If you’re health-conscious but haven’t quite grown out of your “I hate broccoli” stage, it can feel like a constant battle to eat enough vegetables. If this is you, you’re not alone. When you’re starting to eat more vegetables — especially if your diet’s been short on them — it can be challenging on your taste buds.
The good news is that you can find a way to love your greens; as long as you’re willing to get a little creative, that is.
Here are some hacks that will help you learn to love your greens so you don’t miss out on all the key vitamins and minerals they provide.
Season Well, Then Roast Them
One of the easiest ways to prepare a bunch of vegetables at once is to bake them on a sheet pan. Just be sure to season them generously, especially if you’re working with veggies like zucchini or yellow squash that can be on the blander side. Reach for spices with a nice kick, like paprika, red pepper flakes, turmeric, or chili powder, and don’t be shy when you’re adding them. Go ahead and really spice them up, your taste buds will thank you!
P.S. Don’t forget the salt either. Taste your food as you cook and add in a sprinkle of fine sea salt of pink Himalayan salt (both are high in trace minerals) as you go.
Need some inspiration? Try these Jerk-Style Cauliflower Steaks
1 medium cauliflower
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
thumb-size piece of fresh ginger
1 scotch bonnet
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
juice of ½ lime
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Place all the marinade ingredients into a food processor or mini blender and process until coarse but spreadable.
Generously brush the steaks with the marinade. If you want to do this ahead of time, you can leave them to marinate in the fridge until you need them.
Place the steaks on a roasting pan and loosely cover with foil. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes before removing the foil for another 10 minutes, turning once.
Heat a grill pan to medium-high heat and finish the steaks off in the pan to mark/sear on both sides. Serve with your chosen accompaniment.
**Step # 6 is optional but gives them that grilled look.
Be Generous With Healthy Fats
Another common mistake when preparing veggies is to skimp on the fat. The result? Everything tastes watery and boring. To avoid this, make sure you cook them in a healthy fat like coconut oil, avocado oil, extra-virgin olive oil or ghee. Ghee is a type of clarified butter that’s been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. It tastes just like butter but is lower in milk solids, lactose, and casein than regular butter. Meanwhile, it also contains higher levels of vitamins — like vitamin A, D, and K2—and has a higher smoke point than olive oil and other cooking oils.
Turn Your Vegetables Into a Crunchy Snack
At this point, kale chips might feel a little old school, but if you have trouble getting your daily dose of greens, they’re a great option. And it doesn’t just have to be kale, either. As registered dietician-nutritionist and personal trainer, Tammy Lakatos Shames (one half of the duo known as the Nutrition Twins) explained, “Kale is popular, but you can use carrots, beets, turnips — anything you like.” Shames says. Just slice your veggie thinly, mist with oil, and bake until they’re nice and crispy.
Try it: Smoked Paprika Zucchini Chips
Smoked Paprika Zucchini Chips
Makes about 100 chips,
Serves 5 (20 chips each)
Olive oil in a spray bottle
3 tsp smoked paprika
1.5 tsp onion powder
¼ tsp salt
1.5 tsp pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. If you’re using a convection oven, be sure to set the oven on true convection. If your oven does not have this option, rotate the pans once or twice during the baking time to ensure that one side doesn’t get burnt or undercooked.
Prepare two 12 x 17 cookie sheet pans by lining with foil and placing wire racks on top of the pan so that the zucchini can be placed on them. The foil catches the extra spices and the wire racks allows the air to get under the zucchini chips, making them extra crispy. (If you’re wondering what wire racks to use, metal drying racks or a wire rack from a toaster oven works too!)
Slice the zucchini into thin slices. If you have a mandolin, set it to 1/8th -inch thick. (If you are slicing by hand be sure not to slice the zucchini too thin as this will cause them to burn easier!)
In a bowl, spray olive oil on zucchini and mix well to make sure that it is evenly distributed. Then place the slices on the wire racks in the pans, and sprinkle on the smoked paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper.
Place in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes, turning or rotating the pans several times to ensure that one doesn’t get burnt or under cooked. Cook until crispy. After the chips have been taken out of the oven, sprinkle the salt on top and enjoy!
Add Veggies to Your Smoothies
One way to make eating veggies easier is to add them to your existing meals and routine. Are you a smoothie in the morning kind of person? Consider adding some vegetables to your morning blend. Mild tasting spinach is always a pleasing option but you can also get creative here: For example, try using mild-tasting frozen zucchini or cauliflower as the base of your smoothie in addition (or instead!) of frozen fruit. You might be surprised how little you notice the difference. Using Raw or Frozen Cauliflower makes super creamy smoothies.
Try this Tangy Green Smoothie
️1 large handful of leafy greens
1 handful of cilantro, including stems (only cut off the super woody ones)
1 avocado (remember—you always need to have healthy fat in your smoothie to absorb the nutrients!)
1 scoop unflavored collagen powder
1 frozen banana
Sea salt (always, for mineral, absorption, and flavor)
️1 squeeze lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 cup of filtered water
Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender.
Blend on high until everything is fully incorporated, then pour into 2 glasses and enjoy!
So whatever it takes try to eat at least four cupped handfuls of veggies everyday!