you'll like it. (Provided, of course, that it is edible and something that at least some people like.)
-- Steaming + salt. You get the actual flavor of the vegetable. Which really truly is what you want. You want to teach yourself to like, actually like, the flavor of vegetables -- not of "vegetables" or of trace amount of vegetables submerged in goo. Concentrate on training yourself, on turning your tastebuds and blood chemistry upside down.
-- Try to get fresh produce, as close to the garden as you can get. The flavor of very fresh lettuce of the right variety, for instance, is a revelation. It's actually sweet and very enjoyable.
posted by argybarg at 4:14 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Processed vegetable juices are not the same as eating actual vegetables and should not be used as a substitute. Yes, that includes V8. There's a fair bit of discussion of this in a previous ask.me question.

Talk to someone with young kids. They'll know all about how to sneak veggies into food without being noticeable. I have a friend who uses the methods outlined by theantikitty, with the difference that she takes the blended pulp, freezes it in ice cube trays and then has a chunk of vegetable on hand ready to throw into whatever food she's making.

I work with fruit extracts studying specific health properties. My colleagues are horticulturalists and many of them also work with health properties of fruit and vegetables. So I just want to second what everyone else has said about their necessity and usefulness. The reasons are pretty well covered, and are valid.

Eating a decent quantity and variety of fruits can go a long way towards balancing out a lack of veggies, but you really want to be getting as much different types of good food as you can. So sneak in the vegetables as much as possible and eat lots of fruit if you can.
posted by shelleycat at 4:34 PM on July 5, 2007


Nthing grinding squash and other veggies into pasta sauces.

If you're really intent on faking a healthy diet, you might give one of these green drink powders a shot. They don't taste great, but it's not bad and it's a unique taste that's an altogether different deal than eating veggies. On the other hand, the V-8 fruit juices taste pretty good.

You're missing out, though. Grilled portabello mushrooms marinated in worcester sauce with a splash of A-1 is a pretty good substitute for steak. (At the very least, what you miss in steakiness, you make up for in feeling goodiness afterwards.)

I poke a few holes in a zucchini and put it in the microwave, cut it lengthwise and top with butter, sour cream and other loaded baked potato toppings. For me, that's a good veggie side without much effort.

Baba ghanoush is mostly eggplant, but is very savory.

A lot of veggies will take on the taste of whatever they're cooked in.

My adult tastes savor a lot of veggies that were once unthinkable. Mushy carrots are still out of the question, however.
posted by Skwirl at 4:37 PM on July 5, 2007


Grilled and roasted vegetables taste sweet and are easy to make.

I like partially-cooked vegetables fine, but keep in mind lots of vegetables really are much tastier when they're fully cooked. Broccoli and green beans spring to mind. They really, truly, have their own delicious taste--not so grassy.

Some favorite recipes: broccoli, boiled or steamed until tender, and then sauteed with olive oil, parsley, and garlic.

Toast chopped garlic in olive oil and cook spinach in that. Frozen actually works best. Use on pizza as a replacement for tomato sauce, or as a pasta sauce.

Slice fennel, add to skillet with olive oil and enough water to cover. Simmer until the water has evaporated. It's not green, but it's still a vegetable and it's really, really good.

Yes, use olive oil or some other healthy oil, and plenty of it. There is no need to stint! It makes the vegetables taste fantastic, and there are studies that say that you don't even absorb all the vitamins if you don't eat some fat at the same time. So there. There's a reason those things taste so good together.

I recommend Marcella Hazan's cookbooks, especially the earlier ones. She has simple recipes for cooking many different vegetables and they are all fantastic. You might especially try the various vegetable pasta sauces--pasta sauce doesn't always have to be tomato-based.
posted by bluebird at 5:01 PM on July 5, 2007


There has been many mentions of vitamins. But the world of vitamins is a bewildering array of poor choices with a few gems mixed in.

Most vitamins are synthetically produced which hampers absorption. If you are going to drop some cash on vitamins don't get synthetic vitamins, they more often than not amount to expensive urine coloring.

