How to eat more vegetables if you hate the taste of vegetables

How to eat more vegetables if you hate the taste of vegetables
Photo by Randy Fath / Unsplash

If you're trying to work on your health, but hate the taste of vegetables, know that you are not alone.

Ever since you were a child, you have probably heard repeatedly that vegetables are good for you. And whether you like it or not, it's true. Every complete diet includes a healthy dose of vegetables for good reason:

  • Vegetables are chocked full of vitamins and minerals. These serve critical roles in helping our bodies function the way they are supposed to: keeping our organs healthy, protecting us from disease, keeping our energy levels up, and repairing internal damage, just to name a few.
  • Vegetables add fiber to keep digestion regular. Fiber feeds the good bacteria in our digestive systems, which help to keep everything running smoothly, and prevent indigestion, bloating, and gas. It also helps push food through the GI tract, keeping bowel movements regular.
  • Vegetables keep us full on fewer calories. Due to their high fiber and water content, vegetables do a great job filling us up before we get a chance to overeat.
healthy grain and salad bowl after yoga class
Photo by Clark Douglas / Unsplash

For the most part, adding vegetables is always a good idea. But it doesn't mean it's easy to do. Some people simply can't stand the taste of vegetables, and it's not their fault. Our sense of taste is largely built from our genetics and our experiences as children. For some, veggies have always tasted bitter and off-putting.

The good news is, you can change your flavor preferences over time, even as an adult. It takes a whole lot of practice and putting yourself into uncomfortable situations. But if you're invested in your health, it's 100% worth it to figure out how to do so.

A three step approach to making vegetables taste good

You may never love vegetables, but you can train your taste buds to at least tolerate them.

Step 1: Be brave

Dive into your food aversions head first and try something that you normally wouldn't. It could be a new vegetable or a dish that includes greens as a primary ingredient. If you need inspiration, try Googling vegetables on the internet or take a stroll through your local produce aisle, and simply pick up the one least objectionable option to try first.

If it doesn't work the first time, don't give up. It takes many exposures before you start liking a food that you previously disliked.

Photo by Polina Zimmerman

Step 2: Pair

Get creative by pairing your vegetables with ingredients that you already like. Reduce the bitterness by using honey, maple syrup, almonds, or butter as a cushion. Blend them into your favorite soups, sauces, and dips. Mix diced broccoli, zucchini, or carrots into spaghetti sauce or mix cauliflower or parsnips into mashed potatoes.

Step 3: Experiment

Different cooking methods can bring out different flavors in vegetables. For example, roasting them at high temperatures can enhance their natural sweetness through the process of caramelization. You can also experiment with steaming, blanching, grilling, or sautéing to find the most palatable option for each vegetable.

Photo by Melissa Walker Horn / Unsplash

More ideas on how to prepare your vegetables

  1. Blend them into smoothies. Mask the vegetable taste with sweet fruits such as bananas or apples in your smoothies.
  2. Spice it up. Utilize herbs and spices, such as garlic, rosemary, and thyme,  to enhance the flavor of your vegetable dishes.
  3. Soups and stews. Make vegetables a part of your soups and stews where they can take on the flavors of other ingredients.
  4. Combine with carbs. Adding finely chopped vegetables to your grains or pasta dishes can make them less noticeable.
  5. Turn them into chips. Instead of potato chips, try baking bite-size pieces of kale, seasoned with salt and pepper, for a crunchy snack.
  6. Bake them into sweet treats. Incorporate vegetables into baked goods to add nutritional value while maintaining a delightful taste.

Take your time

If you've avoided vegetables for most of your life, it's going to take time to reintroduce them. Start with a manageable goal, such as picking one vegetable that you can already tolerate, and adding one serving to your daily diet. Over time, you can gradually expand your horizons and increase your vegetable intake.

Everyone's palate different, so be patient with yourself. Stay open minded to trying different things and you will eventually find what works for you. Experiment with different cooking methods, pairings, and recipes to discover new dishes that appeal to you. Remember that the end goal is to get more vegetables into your diet in a way that works for you, and the best way to get there is to embrace the process of discovery, however it goes.