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5 Tips to Make Vegetables Irresistible

Healthy delicious grilled vegetables

I'll be honest with you...although I find a big juicy steak incredibly enticing…I would actually choose to eat a flavorful vegetable dish instead 9 times out of 10.

If you're a carnivore, I'm sure I sound crazy. But I just know the extraordinarily positive impact that vegetables have on my health and performance in life, and that when treated properly, they transform into the most delectible dishes.

When you think about it, fruits and vegetables are the true superfoods - they're loaded with important vitamins, minerals, fiber, water, adaptogens...basically most of the things you need if you want to: 

  1. Maximize performance at work or school

  2. Achieve a goal weight

  3. Improve concentration

  4. Have excellent digestion and gut health without supplements

  5. Sleep soundly

  6. Protect yourself against seasonal viruses

  7. Reduce your risk of cancer or chronic diseases


I knew from my nutrition background that upping the volume of produce in my life would be a fool-proof way to improve my health and the health of my family, so I made the decision to consciously up the volume whenever possible.

So far, that lifestyle change has worked out even better than I expected.

As soon as I started finding creative ways to boost the veggies and fruits in our diet, both my husband and I started to feel more energized, our digestion improved, we felt more satisfied after we ate, and even now when we eat a “splurge” meal, there’s no regret because we know the next meal will likely be chalk-full of rich nutrition.

We essentially feel healthy AF.

And I know that if I want to still feel this good when I’m in my 60s and 70s, continuing to fuel with good quality nutrition is crucial.

If you’re anything like most of my clients, you likely have a similar longevity goal.

You probably want to able to jump out of bed in the morning with tons of energy, have perfect labs and blood pressure whenever you visit the doctor, be able to get down on the ground and play with your kids, keep up with your friends, and generally just be able to do whatever the hell you want without your bodies giving up on you.

And if that’s what you want, here’s my advice: Treat food as preventative medicine and eat for your health, not just for your palate.

What you eat truly dictates how you feel now and how you will feel in 20, 30...even 50 years.

You may have a strong family history for various health problems…but that does NOT mean you are doomed to develop them.

Even if half of your family has diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure, that means almost nothing for your health. It just means you have to put in the effort to learn how to eat in a way that will prevent it from happening to you.

You have the power to control your outcomes…

And it begins with eating the right foods to keep you healthy. Namely fruits and vegetables.

Now, if you're someone who routinely says, “But I don't like those foods...” Consider that maybe it’s time to put in the effort to make them taste better.

Because when you’re running a 5K, playing pickleball, and have all the energy in the world at age 75, you’ll be graciously thanking the you of today for making the mindset shift to view food as medicine instead of just a way to feel full or satisfy a fleeting craving.

And the great news is that healthy food can taste absolutely amazing when you put in the tiniest bit of effort into making it so.

On their own, I’ll admit vegetables are kind of bland compared to the plethora of hyper-palatable foods we have access to (fast food, junk food, snack food, etc.). But with the right cooking method, seasonings, sauce, or dips, they turn into delicious magic.

And if you're not convinced by that, consider that you basically get all new taste buds every 2 weeks…even as an adult. Meaning you can truly learn to like foods you never thought you’d touch with a 10-foot pole.

But it starts with a willingness to try.

And if you’re willing to put in the effort to try, then I can meet you in the middle and share with you my top tips for turning fruits and vegetables into crave-worthy foods.

These are 5 practical tips that I’ve used myself and continue to use to this day.

If you commit to these routinely, you are pretty much guaranteed to increase the amount of produce in your diet by at least 50%.

5 Ways to Transform Vegetables

Season Your Veggies Like You Season Meat

I mentioned vegetables are not very flavorful on their own right? That being said, it's your job to make them flavorful. The first way to do that is to add extra seasonings to any vegetable you cook.

Well seasoned vegetables

My advice is to find a handful of fun seasoning blends you're excited about AND use a bit more than you think you need.

Consider things like: 

  • BBQ spice rubs

  • Cajun seasoning

  • Curry (one of my favorites)

  • Italian blends

  • Jerk seasoning

  • Old Bay

  • Ranch seasoning

  • Smoked paprika

  • Steak seasoning

I will literally walk up and down the seasoning section of the grocery store at least once a month and choose a few new spices just to keep things interesting.

I would recommend airing on the side of over-seasoning if you're someone who doesn't like veggies or thinks they're bland.

And don’t forget the salt!

I know it’s counter-intuitive for a dietitian to recommend salting food, but it goes a little goes a long way towards improving the taste of food. A lot of people don’t realize that the vast majority of sodium in our diet (80-90%) comes from processed food and restaurant meals, NOT what we add to our home-cooked dishes.

Plus, if you're diligent about increasing the vegetables in your diet, you will likely naturally reduce sodium and instead increase potassium (which is great for your heart and overall health). 