Food-based vitamins are the way to go. They provide not only very absorbable vitamins but also micronutrients that are found in veggies but are lacking in most vitamins. Megafood brand is awesome. They make a one-a-day that is 100% food derived and isn't that expensive. If the price tag scares you away (I get a months worth for around 20) then Alive by Nature's Way at least has a ton of greens in them like kelp and spirulina.

But seriously, the above responses giving you hints on how to sneak in more veggies is much better advice than pills.
posted by munchingzombie at 5:17 PM on July 5, 2007


"Eating greens is a special treat.
They make long ears and great big feet."
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:47 PM on July 5, 2007


I'd agree with The Deej, butter makes everything taste better. Start with lots of butter, and once you get used to the tastes and learn how to expertly cook things you can cut back. Vinegar or lemon juice are good options, too, especially on brocolli.

I hated veggies as a kid, but I found that eating in the dining hall for four years at college left me craving fruits and vegetables - even the sad, under/overcooked midwest variety. When I came home, though, I'd unexpectedly find the motivation to hop on down to the local farmer's market or fruitstand and cook things up myself. Avoid the junk at big grocery stores - that'll make a huge difference - and if you can, move to California! Or at least have a go at whatever's local and in-season.
posted by you're a kitty! at 5:48 PM on July 5, 2007


There are already so many great suggestions here, I just have a few things to add. First, try growing some vegetables in a garden. It's very hard not to like vegetables you grow yourself. Second, I read or heard a study once where people ate vegetables with added sugar. The body is set up to learn and crave sources of sugar, so doing so led to increased consumption of vegetables at latter dates, when sugar was no longer added. Sorry I don't have the citation. Finally, I've also heard about another biological mechanism, and it's the one that artyfarce alludes to and argybarg cites -- when it comes to foods, repetition makes the heart grow fonder. Really, pick something and eat it a bunch of times, and you'll find you like it.
posted by daisyace at 6:09 PM on July 5, 2007


Certain peoples survive without any vegetables at all- inuit, eskimos, etc. Their secret? Eating meat...offal included.

However, if you a picky, then eating liver and gnawing on bones is probably not in your cache.

http://ask.metafilter.com/66310/Learning-to-eat-bettermore
has good suggestions for a similar problem.

Here are my favorites in summary
-cooking class! You actually get to know the food and how to probably prepare it. Plus, they pressure you to eat it in the end.

-farmer's markets or gardening: time consuming, but another great way to familiarize yourself with vegetables and group of people that are very enthusiastic about them.

-haute cuisine: $$$ but a great way to try new things that are actually prepared properly. I first tried shallots, artichokes, and salmon at nice restaurants.

-soups and mild salads: the former nix the texture and some of the aroma difficulties, the latter is a way to gradually diversify. I started out with a salad of mild lettuce 5 years ago and gradually added more and more.

I still honestly have to force most veggies on myself, but I worry less about my diet. I'm never going to be in love with most vegetables, but I'm learning to live with them. Actually, a lot the veggies I and others do crave are fruits...tomatoes, zucchini, sugar snap peas, etc. So I bet most people don't eat all that many true vegetables besides carrots and the occasional broccoli.
posted by melissam at 6:27 PM on July 5, 2007


I’m not sure about the vitamin pills (haven’t taken any of those yet), but I’ve been a meat and potatoes guy myself for a long time now, until recently. What got me to slightly change my abhorrence for veggies was mixing them up with certain spices, or maybe meat (a bit of fenugreek with ground up meat tastes excellent, and you can vary it with whatever vegetable suits your palette—Cauliflower?).
posted by hadjiboy at 6:31 PM on July 5, 2007


Personally, I take Juice Plus.

My doctor recommended it, and I was skeptical until a friend of mine told me her personal experience with the product. (She went to Mexico on a college athletic trip and was the only one who didn't get Montezuma's Revenge, even though all the trip participants ate & drank the same things at the same places. She was the only one taking Juice Plus.)

I still try to eat veggies, but I feel better about have a "back-up" option & there seems to be a decent amount of science (clinical studies) that shows these pills are effective.

(BTW, I'm not a Juice Plus retailer--just a satisfied customer.)
posted by batcrazy at 6:38 PM on July 5, 2007


Nthing those recommending getting your produce from farmer's markets or greengrocers.

