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Ways to force myself to like veggies

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Old 12-13-2010, 01:16 PM   #1
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Default Ways to force myself to like veggies

I need suggestions on ways to make myself like veggies. I only like green beans, peas, corn, and carrots (cooked only).

I want to like salad, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, celery, etc etc etc!

My mom passed away when I was 2, so I was NEVER made to eat foods I didn't like---causing me to be the pickiest eater on earth.

My main issue with most vegetables is the textures.

I want to love veggies. I even think salad looks delicious...I just don't like it.

I hate ranch dressing...absolutely hate it. So maybe that's part of my issue with salad because I always try it with that.

Is there anyway I can make myself love them??
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Old 12-13-2010, 02:34 PM   #2
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A fave of mine is green beans - and I often cook them until they're fork tender (i use french cut green beans most of the time) and I brown some minced garlic in olive oil and then kind of flash saute them in the olive oil and add a LOT of black pepper I LOVE them and love them reheated leftover but they usually always go when we have the girls here.

Do you like peppers or onions sauteed - think fajitas? We have them quite often and count them as veggies...
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Old 12-13-2010, 02:36 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by nationalparker View Post
A fave of mine is green beans - and I often cook them until they're fork tender (i use french cut green beans most of the time) and I brown some minced garlic in olive oil and then kind of flash saute them in the olive oil and add a LOT of black pepper I LOVE them and love them reheated leftover but they usually always go when we have the girls here.

Do you like peppers or onions sauteed - think fajitas? We have them quite often and count them as veggies...
I love green beans, as long as they are tender. Mmm. I'm going to try browning some minced garlic in olive oil, that sounds good.

I don't really like peppers and I can tolerate onions---as long as they are thinly sliced and in food.
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Old 12-13-2010, 02:37 PM   #4
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I have the same problem... I wasn't raised on very healthy eating habits so carbs are pretty much my best friend and I loathe veggies. Like, even though I know what I should be eating, I can't figure out how to make it enjoyable, I guess. I want to be able to eat healthy for life, but it's pretty much impossible if you don't like veggies!

Really the only advice I've been given is to try preparing veggies different ways until you find something you like - steaming them, cooking with certain oils, etc... But I'm at college so I generally have to eat them the way they're given to me at the dining hall. Plus, my mom never has time to cook much (my parents split up when I was 10, so she's had to work quite a bit in order to support herself and me, so I usually just grab something quick for my meals at home), so I never learned all the different ways to prepare veggies and other foods.

Sorry I can't help, but hopefully someone else can!
Yeah, I'm going to have to look at different ways to cook them to hopefully make them some what enjoyable.
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Old 12-13-2010, 02:38 PM   #5
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Continuous exposure, basically. With every meal put a tiny amount of the veg you want to get into on the side of your plate and you've got to eat it. Try to eat it properly, i.e. chew it up rather than choke it down. Eat it as if you were doing a report about what each vegetable tastes like, describing the texture, etc. to a recently arrived alien. I'd keep each individual thing separate for now and just concentrate on eating a bit of something with each meal until you get bast the barriers. Think positively about it, if you find yourself looking at it thinking OMG I have to eat this *barf* then deliberately turn your thinking around and tell yourself you are going to eat this small piece of food and it may be nice, not so nice or indifferent but you are going to give it a fair chance.

I'm still on the very small portion stage myself, and I've given myself enough tries at carrots to know that I really, truly, genuinely do not like them. I think you have to give yourself permission to continue to dislike things too. If you have given it an honest try and you still don't like it then quit on that item and find something else. I didn't like carrots raw, boiled, steamed, microwave steamed, grated, baby, canned, frozen, in carrot cake, in cubes in a stew, nothing. I have concluded that I do NOT like carrots. Funny, I may have got into veg a lot earlier if it hadn't been for everyone saying that carrots were likely to be the best for me to start with because they are sweet - that is THE worst thing about them! LOL

I don't mix things together just now, I try lettuce on its own, cabbage on its own, it can be at the same meal, but never have more than one thing in my mouth together just so I can get a really good gauge of what I like and don't like.

