Lots of people struggle to eat healthy vegetables. We all know that we should be getting in as many as possible, but sometimes it just isn’t what we want. Even for someone who really likes their fruit and veg (like me!) there are days when we could happily give things a miss. Whether you are following paleo or not, finding ways to increase the vitamin and mineral count in your diet really makes sense and more vegetables is a fantastic way to do it. Fortunately, there are a few tricks to sneak a carrot or two into your diet without noticing.
This trick seems obvious but it wasn’t until I shared it with a friend that I realised just how smart it is. The idea is pretty simple. When you make something in the blender, just put a vegetable or two in there as well. Hey presto-more veggies in the diet! Ok fine, but surely drinking cauliflower is no better than eating it? Actually, this is the sneaky trick. Lots of healthy vegetables are completely different when they are blended and even more so when they are mixed with other things.
Back to the friend I mentioned. He hated vegetables with a passion (and he will tell you that he still does!) I thought it would be a way of at least getting one or to into his diet. I told him about this and he didn’t seem that enthusiastic, but said he would give it a try. A couple of weeks later we talked and I asked how it was going. He told me that it was great. He said the weird thing was, he could never actually taste the vegetables at all. In fact, he had invented a couple of combinations that worked brilliantly. He actually felt a bit guilty because it seemed like he was breaking his diet with his ‘shakes’. When we counted up his daily intake, he was getting his five a day in comfortably. In fact, most of the time it was more like ten, and all this from a guy who hadn’t deliberately eaten anything green in over a decade.
Here Is One Example:
Chocolate Avocado Smoothie
Half Cup Coca Nibs (or just Plain Dark Chocolate-preferably over 85% Cocoa)
Two Cups Water
One Cup Cauliflower
One Tea Spoon Cinnamon
One Green Apple
The beauty of this is that you can try just about anything. Something like cauliflower seems like a weird ingredient, but actually just adds a bit of consistency but virtually no taste.
The key is to use stuff that has a relatively strong flavour (that you like). Cinnamon, dark chocolate, peanut butter and bananas are all great examples. Even mixing fresh red fruit like cherries and strawberries with salad leaves is good. In fact, it is amazing just how big a quantity of green stuff you can get in one smoothie, just by careful flavouring and combining. Try it and see.
Another sneaky trick is simply to change the way you see healthy vegetables. We are all stuck in our habits. Broccoli or carrots are just things that accompany the main part of meal, aren’t they? Try saying that to a vegetarian! Switching things round is a fun way to eat and also makes you appreciate your veggies a whole lot more.
Here’s one example. Combine your vegetables into a steak. Take carrots, cauliflower, squash or really whatever takes your fancy and chop it finely before cooking. Mix it with an egg or two and maybe some almond flour to hold it all together. Then treat this like a steak. Flavour it with herbs and spices, and pan-fry it. Meanwhile cut your chicken breast into strips and think of them as your side order of chips. When you present this on your plate, put your “steak” in the centre and your “chips” round the outside. After all, who said this isn’t the right way round?
If you are looking to increase the amount or variety of healthy vegetables you eat, you need to think a little outside the box. Simply forcing more onto your plate and down your throat isn’t going to work. In fact, it will probably have you hating them even more. Use some imagination and be a little bit sneaky and there are plenty of ways to enjoy the benefits even if you don’t all appreciate the taste.