Also, you really can develop a taste for vegetables if you eat them long enough. Cut out the refined carbs (sugary packaged foods) and replace them with vegetables and fruits, give yourself a month or so on that diet, and you'll find candy doesn't taste as good and tomatoes taste amazing.
posted by schroedinger at 6:57 PM on July 5, 2007


Mr. Adams is not a veggie fan, either. We had lunch at Logan's Steakhouse recently, and he tried their new vegetable skewer as one of his side dishes. It was delicious! I think the secret is they sprinkle the veggies with the same seasoning they use on their steaks. I make it at home for him now - grill tomato pieces, onions, squash, and mushrooms on our George Foreman-type grill with a dab of butter, and sprinkle them with some generic steak seasoning I bought at the supermarket.
posted by Oriole Adams at 7:55 PM on July 5, 2007


I'm assuming you're American, British, or Australian. I've noticed that those cultures don't really incorporate spices, herbs, or any sense of FLAVOUR in their food. There is no imagination! No wonder kids over there are stereotyped for not liking vegetables - they're often bland and boring.

Check out Chinese stirfries, Indian curries, Malay gulai, anything Asian really. We know how to cook. ;)
posted by divabat at 8:34 PM on July 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Alternative to eating vegetables? Nutrient deficiency diseases and horrible suffering.

Ways vegetables are tasty? Recently picked and recognizable from not being processed to death. The sneak-em-in route will do great things to keep you alive, but the make-it-a-star route will greatly increase the enjoyment of that life. I can't even explain how much. Find recipes that really emphasize the goodness of whatever you eat. (My favorites of that sort are whole roasted sweet potatoes; stir-fry of chicken, red bell pepper, and fresh snow peas in pods; and almost any fresh crunchy veg in pieces large enough to feel and taste.)

Nits to pick? This one, from above: Most vitamins are synthetically produced which hampers absorption. If you are going to drop some cash on vitamins don't get synthetic vitamins, they more often than not amount to expensive urine coloring.

Contradiction alert! If they are not absorbed, they cannot get into your urine. Urine is made from blood plasma. To get into your blood plasma the vitamins must be brought across your intestinal wall. This process is known as absorption.

Truths remaining unaltered? This one, extending from the above: Nutrients presented in pills are, generally, less useful than nutrients presented in real food.

That's not because your intestinal villi know whether a given substance was prepared by a plant or a chemist. It may be because there are complementary (related?) nutrients in the real food that we haven't identified, isolated, and synthesized yet. It may be because other chemical properties of the food, such as its pH, contribute to that nutrient's absorption. It may be because the gut scales back its operations unless it's got something with more bulk to work on. Whatever the cause, the effect has been demonstrated.

Supplements are better than nothing, and in some cases they are highly commendable. (F'rinstance, anyone with the faintest chance of becoming pregnant oughta be supplementing folic acid before the sex happens. Embryos seriously need that stuff several days before a pregnancy can be detected.) But the main effect of most supplements is still Expensive Poo Syndrome.
posted by eritain at 11:04 PM on July 5, 2007


Nthing repetition. It's amazing to me how things that just don't taste good to me the first few times I try them can turn into things I crave if I push through and eat them just a few more times. It's interesting because we tend to think our tastes are static attributes, but really they can be very dynamic if exercised.
posted by yarrow at 9:23 AM on July 6, 2007


This book is all about sneaking vegetables into hamburgers and spaghetti and whatnot. It's aimed at parents, but, aside from that, sounds like it might be right up your alley.
posted by box at 11:55 AM on July 6, 2007


WOW. I really appreciate all the input guys. From what I've gathered from this, I'm going to get some Juice Plus, drink a while lotta V8 Fusion, maybe even buy stock and introduce more fiber in my diet (I love Wheaties). I will also try fresher vegetables that are steamed with some seasonings to see how they taste. Thanks again guys!
posted by stlboi at 12:23 PM on July 6, 2007


By the way, I would mark all of these as best answers because they are all very good!
posted by stlboi at 12:27 PM on July 6, 2007


I will also try fresher vegetables that are steamed with some seasonings to see how they taste.

You better. Or NO DESSERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by The Deej at 1:14 PM on July 6, 2007


LOL
posted by stlboi at 9:23 AM on July 8, 2007


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