Crisp 'Em Up!

When I worked with kids and consulted on picky eaters, one of the most frequent questions I asked families was, "how do you cook your veggies?"

99% of the time they either boiled or steamed all vegetables.

To me, that’s a problem.

Sure, steaming preserves a lot of nutrition, BUT it leaves you with a mushy, bland product.

Pretty much all humans - adults and kids alike - love a good crunchy texture. It’s kind of oddly written in our DNA.

So if you’re looking to enhance both the flavor and texture of vegetables, switch to a dry cooking method. That means lightly coat in oil and roast, grill, or air fry on high high heat until you get a good crust on the veggies.

I’m talking 450°F or higher. 

I let my broccoli and brussels sprouts brown until they look a bit beyond done and they are irresistible.

Now, if you're someone who enjoys steamed veggies, that's totally fine! But if you're not eating them because they're bland that way, at the very least, add a little flavor enhancer like butter, EVOO, cheese, or the seasonings I mentioned above. 


Add a Fun Sauce, Dip, or Dressing

This is great for kids and adults alike. We all love sauces. And you can apply this concept to raw or cooked vegetables.

For example, consider drizzling a honey sriracha sauce on your roasted veggies for a sweet and spicy component, or reduced balsamic vinegar for a sweet yet acidic pop

(Pro tip: acid helps cut down on the bitterness of certain vegetables like brussels sprouts and kale).

When it comes to raw vegetables, I pretty much always pair them with a sauce or dip.

I recommend dipping raw vegetables like carrots, jicama, bell peppers, cucumbers, and radishes into nutritious dips like hummus, black bean dip, yogurt-based spinach artichoke dip, or tzatziki.

Vegetable dipping sauce

I know this sounds weird, but I also love carrots with peanut butter. Celery and peanut butter is okay…but carrots and PB… 👌

A dip or sauce not only adds a ton of flavor and variety to an otherwise bland food, it can provide added nutrients like calcium (in yogurt dips) and protein and healthy fats (in hummus and peanut butter or other nut butters)


Add 1-2 Types of Vegetables to Your Favorite Dishes

This is probably the easiest jumping point for boosting your vegetables.

Basically, you're taking a dish you already love and just adding to it.

I have literally never met a recipe I couldn’t add at least ONE vegetable to. Most of the time, you can easily add 1-2 types of veggies to any dish and not compromise flavor.

In fact, all this does is add bulk to the recipe, meaning you’ll naturally have more left over for future meals (yay less cooking!)

This little change has allowed me to go from cooking 4 meals per week to just 2 because we have SO much food left over at the end of the meal.

Brussels sprouts with pancetta

A few types of vegetables that are easy to add to almost any dish:

  • Bell peppers

  • Cauliflower

  • Celery

  • Finely chopped mushrooms

  • Onions

  • Spaghetti squash (great for pasta dishes - substitute out a portion of pasta for spaghetti squash!)

  • Spinach

  • Summer squash

  • Zucchini

Pro tip: Keep a bag of frozen vegetable on hand at all times so you can easily pop a few cups of vegetables into any dish. Frozen produce is very healthy...sometimes healthier than fresh produce because it is flash frozen at the peak of freshness.


Artfully Hide Them

If you’re super picky or have a picky child, this is one of the easiest 'no-fuss' ways to get more veggies in.

I don’t recommend you use this method exclusively because I want to encourage you and your family to consciously up your produce, but it can definitely help.

However, I showed parents how to do this all the time back when I ran a weight management program for kids and it was honestly a game changer for the parents.

The easiest way to become the Houdini of hiding vegetables for yourself or others is to pick 1-2 bland vegetables and, using a food processor or blender, mix them into other foods that have lots of flavor.

That could be a pasta sauce, soup, smoothie, or sweet batters (i.e. for muffins, quick breads, or pancakes). 

Healthy berry smoothie with spinach

If it’s easier (which it usually is), cook the vegetables down a bit first before mixing. Then puree them until they’ve incorporated into whatever you’re making.

For smoothies and batters, I recommend cauliflower, spinach, or zucchini because they don’t alter the taste.

For sauces and soups, you can use onions, cauliflower, celery, finely chopped mushrooms, or even spinach. Just add plenty of seasonings and blend well.


Set a Goal, Write It Down, and Track It.

As with any lifestyle change or goal, the only way to truly know that you're making progress is to track it.


If you don't track what you're doing, it's too easy to slip back into old habits and I guarantee you'll constantly feel like you're not making progress.

But if you can see an objective measurement of progress with your own eyes, you'll feel proud and motivated to keep going.

So find a tracking method that's easy to keep up with and shows your progress.

That could be a food logging app, a note on your phone, or good old fashioned pen and paper.

Hell, make yourself a sticker chart. Seriously...adults love stickers too (I know I do!).

In any case, have fun with this and let me know in the comments if you have any tips of your own!


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