Oh, and remember how many different types of salad there are, I think I counted 11 different pre-packed mixed salads in my grocery store, so if you don't like one sort, try another.
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Old 12-13-2010, 02:55 PM   #6
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And some things you might like one version, but not another. I hate cherry tomatoes but LOVE grape tomatoes and plum/Roma tomatoes. I don't like cooked tomatoes much, but enjoy them fresh. Nope on cooked cabbage unless its doused in vinegar, but like a fresh homemade coleslaw with the light dressing I've made.

Like you, i dislike crispy green beans (prefer mine the English way - SOFT!) which many folks turn their nose up at nowadays. That's why I steam mine before flash sauteeing them ... I use more pans, but heck, I love 'em

Good luck!
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Old 12-13-2010, 06:25 PM   #7
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Here is what i do for spinach - i coat a pan with spray olive oil - 0 calories, sautee diced garlic and crushed red pepper - toss in fresh baby spinach and cook just enough to turn it bright bright green and to soften the leaves up a bit.

you can do the same thing with mushrooms, though i add a bit of water so they don't burn and turn soft.

veggie tacos - shred carrots, yellow squash and zucchini, add some black beans (canned and rinse them well), coat pan with non stick spary and 'grill' until hot season with pepper and sea salt. There are many varieties of good tortillas out there, fill your tortilla, top with diced onion, tomatoes and cilantrol
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Old 12-17-2010, 04:35 PM   #8
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Kayla- why do you keep trying salads with ranch dressing if you hate ranch dressing? There are a million different kinds of dressing out there! Have you tried any of the light honey mustards or a fruity raspberry vinaigrette? They might be more to your taste.

Do you like fruit? Maybe making a salad that was heavy on fruits (Like romaine lettuce or spinach with crumbled feta cheese, walnuts, mandarin oranges, blueberries, apples, dried cranberries, or whatever other fruits you like) would make the introduction to eating greens more palatable for you. I would dress a salad like that with maybe a raspberry or balsamic vinaigrette, or even a light poppyseed dressing.

I think one of the best ways to prepare most veggies is to roast them instead of trying to sautee or steam them. This is good for broccoli, asparagus, green beans, or probably anything: preheat oven to low broil, toss veggies in small amount of olive oil and seasonings (garlic, garlic powder, lemon juice, salt, pepper, small amount of parmesan, etc...) and roast on a cookie sheet (with edges) or in a casserole dish for a few minutes until brown around the edges. This makes it more crisp than mushy and you may like the texture better.

I think tomatoes may just be a lost cause for some people, like my husband. I LOVE them. I could eat them all day every day. BUT as much as I think some people may just not like all things tomato, like one of the other posters on here, I implore you not to judge all tomatoes by those plasticky pink tissue-paper tomatoes that restaurants use. The best way (I think) to eat a tomato is plain. Followed closely by tomatoes served as a caprese salad (no lettuce in this one) just tomatoes (grape tomatoes are delicious in this, or heirloom tomatoes that are all different colors), salt, pepper, a little balsamic, a little olive oil, a lot of shredded fresh basil and a few small chunks of fresh part-skim mozzarella. YUM!

Have you tried making raw carrot salad? I like it the old-fashioned way with shredded carrots, a little light mayo, and raisins (I know sounds weird), but I've also started making a variation with no mayo at all- just shredded carrots, balsamic vinegar, and craisins. That's not bad, either! And if you want to have it more for a meal, you can make it either way with lean ham chunks and whatever kind of seasonings you like.
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Old 12-17-2010, 04:57 PM   #9
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I'm the exact same! I like all the veggies you like and I occasionally like salad however I tend to get bored with it. I'm a carbaholic! My husband loves veggies, he can eat them anyway and enjoys them. I wish that was the case for me! I know if I find a sauce or cheese that works with veggies, that sometimes helps. However, of course you have to plan for the extra calories that come with that. I also tend to like certain veggies the best when they are steamed, they seem to keep more flavor that way. I guess you just have to experiment!
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Old 12-19-2010, 02:20 PM   #10
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Stir fry for me! I love making a mostly veggie stiry fry and adding a bit of lean protein like shrimp. Really you can have anything you like in there, and it's just a yummy way to eat veggies. I also like Amy's organic veggie burgers and you could always make a fruit smoothie and sneak veggies in. You can't tell any are in there if it's properly done, tbh.
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Old 12-19-2010, 03:34 PM   #11
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I hate ranch dressing also, and that definitely puts us in the minority! Try other dressings on salad, balsamic vinegar & olive oil, cider vinegar & olive oil. Annie's Goddess dressing.

If you like green beans & peas, you might like zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, snow peas, edamame.

Try slicing zucchini or crookneck into strips about the size of greenbeans and cook them to the same softness. Look for shelled edamame in the freezer section. You can heat them, or put a 1/3 cup frozen into a couple of cups of water, thaw them, then eat them cold as a snack.

Buy a couple of different frozen mixed vegetable combinations. They all seem to be loaded with carrots, so you'll have something you like. It gives you a chance to try some of the other vegetables in small quantities.

If you haven't roasted vegetables before give it a try! Roasted vegetables are awesome! Here's one thread at 3FC about them, you can search and find many more.

Any vegetable you like cooked, can also be eaten cook, leftover and cold. Think of the green beans in a nicoise salad, peas in a minted pea or pasta salad, corn in a mexican salad (kidney beans, green beans, black beans, corn, cilantro, oil & vinegar), carrot & raisin salad.

It's great that you want to expand the vegetables you like. Just keep trying vegetables different ways and I'm sure you'll find vegetables you love. Recognize that peas are legumes, corn is a grain and carrots are a root vegetable. By expanding you likes to include even a few more vegetables like beans you're really giving yourself some more great choices.
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Last edited by WebRover : 12-19-2010 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 12-19-2010, 03:42 PM   #12
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i second the roasting of veggies, esp broccoli! yum! and also try asian sesame dressing on salads... my honey hates veggies but likes em with this dressing. any grocery store, and i usually get low-cal (~50 cals for 2 tbsp).
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Old 12-21-2010, 02:25 PM   #13
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I would also add, why not look into smoothies? Many can be milk/yogurt based with a lot of fruits, but you can often add vegetables to these without tasting them.

Or if you make a soup, use a low sodium v8 or some other thing that packs a good vegetable punch as part of the base.

Beyond that, I'll say that your tastebuds change. after thirty five years despising spinach, my mom realized she likes fresh spinach in place of lettuce in salads. Another thing that may help is eating very clean (as whole foods as possible) because it can reset your taste buds. so instead of needing a twinkie to get your sweets craving, suddenly an apple is delicious. I would second the suggestion to try a lot of different ways and different combinations of the same foods before you decide you don't like it. I don't really like shrimp, but there's 1 recipe I have that I'll eat it in.

so keep at it. Good luck!
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:31 AM   #14
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i like vegetables but i find myself sticking to the same veggies over and over because they are familiar and i know i will like them. however lately i have been expanding my horizons and trying vegetables that ive never had before, like silverbeet/swiss chard and edamame. i am even planning to try brussell sprouts for the first time since childhood. i just tell myself that i will try it and if i dont like it, i dont have to eat it but at least i will have tried. surprisingly ive been loving all the new foods ive been trying and will work them into rotation in the future!
my suggestion is to find a vegetarian cookbook, possibly something like Veganomicon or anything with a good section on vegetable sides. i may be biased since i am one but i feel like vegetarians and vegans really know how to cook a vegetable to get the maximum taste out of it since they dont rely on meat to provide the basis of a meal.
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Old 05-26-2011, 08:17 PM   #15
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Kayla, do you like tacos? My favorite salad is taco salad...and thats because it doesn't taste like a salad, it tastes like a taco.
Here's how I make it:
Bed of lettuce (iceburg has no flavor or nutrients, so start there, then graduate up to mixed greens)
pico de gallo (I buy the pre-packaged pico at grocery stores, or you can make your own with onions, tomatoes, cilantro, lime/lemon juice)
Guacamole
Sour Cream
Ground meat (turkey or beef, lean) with taco seasoning.

This is a great way to cloak the veggies. After time you can add in large chunks of tomatoes, avocados, or more lettuce. The guac and sour cream act as dressing.

Also, pay attention to veggie sides that you like when you eat out at restaurants, then duplicate at home. Lots of veggie sides are covered in oil (like slow-roasted vegs). When you make at home, slowly over time just use less oil. Veggies covered in oil is better than no veggies at all, IMO, so it might be a place to start.
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